(Daily Press (Newport News, VA) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Dec. 20--WILLIAMSBURG -- The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has sold Carter's Grove plantation to a Virginia native and Internet entrepreneur who plans to use the sprawling 18th-century estate as a private residence and thoroughbred horse-breeding farm.
Halsey Minor, who founded CNET.com and now runs a San Francisco venture capital firm, purchased the property -- which includes a Georgian-style mansion and 400 acres along the James River -- for $15.3 million, according to information released Wednesday by Colonial Williamsburg.
The property is subject to a conservation easement, which prohibits any commercial or residential development on the site, Colonial Williamsburg spokesman Tom Shrout said.
"These restrictions will achieve long-term protection of the site's historical, architectural, visual, archaeological and environmental resources," he said. "We're very pleased with the outcome, and we're very pleased we've found a new owner who shares our concern for the property and our desire to have it protected, and who has made the commitment to carrying on that stewardship."
In the CW press release about Carter's Grove, he said he wants to expand research programs devoted to the plantation. Colonial Williamsburg plans to use proceeds from the sale to help fund existing education programs and a planned expansion of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, Shrout said.
Wednesday's sale ended a search for a buyer that began last December, when Colonial Williamsburg announced it would look to sell the property under terms of a conservation easement. The decision, the foundation said at the time, was based on the property's distance from CW's historic area and its divergence from the foundation's core mission -- presenting and interpreting Revolutionary War-era Virginia.
Carter's Grove has been closed to the public since 2003, when the foundation shuttered it to help close a $35 million budget deficit.
In addition to the mansion, the estate includes the remnants of a 17th-century English settlement, an underground archaeology museum and reconstructed 18th-century slave quarters. The plantation is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register.
"The transfer of this property to private ownership, with stewardship governed by the terms of an easement, is the best approach to assure long-term protection of the property," Colin Campbell, the foundation's president, said in the prepared statement.
Who is Halsey Minor?
--Graduated from the University of Virginia in 1987 (in anthropology)
--Co-founded CNET Networks in 1992
--Founded Grand Central Communications in 2000, which Google purchased in August
--Now runs Minor Ventures, a San Francisco venture capital firm
Carter's Grove timeline
--1750s: Mansion at Carter's Grove plantation on the James River is built by Burwell family, which owned it until the 1830s.
--1928: Purchased by industrialist Archibald McCrea, and restored and expanded in 1930s.
--1960s: Last resident dies; becomes part of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation properties in 1968.
--1970s: Mansion is presented as a 20th-century home; excavations find evidence of slave quarters, leads to reconstruction of the quarters on land between reception center and mansion.
--2003: CW Foundation closes mansion and grounds Jan. 2, citing financial pressures, says it may remain closed for at least two years.
--2006: Foundation announces it is looking for a buyer.
--2007: Virginia native and Internet entrepreneur Halsey Minor purchases the mansion and homes in December, with the intention of returning it to a private residence.
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