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Posted on: September 15, 2016

Commission OKs loft-style apartment project in River District

A project that would bring nearly two-dozen loft-style apartments to High Street received approval from the River District Design Commission Thursday afternoon.

The commission approved — by a 6-0 vote — a certificate of appropriateness for River District Lofts LLC’s plans to bring 23 loft-style apartments and 25 parking spaces to 549 High St.

Commissioner Courtney Nicholas did not attend the meeting.

Patrick Reilly, managing partner with River District Lofts, said during an interview Thursday he hopes construction will begin in August, with the rental units ready for occupancy in fall 2017.

Rehab Development Inc, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is the developer converting the area — which included two buildings, one of which collapsed — into the apartments, a courtyard and parking lot.

“We thought the building was naturally suited to be a good building for apartments.” Reilly said.

Most of the apartments will range from 700-900 square feet and include wide open spaces, hardwood floors and granite countertops, Reilly said.

“They’ll have a very unique feel to them,” Reilly said.

Rent will be from $900-$1,200 per month, depending on the unit’s size, he said. Rent will include cable, Internet and utilities.

The area at 549 High St. had two adjacent buildings, one of which collapsed, said Corrie Teague, Danville’s assistant director of economic development. Some of the exterior walls were saved, she added.

Railing and gates for the entrance to the parking lot will be installed, as well as a courtyard for tenants, Teague said. Each unit in the four-story building — except those on the top floor — will have exterior entrances, she said. The top floor will have a common entrance and a corridor.

Redevelopment of the existing structure will require replacement windows, replacement roofing, handrails and exterior stairs with corrugated metal awnings to be installed. An aluminum gate is also planned for the parking lot entrance.

Commission Chairman George Davis III asked Teague — who spoke on behalf River Street Lofts — if the developer was going to leave a piece of brick wall standing, and expressed safety concerns. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources is requiring them to maintain the wall — which will be used to create an interior courtyard — in order to receive tax credits, Teague said.

“It will be stabilized,” Teague told the commission.

The Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority acquired the property for no money in the summer of 2014 due to outstanding code violations, Teague said. At the time, the buildings were used for storage, she said.

The DRHA began reaching out to developers to gauge interest in performing a redevelopment project there. Rehab Builders showed interest, with the city and the firm working together on the project’s parameters, Teague said.

Reilly is president of Rehab Development; Rehab Builders is the High Street project’s contractor. Dunn Dalton in Kinston, North Carolina, is the architect, and Rehab Engineering will be the project’s engineer. River District Lofts is a real estate entity formed to hold the project, Reilly said.

Rehab Development’s construction company performed the design and building work for Pemberton and Continental Lofts, among others.

Reilly — also a managing partner of Ferrell Historic Lofts at 533 Main St. — is working on getting tax credits from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources for the project. He said he hopes to get approval within the next 30 days, before the department forwards it to the National Park Service.

In another matter, the commission voted to approve installation of a personal electronics charging station — donated by Womack Electric — at Main Street Plaza. The station will include a 3-inch-by-8-inch dedication sign.

Planning Director Ken Gillie told the commission there would be additional stations installed in other parts of the city following the commission’s approval.

John Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact him at jcrane@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7987.

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