City Properties have Firm Renovation Commitments

The 56-year-old YMCA building located on Church and 5th Street.

by Valerie Garner

The 56-year-old YMCA located at Church and 5th Street came back on the Market after Anthony Smith failed to close the deal on renovations by the January 31, 2011 deadline.

B-MAT Homes, Inc., a Richmond Va. based builder will now pay the city $225,000 up front with an attached $425,000 performance security guarantee. Scott will have 160 days to perform due diligence on the 52,000 square foot building. The assessed value of the property is $971,500.

According to the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) B-MAT Homes, Inc. operates as 425 Church Avenue LLC and Church and Campbell LLC. Ricky Scott is president of B-MAT Homes, Inc.

They will have two years to complete the project following closing on the property and city’s approval of B-MAT’s plans. The plan calls for 8500 square feet of commercial space and 38 apartment units. They will also apply for EarthCraft Virginia Multifamily Certification.

Scott and Ascension Horchler have returned to purchase the Buena Vista mansion in Southeast’s Jackson Park for $30,000. Unable to sell their home in Midlothian the Horchlers and the city abandoned the contract in July. The earlier contract had the Horchlers paying $75,000 for the 3-acre historic property. That contact was subject to the sale of their Richmond home, This new contract has no such provision.

Alison Blanton, Roanoke Valley Preservations Foundation told council Monday evening that the Buena Vista mansion was a very important historic landmark. The mansion dates back to the mid-1800s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and Virginia Landmarks Register.

We regret the city was unable to maintain it she said. Blanton was glad that it would be restored keeping in mind its original design. She requested that a preservation easement be placed on the property for the first 10 years and asked that the proceeds from the sale be invested in maintenance for the city’s other neglected historic landmarks.

Assistant city manager Brian Townsend named five restrictive covenants that were part of the sale to protect its historic designation. Saying only the owner of the property can request a preservation easement.

The mansion once renovated will serve as a single-family residence for the Horchler family. Previously they had planned to offer the ballroom for events but have abandoned that use. The property can never be demolished or subdivided in whole or in part without the city’s approval.

The renovation is estimated to cost $330,000. Roanoke City Council voted unanimously to approve the sale of the properties.

The Roanoke Ice building in Wasena was rezoned for mixed-use development. Ed Walker will renovate it into apartments on the upper floors with commercial on the first floor.

In other business: After extensive discussion at the 2:00 p.m. meeting and after the addition of an amendment by Councilman Ray Ferris council voted on a resolution asking the state to retain the ban on uranium mining. Ferris’ amendment added language watering down the resolution. It provided an “if the Virginia Uranium study” found it to be unsafe and also asked that it not be considered in the 2012 session. Former Council member Rupert Cutler gave extensive dialogue lobbying for the firmer resolution.

In the end Councilman Sherman Lea cast the only dissenting vote on the softened resolution.

Cutler in an email said, “I did my best to show that there is no such thing as safe uranium mining in Virginia.” Advocates for keeping the ban “will keep after it and try to get Council to clarify and strengthen its resolution next month,” he said.

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