Howey in the Hills, FL –
Restoration of the historic Howey mansion into a wedding venue and bed-and-breakfast is moving forward now that the sale to two Orlando brothers has been finalized.
“They’re over there putting in AC, shoring up some of the damage that happened” since it’s been vacant the past several years, Brad Cowherd — a third-generation Orlando real-estate investor who bought the mansion with his brother, Clay Cowherd — said Monday.
The Cowherds aim to have the 20-room mansion off State Road 19 in Howey-in-the-Hills, northwest of Orlando, renovated to support weddings by November. The home went up for sale in April, and the Cowherds’ $630,000 bid was accepted in May. Closing on the sale took place Friday, Brad Cowherd said.
The mansion had been vacant for eight years, tied up in foreclosure proceedings after former owner Marvel Zona encountered financial struggles. Zona’s son, Rick Ritter, has attempted to obtain the home back through legal means, causing the closing to be postponed last month.
“It’s all done now; it closed successfully,” Cowherd said. “The good news is because the closing was delayed a bit, we got to get all the permits in place.”
The Mediterranean Revival-style mansion, listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, was built by William J. Howey in 1925. The citrus grower purchased 60,000 acres in 1916 in Lake County, founding the town of Howey-in-the-Hills.
The Cowherds aim to renovate the mansion to its original glory. They’re asking anyone holding property removed or bought from the mansion to consider returning it in their “restoration effort,” according to a news release.