“How to Finance Historic Preservation” Lecture Online

Did you miss PHW’s first fall 2013 “Lunch and Learn” lecture? Never fear! The video of the presentation is available for you to watch online now.

View on YouTube

The presentation by Bill Buettin covers financing basics, financial analysis of real estate, a deconstruction of the Taylor Hotel project financing, and projection on the interest rate environment. Also included is the question and answer session at the end of the PowerPoint presentation. Fans of the Taylor Hotel project may want to skip to the 35 minute mark to see the financial case study on this unusual project.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the next lecture, “How to Green Your Historic Preservation Project” with Chuck Swartz, to be held October 3, noon at the Lewis Jones Knitting Mill, 126 N. Kent St.

The Taylor Hotel Is Sold

Word has arrived that the Taylor Hotel has now completed its transition to the hands of the Winchester Economic Development Authority. This action allows the beginning of the first phase of the project, which is slated to be stabilization efforts of the front and rear sections and demolition of the collapsed central portion.

While further paperwork is being completed to access the Housing and Urban Development funds, which will open the path for redevelopment in phase two, this news marks a milestone in the languishing building’s history. PHW President Frank Wright was quoted in the Star today, saying:

“Hallelujah!” he exclaimed. “This has been a worrisome subject for many years and has caused a great deal of concern in the community, and this is the best news possible.

“This is great news for preservationists. This is great news for the citizens of Winchester, and for visitors to Winchester whom I’ve heard remark about the awful state of that building. So it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Read the complete article by Vic Bradshaw at the Winchester Star (login required).

Commercial Winchester, 1974

While going through our old educational materials at the office, we came across a collection of commercial building photographs dated January 1974. Take a look to see some stores that are now long gone, buildings and streetscapes that have been altered almost past recognition, and even spot some stores that are still in business at the same location! (Keep a sharp eye out for the Taylor Hotel, hiding under the McCrory’s facade treatment.)

Visit the album on Picasa.

Courage Lauded in Saving the Taylor

This open letter from PHW’s President Franklin Wright appears in today’s issue of the Winchester Star.

What wonderful and overdue news about the Taylor Hotel!

Many despaired anything — other than demolition — would be done with the Taylor. The grim shell greeted residents and visitors alike as a rebuke to a city that prides itself on its attention to its architectural heritage. A convoluted ownership and entangling financing agreements led to seemingly endless delays — all while the building continued to deteriorate.

This was not a “vision thing.” Everyone could see what the Taylor once was, and could imagine what it might yet be. What was needed was courage — political courage to do what had to be done — to save the centerpiece of Old Town. The city has met that challenge. Our congratulations to the City Council, the city staff, and the Economic Development Authority and its director for achieving what seemed was the impossible task of saving the Taylor Hotel.

I predict this achievement will be one of those council members will look back on and mark it as one of their finest accomplishments. I know it will be so viewed by the present and future residents of Winchester.

We realize this is merely the first step on a long journey, and many challenges lie ahead. But Preservation of Historic Winchester commits to helping the city and the property owners realize the full potential of the Old Taylor.

FRANKLIN WRIGHT President Preservation of Historic Winchester

Read more Open Forum letters at www.winchesterstar.com.

Good News for the Taylor Hotel

The City of Winchester has received funding approval for the 108 HUD loan application for the Taylor Hotel project. According to the City, the acquisition of the property should occur within 30-60 days. Immediately thereafter, work will begin to stabilize the existing structure (historic front portion along Loudoun Street and the rear tower on Indian Alley) and demolish portions of the property that have collapsed.

Vic Bradshaw of the Winchester Star reports:

A second phase of the $3.85 million project will result in the creation of 7,000 square feet of commercial space, five apartments, an entertainment pavilion and a covered farmers market area. In a third phase, 12,000 square feet would be developed as condominiums.

Completion of the first two phases is expected to take 18 to 24 months, [Jim] Deskins said.

“I think ultimately it’s going to be tremendous,” he said of the entire project. “This will be moving the city toward the completion of City Council’s goal of enhancing the downtown area and addressing a blighted building that sits right smack dab in the middle of downtown.”

Read the rest of the article at www.winchesterstar.com (login required).

For more information, please contact Jim Deskins, Director of Economic Redevelopment, at (540) 667-1815.

Preservation Virginia 2012 Most Endangered Historic Sites Nominations

Preservation Virginia, the statewide preservation organization, has opened nominations for the 2012 list of Virginia’s Most Endangered Historic Sites. The program recognizes the Commonwealth’s irreplaceable architectural, natural, and archaeological sites that face imminent threat by demolition, alteration, inappropriate development, insufficient funding, or neglect. These special “places” play an important role in Virginia’s heritage and should be recognized before it is too late.

You may remember in 2010, two properties in Winchester were recognized on this list: the Taylor Hotel and the Gavis (Aulick) house. If you know of a similar endangered site in Virginia, PHW encourages you to nominate it for the 2012 list.

The nomination form is online at www.preservationvirginia.org/EndangeredSites/. Nominations are due by April 13.

Taylor Hotel Financing Under Review

Vic Bradshaw, reporting for the Winchester Star, updated the status of the partnership between the City and Wishneff Group for the rehabilitation of the Taylor Hotel.

[Jim] Deskins said the application [for an advance on anticipated grant money from Housing and Urban Development] was revised numerous times to give it the best chance for approval. If it is turned down or if the Wishneff Group is unable to obtain historic tax credits for the work, the project will not be undertaken and the city government likely will tear down the building.

The application, he said, focuses on the public facilities to be created – the farmers market and performance area. It also pledges that at least 51 percent of the jobs in the space resulting from the project will go to low- to moderate-income residents.

According to sources, the HUD application should be processed in 90 days, with the historic tax credit application taking about the same time to review.

Find out more about Section 108 Community Development Block Grants from HUD at www.hud.gov.

Learn more about historic tax credits at www.nps.gov/hps/tps/tax/.

Click here to read the full story (login required).

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.

The Taylor’s New Look

News on the future look of the old Taylor Hotel were revealed on March 26 by Vic Bradshaw of the Winchester Star.

When the work is completed, the property should have:

A three-story, 7,500-square-foot building facing the Loudoun Street Mall with a restaurant on the ground floor and about five apartments upstairs. . . .

The pavilion and lawn space, which could seat 400 to 500. The city government will pay $42,500 annually to lease the space until the commercial loan is paid down to $600,000. At that time, the pavilion and open space would be conveyed to the city at no cost.

A nine-bay farmers’ market that vendors can pull their trucks into and sell from. When the site is not in use as a market, up to 150 people could be seated there for performances.

A seven-story, 14,000-square-foot building bordering Indian Alley in the renovated former fly tower. The partnership would lease the first floor for retail or possibly restaurant use.

Read the full story here (login required).