Progress continues on the renovations at the former William Byrd High School. Demolition and construction began in July 2017 and has continued apace. Many of the apartments are framed up with a total of approximately 90 “market rate” apartments anticipated.
Of the 90 or so apartments, five are being constructed in the old library on the second floor, there is one in the former kitchen, four in the cafeteria area, and three in the third-floor science lab. The choir and band room underneath the auditorium will become apartments as well. The gym will be converted into two levels of apartments. Apartment framing is mostly complete in the annex building below the main structure.
The auditorium will remain as is, although seats are currently being removed so that work on the ceiling can be done. New roofing, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC installations are under way. Each apartment will have its own HVAC unit.
Developer Dave McCormack, president of Waukeshaw Development, who has undertaken the estimated $12 million project, says that leasing will start on the units in late summer, “at the earliest.” He initially estimated that once the project was begun it would take approximately 14-18 months to complete.
Waukeshaw is based in Petersburg, Va., and focuses on adaptive reuse and historic tax credit projects.
The complex has not been officially named yet. McCormack says they are finalizing the price range for units and will be hiring a leasing agent later on.
Assistant Town Manager Pete Peters said, “Town Council is very pleased with Mr. McCormack’s progress on the WBHS apartments and thrilled with the quality of work to restore the structure and convert the classrooms to apartments. We are very fortunate to have two buildings as important to the community as Roland E. Cook and the former William Byrd to have been selected by developers for conversion. We think the recent private investment says a lot about our community and the opportunity the private sector is seeing within Vinton for growth.”
The Roanoke County Board of Supervisors conveyed the property to Waukeshaw Development Inc. in May 2017 through an agreement that also involved cooperation from the Roanoke County Economic Development Authority.
The William Byrd building was constructed in 1930 and was used as an educational and vocational training facility until 2010. According to Jason Peters, who represents Vinton on the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, the building stood vacant and served as a storage building for surplus school equipment for several years until the property was acquired by Waukeshaw.
The main building occupies 62,760 square feet. The adjoining annex building adds another 6,980 square feet. The board acquired the property through a conveyance from the Roanoke County School Board in August 2013.
The project was approved for historic tax credits and placed on the Virginia Landmarks Registry and the National Register of Historic Places.
The Roanoke County agreement with Waukeshaw allowed for the sale of the property for $10 and an economic development grant in an amount equal to 10 years of new local tax revenue to be reimbursed to Waukeshaw— not exceeding $1 million over 10 years. The Town of Vinton also provided a financial incentive capped at $30,000 over 10 years.
When acquiring the property, McCormack said that “Waukeshaw seeks out interesting, game-changing projects in challenging locales, often working closely with municipalities to further their economic development efforts.”
Look for more renovation photos on The Vinton Messenger Facebook page.