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Virginia Dare Arcade under new ownership

The Virginia Dare Arcade was featured in a 2009 UNC-TV video ... Will Nixon, and Nixon's wife, Erin, a real estate broker. Robertson, 82, who's also a former city councilor, on Monday said his bottom line is he's selling downtown properties and has four ...

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By William FWestStaff Writer Tuesday, December 12, 2017 A downtown Elizabeth City landmark has changed hands from a local couple to an Edenton couple.Zack Robertson and his wife, Lescelles, sold the Virginia Dare Arcade to Will Raucci and his wife, Laurie Edwards.Documents processed late last week by the Pasquotank County Register of Deeds Office show the Robertsons sold the property for $175,000.Raucci, 58, is a Philadelphia native, while Edwards, 54,  is from New YorkThe couple have been married for about three years.In Edenton, the couple work in childrens entertainment, including books, films and toys. They also have real estate holdings and work in community development where they are particularly interested in businesses that are family friendly and enhance the community.Raucci said he has been a businessman, as well as an entrepreneur and an inventor, while Edwards said her background is in advertising and marketing. Her résumé includes having once been the marketing person behind the real estate firm Century21.On Monday Raucci said, "We hope to bring our marketing expertise and savvy down to this area.""We have really long-term, multi-phased plans for this building," he said, noting there will be upgrades to the structure's exterior and interior.Raucci said he and his wife saw downtown Elizabeth City as an ideal place to develop a unique, kind-of-niche market different from what's along the Halstead Boulevard, Halstead Boulevard Extended and Ehringhaus Street commercial corridors.Additionally, he said the Virginia Dare Arcade's glass-enclosed structure reminds him of the glass-enclosed passages in Paris."And we saw the potential to transform it into that – and to create kind of an oasis inside Elizabeth City, where you'd want to come," he said.Raucci said he and his wife also like the Virginia Dare Arcade's layout, with retail space on the ground floor and office spaces on the second floor.Aware that a number of spaces on that second floor are vacant, Raucci said he and his wife are interested in attracting online businesses, young startup businesspersons and persons who aren't just brick-and-mortar operators. He said he wants to keep the tenants that are already in place.Word of a possible sale of the Virginia Dare Arcade began circulating locally last week, and the Pasquotank County Register of Deeds processed the final documents on Thursday.Zack Roberston, when reached by phone on Monday, said Raucci approached him about three or four months ago."I'm satisfied, but he (Raucci) got a good deal – a very good deal," Robertson said.Pasquotank County records list the Virginia Dare Arcade site as valued at $188,800 for taxation purposesMore specifically, the building is valued at $128,700 and the land is valued at $60,100.The Virginia Dare Arcade was featured in a 2009 UNC-TV video narrated by author, Elizabeth City native and current UNC-Chapel Hill professor Bland Simpson. The Virginia Dare Arcade was part of what was once the Virginia Dare Hotel, the neighboring nine-story, blonde-brick structure that dates to 1927. The former Virginia Dare Hotel, at South McMorrine and East Fearing streets, presently is an apartment complex for senior citizens.Last week's transaction of the Virginia Dare Arcade marks another major sale this year for Robertson and his wife. Late this spring, the couple let go of the Kramer Building, also along East Main Street, to accountant, Will Nixon, and Nixon's wife, Erin, a real estate broker.Robertson, 82, who's also a former city councilor, on Monday said his bottom line is he's selling downtown properties and has four left. They include the vacant former Carolina theater at East Colonial Avenue and North Poindexter Street and the Bradford Building at East Main and South Poindexter streets.They also include a building at East Colonial Avenue and North McMorrine Street and a building along Martin Luther King JrDrive behind the vacant former Levels.Robertson said he doesn't have a specific timetable when he wants to have the remaining properties sold."I'm going to take it as it comes," he said"We'll get rid of 'em, one or two at the timeWhenever somebody is interested in one, we'll talk to 'em." 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