High-end condos, commercial space were proposed for former Lou’s Antique Mall location
The lone proposal the city received for a development at the former Lou’s Antique Mall location included a mixed-use project with high-end condos that would have been offered for $425,000 each.
The $13 million Riverview Flats project pitched to the city included 30-35 condos for sale, covered parking with elevator access to each floor, a 24-hour fitness center and a rooftop riverview deck.
It also called for 3,000 square feet of retail space, building circulation and parking, with car access along Patton Street.
“The north face of the property will provide direct resident, pedestrian and outdoor dining access to Main Street Plaza and JTI Fountain,” the proposal states. “The floors above will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom condominiums of varying sizes and layouts.”
City officials sent out a request for proposals on July 13 seeking bids from firms, but received just one proposal. And that was after extending the deadline for accepting them from Sept. 1 to Sept. 15.
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A review panel had hoped to select a company on Oct. 12, but that did not come to pass.
The proposal came from Riverview Flats, LLC, a joint venture among Reimagine Ventures, LLC, CWC Holdings, LLC, and FF & Sons.
“After review of the redevelopment proposal presented by Reimagine Ventures, LLC, the city and the [Danville Industrial Development Authority] decided not to move forward with the submitted project,” said Kelvin Perry, assistant director of economic development and tourism for Danville.
The IDA received input from citizens in 2021 on what they would like to see done with the property.
“Given its highly visible location at the main entry point of our downtown, it was determined that the project as presented was too dense for the lot size and did not take into account some of the suggestions made by the public,” Perry said.
A survey was conducted in 2021 seeking input on what residents would like to see at the property.
Green space, a public park, a book store, an English tea shop and an African American history museum were among a plethora of ideas for the building, according to the results.
A large number of survey respondents said they would like the building to be torn down and converted into a public space or replaced with a building combining public space and other uses.
The survey, which was posted on social media and the city’s website and emailed, yielded responses from 525 people.
Other ideas included a microbrewery, a winery, an arcade bar such as Dave & Busters, a grocery store, skating rink or skate park, a workspace for artists, a mini-mall, a recreation center for youth, a movie theater, an African American history museum (including one for Danville native and NASCAR legend Wendell Scott), an open-air market, miniature golf and an English tea spot. One respondent proposed “an eclectic occult store.”
The site at 231 Main St. is a temporary green space. Officials expect a development there — and completion of the Dan River Falls and riverfront park projects late next year — to offer an altered experience in the heart of the city.
The former Lou’s building was demolished in June.
Officials expect the site to end up with a mix of residential and commercial use.
The Riverview Flats proposal included an average selling price of $425,000 for the condos, and also entailed five or six smaller one-bedroom “affordable” units from $250,000 to $275,000.
“While this represents a significant premium above the current market on a per-square-foot basis, we are confident that the level of finishes offered, amenity package, unique views and proximity/walkability to downtown offerings will create demand for a new style of living in Danville,” the proposal states.
The proposal offered to buy the former Lou’s property for $450,000.
The parties with Riverview Flats have also been behind other completed or upcoming projects in Danville, including River District Tower, the C.B. Fitzgerald/Coin-Ops Building, Stewart Street Apartments and the Monument-Berryman Housing Project.
City Manager Ken Larking said there will not be another request for proposals for the property, but the city will continue to try to attract interest in the site.
“We’ll just market it to developers to see if we can get the right kind of concept and go from there,” Larking said, adding that the city is open to either leasing or selling the property.
The property is owned by the IDA, the city’s land-buying arm.
“I would like for it to be developed as soon as possible,” Larking said.
However, officials do not want to rush into developing the site with just any proposal that comes along.
“It’s more important to get the right project than to get it done right away,” he said.
The IDA will keep considering ideas from developers, Perry said.
“The IDA will continue to evaluate proposals from developers who express an interest in redeveloping the property,” Perry said. “Interested parties should contact the Danville Office of Economic Development & Tourism.”