GREENSBORO — Five years have passed since the Julian Price House rose to national fame when the television show “Hoarders” aired an episode filmed at the historic mansion.
More than 1.2 million households watched the drama unfold as crews emptied the home of the mess accumulated by its former owner, Sandra Cowart, before she lost the home to foreclosure.
The couple who bought the mansion have since rejuvenated the property and turned almost half of it into bed and breakfasts.
Now owners Michael and Eric Fuko-Rizzo have teamed up with the owners of another historic Fisher Park property, the McAlister-Leftwich House, to offer wedding packages.
It’s a marriage made in Fisher Park.
The McAlister-Leftwich House — which is two historic homes that are now connected — will continue to be a boutique event venue, accommodating weddings and receptions for up to 150 people, Kaitlin Holland said. She owns the place with her husband, Clay Holland, and her mother, Cheryl Briley.
People also read…
Just over half a mile away, the Julian Price House will provide overnight accommodations and space for smaller rehearsal dinners and farewell brunches. That keeps it within the rules of its bed and breakfast special use permit, the Fuko-Rizzos said.
A trolley can transport guests between the two.
“We think the three houses work so well together, and you get that historic experience,” Holland said.
It will also help the owners of both properties deal with the financial losses each suffered in 2020 and early 2021, when the COVID-19 pandemic canceled major gatherings and events around the world.
Business has since picked up, they said.
They also want to promote Fisher Park and downtown.
“By providing this immersive experience, it’s going to bring more attention to our city,” said Eric Fuko-Rizzo.
The owners of each property will hold an open house on Saturday for interested bride and groom. One must reserve.
Guests can still book an event separately at McAlister-Leftwich House, or a suite separately at Julian Price House. Prices for the latter start at $175 per weeknight for one bedroom.
Both historic properties have a long history. The Julian Price House and the Leftwich House are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places; the McAlister house is on the state list.
The McAlister-Leftwich House is actually two connected homes totaling 12,000 square feet on the edge of Fisher Park and downtown.
The Gant-McAlister house was built in 1915 for the Gant family and then sold to the McAlisters, according to its website.
It was donated to the First Presbyterian Church. When it no longer suited the needs of the church, it was moved to 507 N. Church St. by Anne Carlson, owner of Carlson Antiques.
The Dixon-Leftwich-Murphy House was built in 1875, one of three notable Gothic Revival-inspired designs in the city.
In recent years, the house has been used as apartments, Carlson’s antique store, and offices.
The Hollands and Briley bought the McAlister-Leftwich property in 2017, rezoned as an events center. They renovated it and added a black and white tiled hallway to connect the two houses. They planned their first wedding in the fall of 2018, Holland said.
The first floor hosts events. The upper areas house offices and changing rooms for weddings.
The Fuko-Rizzos bought all 31 rooms Julian Price House in 2016. It remains one of the largest Tudor Revival homes in North Carolina. They and their 7-year-old twin daughters live in just over half of the 11,000 square foot home.
They turned the rest into a rejuvenated and refurbished bed and breakfast, which consists of much of the first floor and five guest suites on the second floor.
Country music superstar Carrie Underwood stayed here during her 2019 tour of Greensboro Coliseum.
Known as Hillside, the brick and half-timbered mansion was built in 1929 for Price, the president of Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Co. It sits on 1.6 acres.
It later served as the parsonage of the nearby First Presbyterian Church.
A spiral staircase leads to the second floor. On the hallway walls, Eric Fuko-Rizzo hung a photo gallery of the Price family and the families of pastors who lived there long before them.
After the Fuko-Rizzos began to rejuvenate, it became the site of a designer show house.
People from all over continued to pass the Price house.
But when they applied for a special use permit for a bed and breakfast, the city’s Zoning Commission denied the application. Some neighbors had expressed concerns about parking and noise.
In late 2019, a Superior Court judge overturned that zoning commission decision.
The Fuko-Rizzos agreed to three additional terms, including locating required parking on-site and banning bands, DJs, amplified speakers or instruments outside at all times or inside after 10 p.m.
A few months later, the pandemic hits. The Fuko-Rizzos closed the bed and breakfast for several months.
When business picked up, accommodations at Julian Price House received rave reviews, they said.
“We’ve always been asked to have a wedding here,” said Michael Fuko-Rizzo. “But we can’t have receptions here.”
But the McAlister-Leftwich house – with large empty spaces and high ceilings – can.
So, from October, at the invitation of the Fuko-Rizzo, the parties began to work out the details. The partnership embraces their visions.
How much is an all inclusive package?
The $12,300 package will buy Price House accommodation for three nights and the McAlister-Leftwich event venue for the day.
The $16,800 package adds space for a rehearsal dinner and farewell brunch the next day.
Fisher Park Neighborhood Association board member Cheryl Pratt said she liked the plan.
“It seems like the best arrangement for the neighborhood, that they (the owners of Julian Price House) provide the accommodation and the little things and that the McAlister-Leftwich House hosts the event,” Pratt said.
All of this could lead to fairy tale endings and dreams coming true.
“We survived COVID and are coming back better than ever,” said Kaitlin Holland. “We all have a clear vision of what the future looks like and it’s definitely positive for all of us.”
Contact Dawn DeCwikiel-Kane at 336-373-5204 and follow @dawndkaneNR on Twitter.