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Interior demolition set for Henry Hotel
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Interior demolition will be the first phase of the revitalization of the former Henry Hotel, according to Martinsville Assistant City Manager Wayne Knox.
People passing by the building should be able to see signs of the work, which is expected to start during the first week of September, Knox said.
At least one large trash bin will be set up outside, and construction workers will be removing debris from the building, he said.
Debris will include “some ceilings that have fallen,” Knox said, as well as roof materials and heating and plumbing equipment that needs to be replaced, and chunks of walls that must be removed to get to some of that infrastructure.
He mentioned the building’s boiler as an example of what must be replaced. Such equipment still works, but newer models will be more efficient, he said.
Waukeshaw Development Inc. of Petersburg aims to spend $3.2 million to turn the four-story structure at the intersection of East Church and Broad streets uptown into 25 apartments and four commercial units.
Local officials and economic developers have said they expect the project will spur other improvements to buildings in the central business district.
Built in the 1920s, the former hotel was bought by the city five years ago for $425,000. The city spent $95,000 of its own money. A loan from The Harvest Foundation covered the rest. Harvest has since forgiven the loan.
The city received a state Industrial Revitalization Fund grant of $600,000 to use toward the revitalization. Virginia Community Capital, which helps finance community development efforts, is financing the remainder of the cost.
Last summer, Martinsville City Council sold the building to Waukeshaw, which has done similar revitalization projects statewide, for $1.
Waukeshaw plans to keep ownership of the building, but it intends to hire a leasing company to lease the apartments and commercial units, according to company President Dave McCormack.
Shortly before or after the revitalization work gets under way, a ceremony will be held to commemorate the project, Knox said.
But what type of ceremony is appropriate? Knox said a groundbreaking is not proper because no soil will need to be shoveled for the construction. A ribbon-cutting would not be appropriate until the work is finished, he said.
“We’ll figure something out,” he added.
The project is expected to take about 10 months to complete, McCormack has said.