SCOTTSVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – A company wants to convert part of an old tire factory in Scottsville into a modern apartment complex. The plant was once a landmark in the city of Scottsville, but has been closed for 13 years.
Matt Lawless is the city administrator of Scottsville, and he says that although the space has been virtually vacant since 2009, it was once an economic driver.
“I often hear people say, ‘Hey, where can I live around Scottsville?’ and there’s nothing new to rent, so maybe it fills a need,” Lawless said.
The plant was built in 1944 and operated until 2009 when the recession hit the auto industry and more than 100 people in Scottsville lost their jobs.
“The building has lost value, and it’s not contributing much to local taxes in the economy,” Lawless said. “It was such a source of pride for the people who worked here for 65 years, and the community wants to help guide a reinvestment and turn it into something we can be proud of.”
Lawless says some groups have tried to repurpose the building in the past.
“The Scottsville community and Virginia economic development authorities have been trying to figure out the best way to reuse it. We failed to recruit a new industrial company to come here,” he said.
Now there is hope again that the building will find a new purpose. The Echelon company wants to transform it into 200 new apartments.
“It really could have the potential to revitalize Scottsville in a big way, and over $50 million investment in this old building,” Lawless said. “This nominee was pretty persuasive in that they can use historic tax credit funding. Keep the building consistent with the look of Scottsville, but create something contemporary inside.
The plaintiff is also offering $200,000 to the city to help build sidewalks between the complex and downtown, and he has agreed that 20% of the units will be affordable housing. The building will also retain the original 1944 steel.
“We only have one building like this, so it’s really important that we design it right and do it right. There are definitely some negotiations to be done, and we want to hear from the neighbors on how to make this design the best it can be. We only have one and we want to get it right,” Lawless said.
The public hearing for this renovation will take place on October 3. Lawless says if you have ideas about apartments, you should attend.
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