New lofts, retail coming downtown
Published 11:07 pm Friday, April 12, 2013
An influx of new apartments and retail space in downtown is in the pipeline after The Monument Companies has entered into a contract to purchase a handful of buildings on West Washington Street.
“We’re in the process of developing a plan,” said Tom Dickey, one of the owners of The Monument Companies. “We have filed for a conditional use permit.”
The beleaguered buildings on the south side of the 100 block have mostly sat vacant for many years. Since 2008, they have been owned by Suffolk Commercial Properties, owned by George Hranowskyj and Eric Menden, both of whom have been found guilty in a scheme that contributed to the failure of the Bank of the Commonwealth in September 2011.
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The Monument Companies previously converted an adjacent building at 111 W. Washington Street to loft apartments with retail spaces below. They plan a similar model for the rest of the street. About 68 lofts could fit into the new space at a density similar to what exists in the first project.
“We’re really excited,” Dickey said. “We feel like there’s a lot of positive momentum with C3 Vino and Harper’s Table. We’re really excited about bringing some more retail and commercial space to downtown.”
He referred to C3 Vino, a wine and cheese shop on the ground floor of the 111 building, and Harper’s Table, a restaurant around the corner on North Main Street.
Dickey said the buildings, because they are old and have been vacant for a while, will certainly present as-yet-unseen challenges. But the company is experienced in making over old buildings and giving them new uses.
“You never know what type of problems we’ll run into once we start,” he said. “But we’re pretty comfortable with what we’ve seen.”
Dickey added the residents of the new buildings will likely park in the public parking lot behind the building, which fronts on South Saratoga Street. He also said the city is looking at other options that could provide more nearby parking.
The new project does not include the Salvation Army building located at 157 W. Washington St.
Besides the lofts at 111 W. Washington St., the company also has previously converted a vacant warehouse on Commerce Street into an apartment complex and renovated another group of warehouses into loft and office space on East Washington Street.