• Partners Plan 80 Apartments in Former Lynchburg Mill

    Turning the one of the oldest commercial buildings in Lynchburg into apartments is the goal of two developers, according to the Lynchburg News & Advance.

    This could be great for downtown homeowners by encouraging more people to live downtown, and making the area more marketable to residents.

    “Larry Cluff thinks that the people who once worked at Piedmont Mills had great views from the tall windows that let light into the otherwise-dark building.

    Within two years, he wants loft apartment residents enjoying those same views.

    ‘It’s got beautiful potential,’ he said, pointing out a view of the Craddock-Terry Hotel from the second story of Piedmont Mills. Other windows in the building, which was built in the late 19th-century and is one of the city’s oldest commercial buildings, reveal views of surrounding historic buildings and the James River.

    Cluff and his business partner Chris Chadwick are piecing together their plans to renovate the building, simultaneously saving it from demolition.

    They plan to create more than 80 apartments in the brick structure on Jefferson Street and the tall white silos behind it.

    They are currently taking bids from roofing contractors, Chadwick said. In coming months they want to begin putting up a new roof and stabilizing the building, which has been in such a state of disrepair that it’s on the fire department’s ‘no entry’ list.

    The pair has secured long-term financing for the project, and now is looking for a construction loan.

    They expect construction to start in the spring and finish within a year and half.”

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  • Hampton Boasts Low Taxes, Has High Admin Costs

    Hampton residents enjoy one of the lowest tax burdens in the area, according to the Daily Press, but spends more on administration that area localities.

    The numbers were released as the city prepares for one of the worst budget years in recent history. After already making some cuts within the budget, the city will need to make more because it will be receiving less state funds.

    “Hampton puts on its residents one of the lowest tax burdens of Hampton Roads’ cities, but spends more on administration than those neighboring authorities, according to a new report.

    The statistics were presented at last Wednesday’s Hampton City Council work session by Assistant City Manager John Eagle. The Comparative Cost Report was drawn up as Hampton anticipates one of the toughest budgets in recent years.

    ‘It’s well understood that this year’s budget will be very, very difficult for the council, city staff and ultimately for the community,’ interim City Manager Jim Oliver told council members.

    ‘Everybody is going to have to look a little harder this year.’

    Hampton’s report compares the city with five other Hampton Roads cities — Norfolk, Newport News, Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach. The report is based on 2008 statistics and comes from information held by Virginia’s Auditor of Public Accounts.

    Eagle said Hampton’s tax burden on local residents — equating to $2,022.36 per person — is one of the lowest in the area. Newport News’ tax burden is $2,164.95 per resident.

    But the report pointed to a rise in the cost of Hampton’s administration in 2008, when City Hall spent $22.2 million, or the equivalent of $154.22 per resident, compared to $20.7 million in Newport News, or $114.6 per person.

    Eagle said the government administration figure was ‘a little troubling,’ and even ‘counterintuitive’ because Hampton had made great strides to become more efficient.”

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