Developer turning old Martinsville hotel into apartments

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The $3.2 million project will include commercial
space and 25 apartments. Photo courtesy
Martinsville Bulletin

Developer Dave McCormack hopes to breathe new life into the former Henry Hotel in Martinsville by converting the structure into a four-story apartment building. A center of activity during the heyday of the textile and tobacco industries in Southern Virginia, the hotel, which was built around 1920, has been empty for several years.

The $3.2 million project will include three commercial spaces on the first floor and 25 apartments. “There is a need for quality, market-rate apartments in Martinsville,” says McCormack, president of Waukeshaw Development Inc. in Petersburg. “You see a lot of low-income housing, but you don’t see a lot of market-rate apartments.”

He sees the opening of the New College Institute’s new Building on Baldwin, just blocks away, as a plus for his apartment complex. “That development will attract a lot of students,” he says.

The college building will house academic and workforce training programs.

McCormack started de­­­veloping buildings in Petersburg and other underserved areas about 12 years ago. One of his larger Petersburg projects, Mayton Transfer Lofts, includes 220 apartments. He expects to have about $60 million in investments in the Petersburg area by 2015. “I do projects [that] developers have stayed away from,” he says.

He looked at the Henry Hotel property more than a year ago at the suggestion of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. He had worked with the department on similar projects. “I like working in that reuse, historic tax credit realm,” he says. “I like to do projects that are game changing and spur other development.”

McCormack, who bought the 26,400-square-foot building from Martinsville for $1, is using historic state and federal tax credits, as well as a $600,000 grant from the state Industrial Revitalization Fund, for the project.

“Virginia Community Capital is financing the remainder,” he says, adding that he expects to break ground on the project this month. Construction will take about 10 months. “We hope to have a certificate of occupancy by the middle of the summer of 2015.”

McCormack says that his renovation projects usually pave the way for other projects in the same area. He hopes to have the same success in Martinsville. “These things always lead to more opportunity and development,” he says.

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