Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fine arts space in works for River District, DCC president says

Danville Community College is working to bring a dedicated fine arts and music building to downtown, DCC President Bruce Scism said at the college board meeting Monday.
“I think it could be tremendous asset to this community and this college,” Scism said.
Scism is leading the project with Averett University President Tiffany Franks. Selecting a location in the River District, the space would include a black box theater, a gallery, additional class space and a coffee shop.
Scism said the facility would include opportunities and space for artists-in-residence. Working with a developer, Scism said grant funding would help pay for some of the space, and the building would be constructed with sustainability in mind.
Scism said local interest in the arts and music at DCC was always high, but the school simply did not have the facilities to house a local program.
DCC board member and Danville Regional Foundation board member Chris Eastwood voiced his support for the space, saying it could unite a fragmented local arts scene.
“I think that’s something that’s deeply needed in our region,” Eastwood said.
Scism said the project was on a fairly short timetable.
“Our goal is to be able to offer something in the fall of 2017,” Scism said.
Board members also received an update of the renovations to the engineering and industrial technology and welding buildings from business manager Lisa Johnson.
“The funding for the welding and the EIT projects has been allocated,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the contractor is set to begin work on the projects and was bringing equipment on campus Monday. She said renovations should be complete in 10 months for the welding building and a year for the EIT building.
Board members also approved new programs and degrees including Associate of Fine Arts, venture creation and management, culinary arts, beer brewing, guitar building and unmanned aerial systems.
Scism said the brewing program is modeled after programs in North Carolina where dozens of small and large microbreweries have located, especially in Asheville. Scism said the program would be one of just two in Virginia.
Board members also finalized a timeline for the evaluation process for Scism, who has been president since 2013. Scism will send his evaluation goals to the committee in March, and the evaluation will be completed and mailed to the Virginia Community College System president by the end of the month.
Source: GoDanRiver.com

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting of KG Graphics!

Tour of the renovations being done on the 500 block of Craghead Street with owner Rick Barker

Tour of the renovations being done on the 500 block of Craghead Street with owner Rick Barker

(Courtesy of Rivers City TV)

Rick Barker Properties, LLC released plans today for renovations to the 500 Block of Craghead St.

Rick Barker Properties, LLC released plans today for renovations to the 500 Block of Craghead St. Included in the phased restoration will be commercial storefronts and residential apartments. Tune into our Facebook page later this morning as we tour the facilities live with the owner of the properties Rick Barker.

500 block of Craghead St.

Charles E. Hughes Building c1909

William C. Venable Building c1904

(Courtesy of Rivers City TV)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Plans announced for 500 block of Craghead Street

The 500 block of Craghead Street is in the middle of a massive renovation, encompassing eight of the nine buildings on the block — all purchased by Rick Barker Properties over the past two years.
Barker first completed the first floor of 554 Craghead St., the former Piedmont Hardware Building, where he headquartered his company, Supply Resources, last year.
Today, Barker officially announced each building will go through design, demolition and construction phases, with two of them already through design and demolition and now under construction.

Those buildings are:
» the Hughes Building at 528-532 Craghead St., built around 1909; and
» the Venable Building at 534-536 Craghead St., built around 1904.
The former tobacco factory at 518 Craghead St., built around 1876, is going into the design phase, Barker said, while fa├žade improvements are being made to two other buildings:
» the Elbridge’s Drug Store Building at 548 Craghead St., built around 1910; and
» the Swift & Company Building, at 550 Craghead St., built around 1910.
“Plans call for each building to be restored to the same design and construction standard established in 2015 at 554 Craghead St.,” Barker said.
Barker said the support he received for the renovation of the Piedmont Hardware Building encouraged him to take on further projects.
“The overwhelming support and encouragement that we received from the public for our work at 554 Craghead has encouraged us to dream larger and to imagine what further impact we might have by managing additional projects within Danville’s River District,” Barker said. “This is a unique opportunity to reclaim a commercial block under common ownership with a comprehensive plan for its restoration in just a few short years.”
Mark Smith of Architectural Partners — the architect on the project — said in an emailed statement that redevelopment of an entire block is rare with a single developer, and said his company is excited to be part of the project.
“The opportunity to work in collaboration with Rick Barker Properties and the city of Danville has been gratifying for our firm,” Smith said. “The desire to bring an under-utilized section of Craghead Street back to a cohesive block of businesses and residential living is another piece to Danville’s revitalization.”
Smith said the combination of public and private investment has created a “Gold Rush” affect to the River District.
“[In] my opinion, the critical mass of enthusiasm from developers, businesses, community and government are being solidified into a tangible result of buildings and public activity,” Smith said. “We saw this similar effect in Lynchburg, my hometown, approximately 10 years ago and we have been enjoying these results as a community.”
The Hughes and Venable buildings together will offer four storefronts at street level and nine apartments on the upper floors, which will be completed in early 2017. The other buildings are also planned for mixed use, with details to follow after the design stage.
There is also construction underway on the second floor of 554 Craghead St.
Barker said he expects that project to be announced shortly, but the agenda for the River District Design Commission meeting on Thursday includes an application for approval of signs for BB&T/Scott & Stringfellow — a financial services company founded in 1893 that became affiliated with BB&T in 1999 — on each side of the building at 554 Craghead St.
The application notes that the company plans to move into the building in December.
Barker said he has multiple tenant announcement planned for the remainder of this year, but is not yet prepared to release details or names of those tenant.
Parking is not expected to be an issue on this block. Barker said the Industrial Development Authority plans to create a 90-space, public parking lot between Craghead and Lynn streets, backing up to this block.
“Ultimately, we will have a vibrant block that is pedestrian friendly, with ample parking, within walking distance to the River District’s major assets,” Barker said. “We are excited to return these buildings to their former early 20th-century flory, while creating homes for new, dynamic 21st-century businesses.”
Denice Thibodeau is a reporter for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact her at dthibodeau@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7985.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What is a microbrewery?

Craft breweries, microbreweries, brew pubs — what’s the difference?
According to Bart Watson, chief economist at the Brewers Association, there are four categories craft beer brewers: microbreweries, brew pubs, contract brewing companies and regional craft breweries.
» Microbreweries typically brew fewer than 15,000 barrels of beer per year, much of it sold off-site, through wholesalers or direct to retailers, with some of the product sold on-site at their tap rooms.
» Brew pubs are a combination restaurant-brewery, with beer brewed primarily for sale in the restaurant and bar.
» Contract breweries hire another brewery to make its beer, or hires additional breweries to add to the beer it brews.
» Regional craft breweries are independent breweries that can make traditional or innovative beers.
Watson did, however, point out that different states have different regulations and definitions can vary.
“Usually, a microbrewery can only sell the beer it produces,” Watson said. “They are very locally focused … it’s been a dynamic industry with a lot of changes.”

The announcement that a new microbrewery, Ballad Brewing, will be opening on Craghead Street in April brings a second microbrewery to Danville — the first to open here was 2 Witches Winery & Brewing Co. on Trade Street, where they not only brew their own beers but bottle their own wines.
Co-owner Ethan Brown said he considers 2 Witches even smaller than “micro” — it’s more of a nanobrewery, he said.
Brown said 2 Witches has a 3.5-barrel system that lets them produce about 45 different beer styles over the course of a year. Typically, he said, they have eight taps operating with beers rotating through at different times of the year.
“We were Virginia’s first example of a winery and brewery under the same roof,” Brown said, noting that the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control didn’t allow the combination prior to their existence — though other wineries are now looking at adding breweries. “We were persistent.”
For now, Brown said, they are not looking at expanding the system.
“We think staying small is good for us,” Brown said. “You can always expand — the challenge is growing the business.”
Denice Thibodeau is a reporter for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact her at dthibodeau@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7985.

With craft brewery, pair continues River District transformation

The two men who have partnered in two successful development projects in the River District — the Pemberton Lofts on Bridge Street and the Continental Lofts on Craghead Street — have teamed up again to bring a craft brewery to the district.

Ross Fickenscher and Garrett Shifflett are developing 600 Craghead St., which will have two commercial spaces at street level — including Ballad Brewing — and 56 apartments on the upper levels.
On Tuesday, Todd Haymore, the state’s secretary of commerce and trade, and Rita McClenny, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, were in Danville for the official announcement and to present a check for $90,805 from the Virginia Tourism Growth Fund to Fickenscher and Shifflett for the project.
Haymore said the popularity of craft breweries has become “instant revenue generators” in Virginia, bringing in tourism dollars, jobs and tax revenues that have added up to $1 billion in economic impact and employing nearly 9,000 people in the state. He said there are roughly 160 craft brewers in the state, with new ones opening “fairly rapidly.”
“The craft beer business in particular is booming in Virginia,” Haymore said, noting that Danville’s historic warehouses lend themselves to this type of development.
McClenny said travelers often look for unique experiences, and small, local, craft breweries can provide that.
“Visitors want to try something that can only take place at that time and place,” McClenny said.
Fickenscher said entrance to the tap room and brewery itself will be made from Colquhoun Street side of the building, while the entrance at 600 Craghead St. will take tenants into the apartments.
The project is expected to be completed in April.
The brewery will have a total of 23 barrels for production — 20 of which will be for larger production runs, while three will be used for smaller batch pilot — or experimental — brews. The various beers will be available to customers in the tap room by the glass or to take home.
“Ballad Brewing will initially produce three or four different flagship styles of beer and will also offer a wider variety of offerings in the tasting room,” Fickenscher said in a news release from Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office — and which he confirmed at the announcement. “For the first six months, these products will be served exclusively in the brewery’s tasting room.”
As the brewing process moves along, bottled and keg beer will be available for broader distribution, Fickenscher said.
“We’re excited to start brewing,” Fickenscher said.
John Andorfer will be the head brewer. He and his wife, Kathie, moved to Danville about a year ago, so they could be closer to her mother.
They lived in Connecticut for 12 years, where John became fascinated with beer brewing and ultimately became the head brewer at Cottrell Brewing Co. in Pawcatuck.
That, however, was an established brewery, John said, while looking at the dirt floors where assorted pipes had been laid for the Ballad Brewing.
“They’re getting ready to pour the concrete floor now,” John said. “This is a new experience, getting to see it from the ground up.”
The 20-barrel brew system will produce about a dozen different beers, some of which will rotate seasonally, John said. The three-barrel system will be for testing new flavors.
Danville Mayor John Gilstrap thanked Fickenscher and Shifflett for their part in the River District’s transformation. He said this third project will bring the partners’ total investment in the River District to about $28 million.
“You have played a major role in redeveloping the heart of our city,” Gilstrap said.

Read full article here!
Denice Thibodeau is a reporter for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact her at dthibodeau@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7985.