by Joan Tupponce
Innovative Wireless Technologies officials say the company got a deal when it purchased the former Lynchburg federal courthouse for its headquarters. “We saw the potential in it,” says Todd Irby, the company’s chief financial officer and chief operating officer. “It’s a well-built, concrete-cast building. It doesn’t have the appearance that it is dated.”
Innovative Wireless purchased the 36,000-square-foot building at 1100 Main St. in May for $960,000 from a Harrisonburg developer who had bought the building in 2009. Innovative Wireless had outgrown the 11,000-square-foot facility it had been leasing in nearby Forest in Bedford County. “That facility was chopped up and not ideal for what we do,” Irby says. The company sells wireless products for mining and mineral industries, border security, military force protection and energy segments.
The Lynchburg building, which has three floors of space, had been vacant since 2005 when a new federal courthouse was built at 1101 Court St. Innovative Wireless is moving into the building in two phases. The first phase of its move began in early August. The company currently occupies the street level (second floor) of the building but will move to the top floor after renovations. “That floor is where the courtrooms were located,” Irby says. “We want to be on the top floor within a year.”
Irby describes the top floor as “an interesting architectural space” with 25- to 30- foot ceilings that will spark some creative ideas about the redesign. “We also like the view from the top floor,” he said, noting that the company is going to take its time with the renovation. “We want to use some of the elements like the woodwork and the jury box in the remodel,” he says.
The first level of the building, which the company may lease out after it moves into the renovated third floor, once housed several government agencies, including the local FBI office. It has three jail cells, a visitation area and rooms with sealed doors and soundproofing. “The secure rooms could be of use in our business,” Irby says.
Moving to Lynchburg has been a plus for the company in many regards. The old courthouse building is close to a bike trail that runs through the city, as well as a YMCA, hotels and local restaurants. “The city of Lynchburg is very accommodating for businesses like us,” Irby says. “That works well for both of us.”
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