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New Brick project takes another step

The New Brick Warehouse project has taken another step forward, with South Boston Town Council approving a performance agreement between it and the new owners of the property during its Monday meeting.

New Brick Historic Lofts (LLC) purchased the property this week, Town Manager Ted Daniel told council.

“What we have required as part of our deliberations was that they would enter into an agreement to meet everything that was expected of them,” said Daniel. “That’s what council required, that they would meet certain performance criteria.”

Part of the town’s incentive package includes a five-year loan in the amount of $8,000; a 20-year loan in the amount of $185,000; and a deed of trust.

Under terms of the agreement, the town provides the entire principal amount of the five-year loan to New Brick Historic Lofts within five business days of its purchase of the property.

The town would provide the entire principal amount of the 20-year loan to New Brick Historic Lofts after the 20-year loan note and 20-year loan deed of trust are executed.

In return, New Brick Historic Lofts is “responsible for repayment of all or a portion of any funds or assets granted by the town if performance criteria are not met and satisfied.”

New Brick Historic Lofts agrees to complete construction of the project by Dec. 31, 2013, and it agrees to make capital investments in the project having a value of at least $2.5 million on or before Dec. 31, 2013.

Council conveyed two lots in the Poplar Creek Subdivision to Southside Outreach Group for the ecoMod housing project, and it appointed a board of viewers in relation to closing the remainder of Prospect Avenue and the entire length of Grove Street between Penick and Jefferson Avenues after a pair of public hearings on Monday.

Site preparation and utilities construction are ongoing at the Poplar Creek Subdivision site where five energy-efficient homes are planned, the first two of them using ecoMod technology.

The project has been in the works since 2010, when the town accepted donation of the property from Jenny Wilkins.

The town has been working with the Southern Virginia Higher Center, University of Virginia, Cardinal Homes of Wylliesburg, SIPS of Virginia in Blairs and Southside Outreach Group to design and build energy-efficient and affordable housing in the subdivision.

Council has been studying a request to close the remainder of Prospect Avenue and Grove Street between Penick and Jefferson Avenues to provide better access to the Washington-Coleman Community Center project.

Beverly Caldwell of 1505 Penick Ave. spoke at the public hearing on the street closing, and told council she is interested in acquiring a 30-foot right-of-way adjacent to her lot for the length of her lot to give her improved access to her property.

Council appointed a board of viewers to study the entire closure request and meet with Caldwell to evaluate her request.


Rehab assistance sought  

Bob Margolis, CEO of TM Associates Management, Inc., appeared before council to ask its help in applying for tax credits for a $1.5 million rehabilitation of Country Green Apartments.

Margolis explained three letters he needs to have signed in order to apply for the tax credits have been signed, but a fourth piece of paperwork needed to compete for the credits, a revitalization certificate, has yet to be signed by the town.

Margolis estimated each apartment would receive upgrades in the amount of $35,000 if his request were to be approved.

USDA puts out a priority rehabilitation list each year, and Country Green Apartments is on that list for this year, according to Margolis.

The average yearly income for residents of Country Green Apartments is $10,000, and the apartments are almost fully subsidized, Margolis said.

Audrey Brogden of TM Associates said if the rehabilitation project were approved, current residents would go “green” as a result, with electric costs reduced approximately 50 percent.

“For Halifax County and South Boston, we would be purchasing materials locally, with contractors subcontracting out locally,” said Brogden.


Other Council Items

Also on Monday, council heard an update on pre-contract activities for a Washington-Coleman Housing Grant application to Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

Approximately 12 people attended the second of two community public hearings held earlier Monday in council chambers, where Southside Planning District Commission Senior Planner Sara Fulks updated area residents on the project.

Fulks gave a general Community Development Block Grant overview and reviewed South Boston’s past use of grant funds before answering questions from the audience.

The town will apply March 27 for up to $1 million in a grant proposal to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development for the Washington-Coleman Housing Rehabilitation Project.

The purpose of the grant is to improve housing conditions for homes occupied by low- and moderate-income persons.

The proposed project area includes 27 structures located on portions of Jeffress Boulevard, College Street and Jefferson Avenue.

In other business, council adopted a Virginia Resource Authority bond financing resolution.

The town plans to use proceeds of approximately $2.2 million being requested from the Virginia Resource Authority to refund costs already incurred from the general fund to finance capital improvements and renovations to the former Washington-Coleman School building.

Finally, council recommended Halifax County Circuit Court appoint William McCaleb to a term on the South Boston Board of Zoning Appeals.