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Facade grant approved for former News-Herald building

Developers of the former Suffolk News-Herald building on South Saratoga Street will get a $10,000 facade grant to make improvements as part of work to turn them into apartments.

The Economic Development Authority’s board approved the grant in a 6-0 vote during its Aug. 11 meeting at City Hall.

Monument Development, which bought the building at 130 S. Saratoga St. for $300,000, plans to convert the building into 14 apartments. It expects to spend $44,558 on making the facade improvements, which will include putting in new windows, a new front door and entry improvements, masonry and roof repairs and front signage.

It’s just one of several things that have happened in recent weeks with properties in the downtown area that were damaged by a tornado in August 2020.

In the last month, the city bought properties at the corner of South Saratoga Street and West Washington Street.

The city bought the lot at 101 S. Saratoga St. for $250,800 from Kevin N. Kennedy, and property at 168 and 169 Jackson St. for $482,439 from N&N Land Company LLC, according to city land transfer records.

The city on July 22 also purchased from N&N Land Company LLC the former Brandon House Furniture building at 219 W. Washington St. that was heavily damaged by the tornado. No purchase price was immediately available, but N&N Land Company had bought the building Nov. 30, 2020, for $285,000.

“Surveying and engineering (are) currently underway,” according to city spokeswoman Diana Klink in a statement. “Once this effort is finalized, we look forward to working with the Suffolk City Council and our citizens on the future of these properties and our continued efforts to revitalize downtown and provide open green space in conjunction with the Downtown Suffolk Master Plan.”

Klink also said that prior to the demolition of the older structures, the city is required to receive approval from the Historic Landmark Commission.

The city has plans to build a new downtown library on land on West Washington Street between Lee and South streets. The design phase of the project began last September and is expected to conclude in August, with bidding on the project expected this fall, and construction between December and February 2023.