A local developer is buying Goodwood Plantation with plans to preserve the antebellum home and build 48 high-end houses on the 16.8 surrounding acres.
Michael Hogstrom — whose company Onsite Design has been involved in several infill developments in the area around Goodwood Plantation such as E’tage Gardens on Government Street — said the new gated development will be called Adelia at Old Goodwood.
He plans to spend $1 million to preserve and restore the home at 7307 Goodwood, making one of East Baton Rouge Parish’s last surviving plantation homes the centerpiece of the development. The houses being built around it will be a minimum of 3,000 square feet, and start in the $750,000 to $800,000 range.
Charles Landry, a well-known local real estate attorney, is a co-developer for Adelia.
Hogstrom will be the third owner in the 165-year history of Goodwood Plantation. The original owner was Dr. Samuel Laycock, who sold the property to the Babin family in 1930.
The home was built in the early 1850s by Laycock, a well-known young surgeon originally from Ohio. Laycock built the house, a replica of the Goodwood House in West Sussex, England, as a gift for his wife. It took four years to build the home, which later served as a hospital for Civil War soldiers and was even a 1967 movie set.
Anna Babin-Neal, who owns the property with her brother, Thomas Babin, said the family decided to sell to Hogstrom because they were impressed with E’tage Gardens.
“His master plan will breathe new life into this extraordinary place that my family holds so dear,” Babin-Neal said. “In fact, when we saw it, we immediately decided to reserve the first two lots to show our support and to be a part of the next generation of this property.”
Local historic preservationists said they were pleased with the news that the Goodwood Plantation home would be kept in tact.
“Any development that preserves the house is a great thing,” said historian John Sykes, who Hogstrom said will be involved in the restoration of the plantation home. Sykes, chairman of the East Baton Rouge Parish Historic Preservation Commission, stressed that he was only giving his personal opinion and not speaking for the commission.
Fairleigh Jackson, executive director of the Foundation for Historic Louisiana, said in a statement she hopes to work with Hogstrom, Landry and the Babins to put Goodwood Plantation on the National Register of Historic Places.
Hogstrom said he expects significant interest from people who want to move onto Adelia’s estate-sized lots.
“Goodwood is literally in the center of Baton Rouge, and the plantation is the literal center of Goodwood,” he said. “This is the figurative and literal center of Baton Rouge.”
The majority of the homes in the development will be custom built. Because lot prices will be about $300,000 or below, there is an opportunity for a small number of speculative houses. “We’re hoping for a healthy mix of both,” Hogstrom said.
The developer plans to target baby boomers and families who live in the surrounding neighborhoods, who send their children to schools in the area or who attend church in the area.
“This type of project is a perfect example of how developers can preserve our past while looking forward to the future. I am excited to see the outcome,” Jackson said. “This home is one of the last large properties with an extended history, and we see it as part of our organization’s mission to assist the developers in enhancing it as a preserved asset.”
“It’s a big place, and the redevelopment options are narrower,” Sykes said. “It’s beyond the scope of the average family home.”
Sykes will give a previously scheduled lecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Main Library branch on Goodwood Boulevard about the history of the plantation home. He said Hogstrom called him Monday to discuss the purchase of Goodwood Plantation.
Goodwood Plantation was one of the first homes locally to have running water, supplied by cisterns in the attic. Water flowed from the attic down into washstands and zinc tubs. Even though the home has indoor plumbing, Sykes said the mechanism for the water system is still in place
“It’s a remarkable building, and it’s survived pretty well,” Sykes said.
The home was at the center of a 2,000-acre sugar cane plantation Laycock owned. During the Civil War, the house served as a hospital for soldiers, which kept Union troops from burning it down.
The plantation includes two separate houses: the main house and a smaller back house, or garçonnière. The main house has just more than 5,900 square feet of living area, spread across two floors. The back house is about 1,600 square feet and also is a two-story building.
The home was used as a location for “Hurry Sundown,” a 1967 movie that starred Michael Caine and Jane Fonda and was set on a Georgia farm.
Hogstrom said the plan is to put $1 million into the home on work such as installing an air-conditioning system, repairing water damage and rebuilding porches. The first floor of the home would serve as a clubhouse for Adelia residents, while the second floor would be a sales office and design center for the neighborhood.
“We want to preserve the house,” said Hogstrom, who noted the home would be used only for “selective” and “very small group gatherings.” The green spaces in front of the home will be open to the public for some seasonal events, such as an Easter egg hunt, Christmas light display or sunset symphony concert.
The sale price for the plantation was not disclosed. The home had been for sale since early 2014 and reportedly had a $10 million asking price.
Plans are to close on the sale of the property before the end of 2015, Hogstrom said. Infrastructure improvements are set to start in early 2016, and design construction on the first homes should begin in May.
Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter @TCB_TheAdvocate.