Lofts open downtown

Published 9:31 pm Friday, May 25, 2012

Officials with the city and Monument Construction cut the ribbon on the Lofts at 111 W. Washington St. on Thursday. From left, Councilman Charles Parr; Chris Johnson with Monument Construction; Vice Mayor Charles Brown; Tom Dickey with monument Construction; Andy Damiani, former owner of the building; City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn; Deputy City Manager Patrick Roberts; and Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes.

More than two dozen new rental units officially opened with the snip of a ribbon on Thursday morning.

The Lofts at 111 W. Washington St., the newest project of Monument Construction, hosted about 20 people for the grand opening ceremony. The new apartments, which already are about 50 percent rented, are located right at the corner of Main and Washington streets.

“It’s just a good location,” said Tom Dickey, one of the principals of Monument Construction. “It’s like the corner of Main and Main.”

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The 26 apartments and two street-level retail units are the result of a $2.5 million investment in the early-1900s building known as the Damiani Building, for its former owner. The renovations started in October.

City officials at the event were excited about the developments.

“We need another wave of residential downtown,” said Kevin Hughes, the city’s director of economic development.

Councilman Charles Parr also extended his thanks to Monument Construction.

“This is their third project,” he said. “They’ve done an excellent job, and I’m looking forward to their next three projects.”

The company already has completed loft apartment projects at East Point Plaza and on Commerce Street. Both projects, like their newest venture, were in repurposed old buildings. They are now about 95 percent occupied, Dickey said.

“I see Monument as part of the renaissance of our downtown,” City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn said.

Wayne Slusser of Monument Construction said it was a challenge to use as much salvaged material from the building as possible.

“It gives it character,” he said, pointing out hardwood floors, door frames and wainscoting that were salvaged, spruced up and painted.

Property manager Jessica Athier said many of the new tenants are moving from Virginia Beach or Hampton to get out of the more urban areas, or from Franklin and North Carolina to be closer to work.

The units are priced from $899 to $1,599 and include water, sewer, trash disposal, electricity, Internet and satellite television.

The larger retail unit downstairs, which measures 945 square feet, is destined to become a cigars, wine and cheese shop, Dickey said. The other is receiving strong interest, he added.