Going strong - Eastover continues status as premier Northside address
Millions of dollars in home renovations are going on in Eastover as a sign the Northside neighborhood is as vibrant and sought after now as it was when it was first being developed in the 1940s.
At least a dozen homes in the Northeast Jackson community are now being renovated, with work ranging in price from $300,000 to $500,000, according to Greater Eastover Neighborhood Foundation (GENF) Director Dana Robertson.
“We have about half a dozen complete interior ‘gut renovations,’ one renovation in which half of the home was demolished and is being rebuilt, and another five or so that are doing additions and limited renovations,” she said.
“I would be surprised to learn that there are less than five major renovations going on in Eastover at any one time.”
A number of factors contribute to the neighborhood’s continued popularity.
Many residents like that it’s close to major shopping centers, hospitals and businesses. Others like the fact Eastover has large lots and dense tree canopies. Still others cite the work of GENF and the Eastover Security Association (ESA) to improve security and provide a high quality of life.
“Eastover has always been considered a very desirable part of Northeast Jackson – big lots, custom homes, expert construction. It’s held its value over the years,” said Kitty Rushing, an agent with Charlotte Smith Real Estate.
Rushing recently sold a home on Dogwood Drive and has a contract on another one.
“It’s very popular now with the children who grew up in Jackson. They’re coming back with law degrees and medical degrees, and are buying and redoing homes,” she said.
She said the area is especially popular with people who are returning to Jackson, who have a connection to the area.
Buyers are willing to spend hundreds of thousands on renovations because they will be able to recoup most of the losses if they have to sell,” she said. “The rule of thumb is when you have new appliances, new carpeting, new landscaping, it brings in a lot more,” she said.
Eastover runs from north of Meadowbrook Road to the Petit Bois subdivision and almost to Lakeland Drive in the south. West to east, it runs from Ridgewood Road to the Pearl River.
The neighborhood includes approximately 400 homes, with the majority of them on lots an acre or larger. Most homes there are more than 40 years old.
Homes range from $400,000 to more than $4 million. One home, in the 4100 block of Eastover Drive, is currently listed for $4.5 million at Realtor.com.
Speed’s father, the late Leland L. Speed, began developing the neighborhood in the late 1940s.
According to the neighborhood’s Web site, construction on Eastover Drive began in the 1940s, and continued throughout neighborhood in the 1960s and 1970s.
“The first house built was the one we’re in. We moved in June 1950,” Speed said. “There were a few built, but then the Korean War started and everyone went into shock. So we had a lull for two or three years. It picked up in 1954, and it hasn’t slowed down since.”
He said World War II was still on a lot of people’s minds, helping to cause the slow down.
Today, the majority of work being done in the neighborhood is not new home construction, but renovations.
Speed said it was hard to say when the first round of renovations began there. Some people lived in the neighborhood five or 10 years before making improvements, while others waited longer.
He believes the neighborhood has remained vibrant, due in part, to having organizations like GENF and ESA, “to have someone riding the streets to find out what needs to be addressed and taking care of it.”
GENF has been involved in a number of initiatives over the years, all designed to improve the quality of life for residents.
The foundation helped push through an expansion of the Eastover Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District, which prohibits lots from being reduced to less than one acre.
The foundation fought for the expanded ordinance, after several lots were subdivided for the construction of zero-lot line homes. Residents there were worried smaller lots and zero-lot-line homes would take away from the character of the neighborhood.
Additionally, GENF successfully petitioned Jackson leaders to turn Redbud Road into a cul-de-sac. Previously, the street had been used as a cut-through for motorists hoping to avoid the light at the Eastover Drive and Ridgewood Road intersection.
“We typically have a lot of irons in the fire,” Robertson said. “For instance, the foundation has been working for nearly two years to get a gating ordinance passed that would allow neighborhoods with more than one entrance, such as Eastover, to apply for gates.”
Jim Blackwood, a Lake Circle Drive resident, can see approximately four renovations going on from his kitchen window.
“It shows you that people love it here. The convenience, the security, the huge live oaks, the established gardens,” he said.
Blackwood moved into the neighborhood six years ago, and like most new residents, remodeled his home.
“I didn’t add on, but I changed the floor plan,” he said. “My house was built in 1959. I’m the third homeowner. The previous owner did renovations in the 1980s.”
Work took about nine months. During that time, one lady who grew up in the home stopped by to look at it. “She was happy to see the renovations, (rather) than having it bulldozed and a new house put in its place.”
Marley and Randall Roberson also moved into the neighborhood six years ago, into a home on Twin Lakes Circle.
In addition to remodeling their own home, she said the two have taken on other projects, and are currently remodeling a facility known as “Tara,” a 6,000-square-foot home on Boxwood Drive. They hope to list the house once the work is complete.
“We saw there was a need. People like newer construction and there’s not a lot of it in Jackson. You can buy a $600,000 house, but it may not have been updated in 10 or 15 years, or maybe 30 years,” she said.
This house on Sandridge is one of several in Eastover undergoing renovations