How “Restore Mobile” is Revitalizing Historic Mobile Neighborhoods
Up until recently, I had never heard of Restore Mobile. Then we got a call at The Cummings Company from the new Project Manager, Mary Beth Harris, asking us to meet with her and look at what this non-profit agency is doing in the downtown, midtown and historic neighborhoods. Wow! Restore Mobile is actively trying to revitalize several historic areas—one house at a time!
Let me re-phrase this statement—Restore Mobile is currently revitalizing and restoring blighted and distressed properties in the Texas Street Hub area of the Oakleigh Garden District. Plus Restore Mobile has built three new construction homes (1051 Texas Street, 1053 Texas Street and 1055 Texas Street) at the corner of Texas Street and Chatham Street with plans to build another new construction home at 1107 Elmira Street. Restore Mobile currently has a number of properties that have been bought and are in various stages of revitalization, restoration or repair. They are currently working on houses on George Street, Chatham Street and at Old Shell Road and Pine Street.
Restore Mobile is an independent, 501(c)(3) organization made up of a governing committee of eleven local individuals who give of their time selflessly to promote the restoration of historic properties and maintain the historic integrity of Mobile’s Historic neighborhoods. As a perpetual revolving fund, Restore Mobile purchases blighted, historic properties, rehabilitates or stabilizes the structures and then, places the properties for sale. Any proceeds made from the sale are reinvested back into the fund to purchase more properties.
Restore Mobile has three different approaches to what they do. They restore old homes by completely re-doing the entire inside and outside of the home. They revitalize old homes by replacing the roof, the floors, the walls and stabilizing the foundation. These houses are called a “shell” house. Restore Mobile is currently working on a “shell” house at 1017 Old Shell Rd at the corner of Pine St and Old Shell Rd. The inside of the home is left for the new owner to design and build the way they want their home to be. Restore Mobile also builds brand new construction homes. All of this is done with the intention of selling the newly finished homes to families with low to moderate incomes.
Restore Mobile has a Down Payment Assistance Program in place that will help low income families that qualify. If you qualify for the first mortgage, then Restore Mobile will interview you and review your Down Payment Assistance application. Restore Mobile has partnered with community development of the city of Mobile and will help guide you through the qualification process. Once you meet all the qualifications of this program, Restore Mobile can offer you up to $20,000.00 in down payment assistance. This becomes a soft second mortgage. If you live in the house for 10 years, then this second mortgage is forgiven. The first step in this process is to get pre-qualified for the first mortgage. We have many excellent lenders in the Mobile area willing to work with you on this process and that are familiar with the Restore Mobile program. Call our office at 251-602-1941 for a mortgage lender recommendation if you are not currently working with a mortgage lender or bank.
When we held our first Open House at the Texas Street homes in June, we had a family stop by and tell us that the house directly across the street belonged to their grandmother. One of the ladies said she can still remember being rocked to sleep on the front porch. This is one of the blighted properties that Restore Mobile has purchased and is beginning to restore. The home can’t be torn down due to its historical value, but is in bad need of repair. This family was just thrilled to find out that Restore Mobile has purchased the property and will bring their old family home back to its former glory! This is what Restore Mobile is all about.
So when you see a white Restore Mobile sign in the front yard of a downtown home, remember that this non-profit agency has saved another distressed property in our city. Thank you Restore Mobile for improving our historic downtown neighborhoods and giving families a chance to own a new “old” home.