Sweet deal converts former Weatherly Candy Factory into affordable lofts

December 7, 2020 | Impact Stories


Converting a former candy factory into a 43-unit multifamily housing project – with expansive water views of the Pasquotank River – could contribute to economic development in downtown Elizabeth City, N.C.

Built in 1921 as the modern home of The Weatherly Candy Factory, the building once witnessed the production of up to 2 million pounds of candy annually. The Weatherly family founded the business in 1890, with generations overseeing it until its closing about a half-century ago. For its era, the company was noted as a leader in the development of automated machinery for candy production.

J.D. Lewis Construction Management Inc., founded by Kevin O’Leary and James Flanigan in 2005, transformed the building and two adjacent facilities, including one that formerly housed a car dealership. The commercial firm has extensive experience with multifamily and retail projects, including Rocketts Landing, The Boathouse, and 805 W. Cary St. in Richmond. The site architect was Walter Parks, who previously worked with J.D. Lewis on The Locks in Richmond and multiple restaurant projects (The Boathouse, Casa del Barco, and Island Shrimp Company).


A $3.8 million construction loan and a $1.2 million loan to bridge the state and federal historic tax credits provided the necessary financing to rehabilitate this downtown Elizabeth City landmark into the Weatherly Lofts. J.D. Lewis worked with Linden Capital to secure the Historic Tax Credits.

Most units in Weatherly Lofts are one-bedroom, with apartments ranging between 550 and 1,000 square feet. Residents in 26 units have water views, and amenities include a rooftop deck and on-site reserved parking.


Transforming this abandoned facility into contemporary housing will contribute to local economic development, including job creation with the hiring of a full-time property manager. The influx of residents will spark additional business growth and expansion. The development will also serve as a catalyst to attract other investors bringing a positive spotlight to the community and its location on the Pasquotank River. For the short term, the project brought new jobs to the region during the rehabilitation phase.

The United Nations created 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that aim to eradicate poverty and deprivation, grow our economies, protect our environment, and promote peace and good governance. These SDGs best align with VCC, and our mission to positively impact communities.

The Weatherly Lofts loan aligns with SDGs 8 and 11.