Retired couple building on Washington Street|[08/12/07]

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 13, 2007

After spending a lifetime away from Mississippi, from across the country to Vietnam, Bradley Lutz, 78, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, decided it was time to come back home.

Lutz and his wife, Sharon, a retired funeral director, are moving from Tampa, Fla., and having a grand home built overlooking the river.

&#8220We looked around for about a year for a place that would fit,” Sharon Lutz said. &#8220We drove up and down and up and down Washington Street.”

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She said after looking for a house already on the market that would match what they wanted, they came up empty-handed. That’s when they decided to buy a lot and build one themselves.

They decided on property at Washington and Clark streets. The area is busy and somewhat congested with the entrance to DiamondJacks casino, but the view of a bend in the river from the upper floors is nothing short of spectacular.

&#8220They say the breeze comes in all the time from here,” she said while standing on what will be a gallery. &#8220This was the only property we were really considering.”

The 6,800-square-foot home is believed to represent the first residential construction on Washington Street in at least 50 years.

Lutz said the idea of moving back to Vicksburg had always appealed to him, although they had been seriously considering it for three years.

He had a home in Pattison in Claiborne County that has been in his family since the 1860s, and wanted to move from Tampa to his family’s property.

In planning on moving back to Mississippi, he said, they had always assumed they would have another house in Vicksburg so they wouldn’t be driving in and out of town all the time.

&#8220This is exactly where we want to be,” Lutz said. &#8220We like it in Vicksburg. We like the size and the people are nice.”

As far as location goes, he liked living in what he considers to be a &#8220working-class neighborhood.” The home will dominate other nearby properties.

&#8220I’ve called and talked to some of the neighbors and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone,” he said.

Because Lutz’s Claiborne County property has been in his family for so long, he said it will eventually be passed down to his children, and he is thinking about doing the same with this new house.

Johnny Sanders of Sanders-Hollingsworth Builders said it took six weeks to get the general framing done, and they should be finished building the home by the end of the year.

He said the couple chose a Florida-style design where the structure looks the same from the front and the rear.

&#8220The ideas for the house have been brewing,” Sanders said. &#8220We all got around a table and pow-wowed together.”

He said everyone threw out different ideas for the house and finally settled on one working floor plan. Although no specifics about the price of the home were mentioned, Sanders said there is no set budget.

S.J. &#8220Skippy” Tuminello, architect for the project, so far, said the work is coming along fine. It is the third house he has worked on that takes advantage of the river view, and he believes there should be more.

&#8220I just don’t understand it as an architect,” Tuminello said. &#8220We just ignore this thing we have right here in our lap. We need to get people interested in the river.”