Fine arts space in works for River District, DCC president says

Posted by Danville River District News on November 29, 2016
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Danville Community College is working to bring a dedicated fine arts and music building to downtown, DCC President Bruce Scism said at the college board meeting Monday.
“I think it could be tremendous asset to this community and this college,” Scism said.
Scism is leading the project with Averett University President Tiffany Franks. Selecting a location in the River District, the space would include a black box theater, a gallery, additional class space and a coffee shop.
Scism said the facility would include opportunities and space for artists-in-residence. Working with a developer, Scism said grant funding would help pay for some of the space, and the building would be constructed with sustainability in mind.
Scism said local interest in the arts and music at DCC was always high, but the school simply did not have the facilities to house a local program.
DCC board member and Danville Regional Foundation board member Chris Eastwood voiced his support for the space, saying it could unite a fragmented local arts scene.
“I think that’s something that’s deeply needed in our region,” Eastwood said.
Scism said the project was on a fairly short timetable.
“Our goal is to be able to offer something in the fall of 2017,” Scism said.
Board members also received an update of the renovations to the engineering and industrial technology and welding buildings from business manager Lisa Johnson.
“The funding for the welding and the EIT projects has been allocated,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the contractor is set to begin work on the projects and was bringing equipment on campus Monday. She said renovations should be complete in 10 months for the welding building and a year for the EIT building.
Board members also approved new programs and degrees including Associate of Fine Arts, venture creation and management, culinary arts, beer brewing, guitar building and unmanned aerial systems.
Scism said the brewing program is modeled after programs in North Carolina where dozens of small and large microbreweries have located, especially in Asheville. Scism said the program would be one of just two in Virginia.
Board members also finalized a timeline for the evaluation process for Scism, who has been president since 2013. Scism will send his evaluation goals to the committee in March, and the evaluation will be completed and mailed to the Virginia Community College System president by the end of the month.

Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting of KG Graphics!

Posted by Danville River District News on October 13, 2016
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Tour of the renovations being done on the 500 block of Craghead Street with owner Rick Barker

Posted by Danville River District News on October 13, 2016
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Tour of the renovations being done on the 500 block of Craghead Street with owner Rick Barker


(Courtesy of Rivers City TV)

Rick Barker Properties, LLC released plans today for renovations to the 500 Block of Craghead St.

Posted by Danville River District News on October 13, 2016
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Rick Barker Properties, LLC released plans today for renovations to the 500 Block of Craghead St. Included in the phased restoration will be commercial storefronts and residential apartments. Tune into our Facebook page later this morning as we tour the facilities live with the owner of the properties Rick Barker.


500 block of Craghead St.

Charles E. Hughes Building c1909

William C. Venable Building c1904

(Courtesy of Rivers City TV)


Plans announced for 500 block of Craghead Street

Posted by Danville River District News on October 12, 2016
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The 500 block of Craghead Street is in the middle of a massive renovation, encompassing eight of the nine buildings on the block — all purchased by Rick Barker Properties over the past two years.
Barker first completed the first floor of 554 Craghead St., the former Piedmont Hardware Building, where he headquartered his company, Supply Resources, last year.
Today, Barker officially announced each building will go through design, demolition and construction phases, with two of them already through design and demolition and now under construction.
Those buildings are:
» the Hughes Building at 528-532 Craghead St., built around 1909; and
» the Venable Building at 534-536 Craghead St., built around 1904.
The former tobacco factory at 518 Craghead St., built around 1876, is going into the design phase, Barker said, while façade improvements are being made to two other buildings:
» the Elbridge’s Drug Store Building at 548 Craghead St., built around 1910; and
» the Swift & Company Building, at 550 Craghead St., built around 1910.
“Plans call for each building to be restored to the same design and construction standard established in 2015 at 554 Craghead St.,” Barker said.
Barker said the support he received for the renovation of the Piedmont Hardware Building encouraged him to take on further projects.
“The overwhelming support and encouragement that we received from the public for our work at 554 Craghead has encouraged us to dream larger and to imagine what further impact we might have by managing additional projects within Danville’s River District,” Barker said. “This is a unique opportunity to reclaim a commercial block under common ownership with a comprehensive plan for its restoration in just a few short years.”
Mark Smith of Architectural Partners — the architect on the project — said in an emailed statement that redevelopment of an entire block is rare with a single developer, and said his company is excited to be part of the project.
“The opportunity to work in collaboration with Rick Barker Properties and the city of Danville has been gratifying for our firm,” Smith said. “The desire to bring an under-utilized section of Craghead Street back to a cohesive block of businesses and residential living is another piece to Danville’s revitalization.”
Smith said the combination of public and private investment has created a “Gold Rush” affect to the River District.
“[In] my opinion, the critical mass of enthusiasm from developers, businesses, community and government are being solidified into a tangible result of buildings and public activity,” Smith said. “We saw this similar effect in Lynchburg, my hometown, approximately 10 years ago and we have been enjoying these results as a community.”
The Hughes and Venable buildings together will offer four storefronts at street level and nine apartments on the upper floors, which will be completed in early 2017. The other buildings are also planned for mixed use, with details to follow after the design stage.
There is also construction underway on the second floor of 554 Craghead St.
Barker said he expects that project to be announced shortly, but the agenda for the River District Design Commission meeting on Thursday includes an application for approval of signs for BB&T/Scott & Stringfellow — a financial services company founded in 1893 that became affiliated with BB&T in 1999 — on each side of the building at 554 Craghead St.
The application notes that the company plans to move into the building in December.
Barker said he has multiple tenant announcement planned for the remainder of this year, but is not yet prepared to release details or names of those tenant.
Parking is not expected to be an issue on this block. Barker said the Industrial Development Authority plans to create a 90-space, public parking lot between Craghead and Lynn streets, backing up to this block.
“Ultimately, we will have a vibrant block that is pedestrian friendly, with ample parking, within walking distance to the River District’s major assets,” Barker said. “We are excited to return these buildings to their former early 20th-century flory, while creating homes for new, dynamic 21st-century businesses.”
Denice Thibodeau is a reporter for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact her at dthibodeau@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7985.