Downtowns across Virginia are receiving some special attention these days. Municipal leaders appreciate the fiscal and social benefits of revived Central Business Districts. Many locality renaissances include a blend of commercial and residential opportunities.
The Real Estate Lending team at VCC has been involved with numerous downtown projects. As community development lenders, we can work with developers and owners in both an advisory and financing capacity. Our comprehensive approach facilitates a process that encourages the public sector to work closely with private investors. Our lending specialists are also adept at integrating historic tax credits or support for development of affordable housing. The result is often a win-win solution where the locality’s community-based goals (a vibrant downtown) blend with a developer’s fiscal goals (flexible, favorable loan terms).
Many downtown projects involve restoration or adaptive reuse of architectural treasures. In some cases, the buildings have sat empty for years and require extensive rehabilitation. Others have been used, but a new end use will contribute to a more livable community. In all cases, VCC is proud to participate in the re-birth of these downtown beauties. We feature four of these currently underway across Virginia.
Bedford Lofts, Bedford
VCC is providing a construction, mini-permanent loan for the conversion of this historic tobacco warehouse into 32 rental apartments. Forty percent of the units will be reserved for persons making $46,320 (80% area median income), and the remaining units are market-rate non-income-restricted units. The four-story masonry structure reflects a Federal style common in the late 18th century across America. The building is a walkable distance from many downtown amenities and businesses. Bedford’s Main Street program has pledged support for the project to enhance the surrounding streetscape.
Crystal Tower, Roanoke
VCC supplied a construction loan for the complete restoration of this landmark structure in downtown Roanoke. This adaptive reuse project will create 90 apartments with some retail space on the street-level and represents a kind of full circle for the property as it was originally the Ponce de Leon, a luxury hotel. Built in 1931, the building’s exterior features Art Deco styling. Half of the apartments will be rented to persons making between 80%- 120% area median income. The other half of the apartments will be market-rate, non-income-restricted units. The construction has already uncovered magnificent interior details like mosaic tile floors and decorative columns. An underground spring in the lobby once provided a fresh trout pool for the hotel’s restaurant. The building owner hopes to restore that water feature.Hometown Bank and Community Bankers Bank participated with VCC on the construction loan. Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) is providing the permanent financing for the project.
337 West Main, Radford
VCC’s construction loan will advance progress on the restoration of this three-story building. The original owners had done meticulous preservation up until a few years ago. A Radford-based developer with a strong history of adaptive reuse for important downtown buildings intends to complete the project with a mix of affordable housing. The three-story historic structure is located in the center of Radford’s downtown areas within a short walk of shopping, outdoor recreation including trails, and the high school. The City of Radford offered property tax incentives to support the project.
George Wythe Hotel, Wytheville
Potential tourism and community interest in an upscale restaurant drove a local developer to purchase the former George Wythe Hotel. This four-story structure was built in 1927 and once featured 42 guest rooms, a restaurant, and a large banquet hall. The hotel ceased operations in 1970 and several banks occupied the space until 2010. VCC supplied a construction loan that matches with Virginia’s Industrial Revitalization Fund. The project will create 12 full-time jobs and is considered an important part of Wytheville’s plans to activate their downtown area.