State Officials Visit Downtown

State officials from toured downtown Winchester on Monday as part of a two-day trip around the theme of “Prosperity Through Preservation.” Historic tax credits were discussed in conjunction with Winchester’s success stories, such as the Lovett building, as well as the ongoing projects at the Solenberger building and Taylor Hotel, among others.

Rebecca Layne of the Star reports:

[Doug] Domenech [Virginia secretary of natural resources] was often unable to hold back his enthusiasm, at one point describing the downtown as “the place to be.”

“It’s very impressive what’s happening here,” he said. “You’ve got the right combination of public and private commitment. There’s a real vision here to transform the downtown.

“We’re here to discover ways the Department of Historic Resources can be involved more in Winchester,” he went on, adding that the DHR administers the tax-credit program.

Jim Deskins, executive director of the Economic Development Authority and economic redevelopment director for the city, led much of the tour. “What the whole revitalization is about is reaching back into the past and dusting it off and putting it back into the future,” he said.

Click here for the Winchester’s Star coverage of the tour downtown (login required).

Click here for the related Open Forum by Bob Bartley (login required).

Click here for TV3’s coverage of the plans for the Taylor.

$100 Million Milestone for Old Town

Winchester’s downtown was recently recognized by the Main Street program as the first in Virginia to reach $100 million in private investments. The watershed project, as cited by Karen Helm, executive director for the Old Town Development Board, was the Feltner Building at 9 Court Square in the mid-1990s.

Though less than $12 million total (without adjustments for inflation) had been invested downtown in the previous decade, then-President Wilbur M. Feltner got the bank to invest $2.5 million to renovate the building.
. . . .
“After a successful completed project,” Helm said, “there’s more of a sense of security that if somebody comes and makes an investment down here, they’ll get a return on their investment. I don’t think anybody likes to be the first to have confidence in an aging downtown, but Mr. Feltner did.”

Read the full article by Vic Bradshaw in the Winchester Star here (login required).

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Architectural Historians Survey Historic District

A team of architectural historians from EHT Traceries were interviewed yesterday by TV3 News. The historians are surveying the buildings as part of PHW’s and Winchester City’s ongoing efforts to update the National Register nomination for the historic district.

To them, the buildings are a glimpse into a past life. It’s a source of pride. [Lauren Trice, EHT Traceries Project Assistant,] says “when you walk out and people see you out there looking at buildings, you sort of instill a sense of pride in them. It’s like yeah I live in Winchester I live in the Historic District, people care about this.”

Click here for the full story.

Two Winchester Projects Receive Awards

(Reprinted from Winchester’s CitE-Newsletter Vol. 3, Issue 23.)

Two projects from Old Town Winchester were honored by the VDDA in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month.

The Downtown Winchester Renaissance and Improvements Project was honored in the Commercial Revitalization Plans and Streetscapes category.  The project saw the following work completed downtown over the course of 18 months:  replacing water utility infrastructure; installing brick sidewalks, decorative streetlights, meter posts and crosswalks; converting Cameron and Braddock Streets to two-way traffic; the construction of the George Washington Autopark; the installation of wayfinding signage and artscape banners; the relocation of the Winchester Department of Social Services to the Our Health Campus; revisions to the city’s Zoning Ordinance to streamline and facilitate the development of upper-floor apartments in buildings; and installing shade trees downtown and in new medians along Cameron Street.

The Lovett Building Project (163-165 N. Loudoun St.) was nominated by the Old Town Development Board and honored in the Building Development and Improvements category.  The project included the development of five upscale apartments on the building’s upper floors and 1,630 square feet of retail space on the first floor, now occupied by Espresso Bar & Café.

Karen Helm, Executive Director of the Old Town Development Board, was quoted in the November 8 issue of the Winchester Star saying, “…as we’re pulling out of the recession now, our city looks ready to do business.”

Click here to subscribe to Winchester’s free, bi-weekly newsletter CitE-News.

Cultural Resource Survey of Historic Winchester to Begin November 2010

EHT Traceries, Inc., in concert with Maral S. Kalbian, LLC, is pleased to be conducting the Survey of Buildings and Properties within the National Register Winchester Historic District. The project is possible thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, plus a shared sponsorship from Preservation of Historic Winchester, Inc. and the City of Winchester, both of which contributed $12,500 to the project. The objective of this project is to document the remaining 600-800 properties in the historic district, beginning on the east side of Loudoun Street, where the 2008 survey concluded, and moving westward.

Continue reading Cultural Resource Survey of Historic Winchester to Begin November 2010