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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Hotel help sought
City seeks partner on Henry Hotel

Monday, December 3, 2012

The city of Martinsville is going ahead with plans to redevelop the former Henry Hotel uptown — with or without help from a nonprofit development organization already involved in the project.

Proposals are being sought from private firms interested in redeveloping the four-story building at East Church and Broad streets, either by themselves or with the Phoenix Community Development Corp., according to a procurement notice on the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce’s website.

Until recently, the building was mainly an apartment complex. Residents have moved out, but an insurance agency and restaurant remain.

Phoenix wants to turn the building into a complex of newer apartments.

So far, however, the organization has not been successful in obtaining state funds and tax credits it has sought to cover the estimated $4.6 million construction cost.

The city has applied for $500,000 in state industrial revitalization funds to help refurbish the structure.

Mayor Kim Adkins said that by seeking proposals from private developers, the city is not indicating it is dissatisfied with Phoenix’s efforts.

Rather, she said she and other Martinsville City Council members want to “entertain what other developers may have for us to consider” if Phoenix cannot arrange the financing.

“We know it’s not going to be redeveloped overnight,” Adkins said, but “we’d like to see it redeveloped sooner rather than later.”

She said the city so far has received no inquiries from private developers. They have until 4 p.m. Dec. 28 to submit proposals, the notice shows.

Phoenix President Ray Gibbs could not be reached for comment Friday.

The city bought the building for $425,000 at a public auction three years ago. It used $95,000 of its own funds, and The Harvest Foundation provided a loan to cover the rest.

According to the notice, the building has “decorative brickwork patterns in the frieze and Greek-key designs” in the interior tile floors.

Such architecture as well as the building’s four floors, which make it rise above many other buildings in the business district, “gave it an elegant presence and made it a landmark in the community,” the notice says.


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