Feasibility study to be completed on property through a partnership with the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and a Virginia Main Street grant.
The Gloucester Revolving Loan Fund announced this week it has purchased the iconic century-old bank building at 6548 Main Street and in partnership with the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust will launch a feasibility study on its revitalization. The study is being supported by a grant from Virginia Main Street.
“We are honored to participate in this important endeavor on Main Street,” said Jim Robinson, Founder and Executive Director of the Gloucester Revolving Loan Fund. “The purchase of the property is only the first step in this exciting process. We now get to study what would make this building come to life again thanks to the Trust and Virginia Main Street.”
The bank building, most recently in operation as a SunTrust bank and purchased by the Fund for $600,000, dates back more than 100 years, Robinson said. Including the basement and upstairs spaces, it measures in at 10,500 square feet.
The main part of the building, which has always been in operation as a bank, was built in 1913. SunTrust owned and operated the building for quite some time, Robinson said. Although they sold the building to a real estate investment trust in 2010, they still occupied it until 2017.
“With the move to online banking, we are starting to see old bank buildings being vacated across the country in downtowns,” said Jenny Crittenden, Executive Director of the Trust. “It used to be that a bank was always needed in a downtown. That’s not the case anymore. But what is the case is the opportunity for us as a community to take this iconic building and make it a catalyst for the downtown, really helping shape what it could be for the next 100 years of its life.”
This purchase marks the first time in over a century, Crittenden pointed out, that the building could be used for something new.
The Trust secured a $25,000 grant from Virginia Main Street, a preservation-based economic and community development program, and has budgeted an additional $10,000 to complete a feasibility study on the property.
“The property is catalytic and it deserves the time and energy to look at the potential for the building and what would make it successful in the downtown,” Crittenden said.
Crittenden said that while feasibility studies can all be a little different, the purpose of this study is to determine the highest and best use for the building.
The Trust, in partnership with the Fund, anticipates developing and sending out RFPs this fall to consultants who routinely handle feasibility studies of this magnitude, as well as to those who have a strong background in downtown development and are connected with resources and knowledge of other grants and tax incentives that can be accessed for the project.
The study itself, Crittenden said, will result in the identification of the most impactful uses, along with architectural conceptions, cost assessments, and business proformas.
“Engaging the community on this project is an important element of this study,” Crittenden said, expecting to have more information on how the community can get involved in coming weeks.
Ideas already floating around for the property include a mixed-use development of residential and commercial, office space and retail, a distillery and restaurant, apartments, and a hospitality use such as an inn or small boutique hotel.
“Who knows, the study could also reveal the opportunity for a theater or a museum,” Crittenden said. “We have a national and a state park coming to Gloucester County. What do we need on Main Street to capitalize on increased tourism from those two initiatives? The sky is the limit.”
Following the study, Robinson said, the loan fund’s goal is to connect with developers and investors who really want to become involved on Gloucester Main Street and make turning the bank building into something new a reality.
ABOUT THE GLOUCESTER REVOLVING LOAN FUND
The Gloucester Revolving Loan Fund was established to provide partial funding for businesses and non-profit organizations undertaking activities broadly defined as economic development within the Gloucester Village area of Gloucester, Virginia, as defined by the Articles of Incorporation of the Corporation. Program loans are available to eligible applicants for the following activities: fixed asset loans for acquisition, expansion, improvement and/or rehabilitation of an existing business, land, building, inventory and equipment, to include, without limitation, sites of historical significance to Gloucester Village. Learn more at www.gloucesterloanfund.org.
ABOUT THE GLOUCESTER MAIN STREET PRESERVATION TRUST
The Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust (MSPT) administers Main Street Center and other Trust assets for the benefit of the community of Gloucester, Virginia. Funds generated by the Trust’s assets are intended to be used to attract new and additional business to Main Street in Gloucester by enhancing the economic and business environment, preserving historical landmarks in the Gloucester Court House Village area, and promoting civic and cultural activities. The Main Street Preservation Trust works with the Cook Foundation and is a supporter of the Gloucester Main Street Association. Learn more at www.gloucestervillage.com.
ABOUT VIRGINIA MAIN STREET
The Virginia Main Street Program is a preservation-based economic and community development program that follows the Main Street Approach by the National Main Street Center. Virginia Main Street offers a range of services and assistance to communities interested in revitalizing their historic commercial districts. While the program was designed to address the need for revitalization and on-going management of smaller to mid-sized downtowns, aspects of the Main Street Approach may be applied successfully in other commercial settings.