By: Denice Thibodeau
By this time next year, the Ferrell Building — the crumbling, boarded up structure at 533 Main St. in the heart of downtown Danville — will be completely remodeled and ready for occupants in its apartments and commercial spaces.
One of its new owners, Patrick Reilly, also promised the unattractive, wooden walkway in front of the building will be gone by May 31.
Reilly, project manager/principal with Rehab Development in Winston-Salem, N.C., said principals from his company partnered with Level 2 Development, in Washington D.C., to bring the project together and form Ferrell Historic Lofts LLC.
The deal was closed Dec. 28, and Reilly said this project would be moving quickly.
“We got the stabilization permits today (Jan. 6) and workers will be on it within 10 days,” Reilly said.
Reilly said the 17,224-square-foot building will be divided into 13 market-rate apartments, but 1,500 square feet in the first-floor storefront area will be reserved for commercial space.
“These will probably be the nicest apartments in Danville, but calling them luxury apartments would be presumptuous on my part,” Reilly said. “But they will be fantastic apartments.”
Reilly praised the cooperation and support the project has gotten from the city’s Economic Development Department.
“As you can imagine, financing is difficult for projects like this; it takes a lot of ingenuity and creativity,” Reilly said. “One the ways it works is with healthy cooperation and commitment from the city. Without the support of Anne Moore-Sparks (Economic Development project manager), Jeremy Stratton (Economic Development director) and the city manager, Joe King, this would not be able to happen.”
Reilly said financial support from the city also impressed Level 2 Development.
“They’re getting interested in the city,” Reilly said. “Hopefully, it will lead to more economic development on Main Street.”
Reilly said the project will be completed and ready for occupancy by the end of the year so the developers can take advantage of 2011 state and federal tax credits.
“We are totally committed to being completed by Dec. 31, 2011,” Reilly said.
The support offered by the city is $110,000, of which $100,100 will be from the city’s economic incentive fund and $9,900 from a Downtown Enhancement Grant. The developers will receive the money in three stages: $40,000 when they closed on the building; $40,000 when the structural stabilization of the building meets code requirements; and $30,000 when a certificate of occupancy has been issued.
In exchange, Ferrell Historic Lofts LLC promises to spend at least $1 million in taxable capital investments on renovating the building, and to maintain that investment for five years, or be subject to having to pay back some or all of the incentive funds.
Moore-Sparks said she is very pleased with how this project has turned out.
“I’m excited that this building finally found owners to bring it back to its glory days,” Moore-Sparks said. “I have a lot of confidence in Rehab Development because they worked on three other projects in Danville; they have the financial wherewithal and experience to do it. It’s the culmination of a very long process and will be a catalyst for future development in the district.”
The other projects Rehab Development has done in Danville are Lynn Street Lofts, the Westmoreland School rehabilitation and Schoolfield School rehabilitation.