Buena Vista Motel Becoming Apartments

The former Buena Vista Motel, long a familiar sight at the eastern entrance to the city on U.S. 60, is being converted into apartments that would likely be utilized by Southern Virginia University students.

Wendy Kimber of DWK Holdings Inc., who recently purchased the property, appeared before the Planning Commission last Tuesday, Dec. 10, to talk about plans to turn the motel into 14 single-bedroom efficiency apartments.

While alterations to the exterior of the building will be modest, renovations to the interior of the building will be extensive. Interior walls and fixtures are to be removed, she said. The existing covered front porch area will be enclosed and incorporated into the apartments, extending the front wall of each unit by about six feet.

DWK applied for a certificate of appropriateness so changes can be made to the outside of the building. The COA is needed because the property is within the city’s

Seminary Hill Historic District.

As a condition of the COA, the property owner has agreed to extend the sidewalk, curb and gutter approximately 50 feet to the entrance of adjacent Northwest Hardwoods, in order to provide a safe and stable surface connection with the city’s sidewalk system.

The project represents “a pretty extensive real estate investment,” noted Tom Roberts, the city’s director of planning and community development. The development will provide quality, much-needed housing for the city, he added.

Chairman Dennis Hawes asked that landscaping be incorporated into the plans to “soften the edges” of the development. A motion to approve the COA passed unanimously.

A site plan review isn’t needed because the building is not being expanded and the site layout is to remain essentially the same.

The apartments may represent just an initial phase of development plans for the property, Kimber suggested. She alluded to the possibility of later developing a restaurant in what was once known as the White Deer Restaurant.

The News-Gazette

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