DONALDSONVILLE, LA (WAFB) - House hunters are uncovering precious gems in downtown Donaldsonville.
Flipping historic homes is becoming big business.
Jeffery Bean is stepping back in time, into a house built in the Donaldsonville historic district in the early 1900s. Old fireplaces, a buffet-style kitchen and original hardwood floors sit under crystal chandeliers and 12-foot ceilings. He and his partner are in the process of restoring it and adding a few personal touches.
"The benefits of finding a beautiful home like this that could be restored was incredible to us," Bean said.
Bean is speaking from experience. He flipped the Victorian beauty next door 15 years ago.
"It's kind of like a butterfly in a cocoon. One day it's going to just come out and be that beautiful butterfly," Bean said.
It's a bug that's really catching on in Donaldsonville. A house a couple of doors down has also been restored. Across the street, a new owner is in the beginning stages of reviving another piece of history.
Donaldsonville Downtown Development District Executive Director Missy Jandura said there are more than a dozen historic properties on the market ready and waiting for a little tender loving care.
"You can get a lot of house in an historic district that you would never be able to afford anywhere else," Jandura said.
The state offers tax incentives for those who buy and restore buildings on the historic registry. It includes rebates up to 26 percent on houses and 46 percent on commercial properties.
The Bel House is listed for $295,000. The New Orleans-style home has six bedrooms, four bathrooms and enough extra space for one or two ballrooms. Jandura said the possibilities are endless.
"The charm you get and the things you can put into these structures. You can make apartments, retirement homes. It's really up to your imagination," Jandura said.
Bean believes a little creativity goes a long way.
"There are beautiful homes here. They're kind of like the jewels in the rough," Bean said.
They are gems that folks in downtown Donaldsonville have come to treasure.
Bean said he plans on moving into the house he's renovating and turning his current charm into a bed and breakfast by next June.