A good project for downtown

Published 9:52 pm Thursday, December 22, 2016

A highly anticipated development on the south side of downtown Suffolk got a green light this week from the city’s planning commission, and the decision could bode well for efforts to revitalize Suffolk’s central business district.

On Tuesday, the Planning Commission voted 7-0, with one member absent, to recommend that City Council approve redevelopment of the former Golden Peanut site on South Saratoga Street as a mixed-use development.

The project would include between 233 and 300 loft apartments, as well as retail and commercial space, and developers have promised to renovate, rather than demolish, seven of the 17 buildings on the historic site.

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The $30 million project will include parking, a pool, about 9,000 square feet of commercial space, along with other amenities normally associated with new apartment complexes.

The main hitch for companies considering downtown Suffolk as a location for retail outlets has long been a low population density. Adding up to 300 families will help make that area more enticing for grocery stores, restaurants and shops.

Another potential benefit of this project will be the change it brings to the way folks coming into downtown from the south see that community. As hulking, abandoned industrial buildings are replaced by apartments and retail outlets, the perception of downtown will begin to change. That can only help current business owners, who contend daily with an entirely different perception from potential customers.

We encourage City Council to give this project a quick thumbs-up and look forward to its completion.