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Henry Hotel control to be transferred
Waukeshaw Development Inc., of Petersburg, is expected to take over ownership of the former Henry Hotel (left) sometime during the next two weeks. The firm plans to spend $3.2 million to turn the building into 25 apartments and four commercial units. (Bulletin file photo)
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
During the next two weeks, Martinsville officials expect to sign papers to transfer control of the former Henry Hotel to Waukeshaw Development Inc. for revitalization, according to Assistant City Manager Wayne Knox.
Waukeshaw, of Petersburg, intends to spend $3.2 million to turn the four-story building at the intersection of East Church and Broad streets uptown into 25 apartments and four commercial units.
A groundbreaking ceremony likely will be scheduled around mid-August, but work on the project might start before then, said Knox, who also is the city’s director of community development.
He acknowledged that plans for the project have gone a little slower than officials had anticipated.
“The state’s been dragging their feet” in terms of certain departments granting necessary regulatory approvals, Knox said.
State officials have had no major concerns, he indicated.
Rather, “that’s how they do,” he said, noting that the state gives approvals on “it’s own time frame,” no one else’s.
After it starts, construction is expected to be finished in about 10 months, according to Waukeshaw President Dave McCormack.
The city received a $600,000 grant from the state Industrial Revitalization Fund to use for the project. Virginia Community Capital, which helps finance community development efforts, is financing the rest, McCormack has said.
After the papers are signed, Waukeshaw aims to maintain ownership of the building, but it plans to hire a leasing company to lease the apartments and commercial units, he has said.
The hotel dates to the 1920s. The city bought the structure at a public auction in 2009 for $425,000. It used $95,000 of its own funds, and The Harvest Foundation contributed a loan to cover the rest.
Harvest has since forgiven the loan.
Last July, Martinsville City Council voted to sell the building to Waukeshaw, which has done similar revitalization projects statewide, for $1.
Upgrading the building should help stimulate revitalization in the central business district, local officials and economic developers have said.