Apartment development planned for Centertown

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    Change is coming to Jackson Street in Centertown Bedford.

    Developer David McCormack has announced plans to develop the historic Clark and Company Plug Tobacco Warehouse into 32 apartments and a recent grant secured by Bedford Main Street, Inc., will help finance public improvements to that road.
    “It will certainly have an impact on downtown,” stated Sue Montgomery, executive director of Bedford Main Street, Inc., on the development plans. “This could give us a shot in the arm.”
    Bedford Main Street received the $25,000 grant award from Virginia Main Street to be used for public improvements in the vicinity of Jackson Street.  This grant, known as a Downtown Improvement Grant, is the second grant from Virginia Main Street in this fiscal year, resulting in a total of $50,000 to the local community.  Both grants deal with improvements in that area.
    Montgomery said with the growing arts community in Centertown, the development should be “a perfect fit” for the area.
    The development should benefit both the residents of the apartments and the Centertown businesses that will be serving them, she said.
    The first grant, made in November, 2012, was for a feasibility study associated with the potential development of the Clark and Company Plug Tobacco Warehouse—later used by Frank Chervan Furniture Company—at 412 Jackson Street. 

    McCormack, of Waukeshaw Development, Inc. in Petersburg, has announced plans to develop the Jackson Street property into 32 market rate apartments.  The apartments will feature granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and hardwood floors, and the character of the historic warehouse will be retained. 
    “In our assessment of the apartment market in Bedford, we saw that there is a real need for high quality, market-rate housing,” stated McCormack. “Our apartments are designed for young professionals such as teachers, nurses and business managers who want to live in Bedford but may work elsewhere.”
    McCormack stated the availability of high level broadband Internet access will be a great attraction for people who need it for work or leisure activities. His company is leading  revitalization and rehabilitation efforts in several towns around the state of Virginia. Current adaptive reuse and historic tax credit developments, in varying project stages, comprise more than 350,000 square feet and reflect a value of more than $45 million.
    McCormack recently completed Phase III of the Mayton Transfer Lofts, a $26  million adaptive reuse/ warehouse rehab into 109 apartments on East Bank Street in Old Town Petersburg, Va. Phase I and II are already complete, with occupancy now over 95 percent. The Lofts are two blocks from the Appomattox Harbor and riverfront and will anchor the redevelopment of Petersburg’s entire eastern historic district.
    McCormack is also a co-developer of the Mallonee School in Hopewell,a $6 million project that converted the historic structure into 50 market-rate units. The project comprises one- and two- and three-bedroom units built with the growth of the military population around Fort Lee in mind. He also recently completed the Blackstone Lofts – the conversion of a historic tobacco building into 25 market rate units in Blackstone.
    Final details are still being worked out on the Bedford development, but the total project is estimated to be about $3 million. If all goes according to plans, the project will break ground sometime in late summer.
    The infrastructure improvements on Jackson Street will improve connectivity to downtown and help provide daily shoppers to local businesses, according to Montgomery.
    The improvements will include the removal and replacement of 200’ of sidewalk, improvements to the storm water system by the installation of new drop inlets and 370’ of storm drainage pipe, and the installation of 170’ of new safety fencing along the Norfolk Southern Railway.  All of these improvements are essential for pedestrian safety and adequate storm water runoff in that area, noted Montgomery.
    She said McCormack has a track record of development such as these in other communities such as Blackstone and Martinsville. After sitting on the building for several years, Montgomery said the market has turned around enough for him to proceed with his plans.
    The brick building was originally constructed in 1907, a little over two decades after fire destroyed many of the buildings in downtown Bedford.
    The grant program that made these funds available is known as the Virginia Main Street Downtown Improvement Grant. Virginia Main Street is part of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.   Applications for grant awards are competitive in nature and were required to be submitted by a November 30 deadline. 
    All work authorized as a part of the grant award must be completed no later than June 20, 2014.  The total budget for the infrastructure project is slightly under $50,000.
    Bedford Main Street, Inc. has been a Virginia Main Street community since 1985 and has worked continuously since that time in partnership with the city of Bedford and area leaders to promote Bedford’s Centertown. More than $15 million in private investment has been made during that timeframe and a total of 475 rehabilitation projects have been completed. 
    It is anticipated that the improvements to the Jackson Street area will be administered by the Bedford Department of Public Works and may be completed this summer.