Culpeper’s newest development was officially opened Thursday.
Culpeper Lofts and the Spring Street Trailhead hosted a ribbon cutting Thursday along Spring Street, celebrating the newest addition to the Culpeper Greenways and the renovation of two of Culpeper’s historic structures.
The Culpeper Lofts encompass the old Culpeper Water Works and Power Plant - turning the once industrial powerhouses into professional living spaces.
Mayor Mike Olinger lauded the work of town staff to connect Spring Street to the existing Culpeper Greenways trail that includes Yowell Meadow Park and Lake Pelham.
“With this trailhead coming onboard, the Town of Culpeper offers 125 acres of dedicated park and trail presence for our citizens to connect with nature and the great outdoors,” Olinger said.
Olinger pointed out the dormant field nearby town staff is working to restore and when finished the area will feature a boardwalk with educational signage, observation platforms and an ADA accessible community garden. It’s all part of a master plan with the parks and rec commission to develop and expand the town’s greenways networks.
Olinger said the restoration of the two historic buildings, spearheaded by Echelon Resources was the culmination of years of work by town staff to find a new purpose for the buildings that sat vacant for more than 20 years.
“I am grateful to council leadership that our departments of planning and environmental services and public works were able to coordinate efforts to bring these projects to fruition,” Olinger said. “Removal would be very costly to ratepayers, and with the impending loss of these historic structures and the significant liability related to their removal, staff moved to find a home for what had become two white elephants to the town.”
He called the partnership with Echelon Resources a “win-win” pointing out that they came onboard in November 2017 to restore and save these historic facilities while saving from significant cost of removal.
Edwin Gaskin, developer/owner of Echelon Resources, said it was a team effort to restore the two buildings, citing help from many staff members from the town and county. Echelon Resources manages 13 other historic buildings in Virginia that have been converted to living spaces.
“This is terrific,” Gaskin said. “We’re celebrating the connectivity of the trail head to Spring Street and the renovation of these buildings. One wouldn’t have happened without the other. We redid this building with the idea that we’re on the edge of a great neighborhood, but wouldn’t it be great if we got connected to a wonderful, overall community? This was a great idea by the town, it’s been executed wonderfully and we’re so grateful for it.”
The Water Works building was finished in 1946 and the Power Plant was dedicated in 1934.
“They were the backbone of the utility system here,” Gaskin said. “It took a lot of creative planning by people a lot smarter than myself to see these things envisioned as professional grade housing.”
The buildings have now been recreated into 22 studio apartments, averaging around 725 square feet. The lowest rent for the buildings is $925 with the highest amount at around $1,200.
Gaskin said that the project benefited from federal and Virginia historic rehabilitation tax credits.
“These buildings don’t develop themselves, it takes a team,” Gaskin said. “Those programs are instrumental to taking these kind of community treasures and redeveloping them.”
Gaskin said that the apartments have all been pre-leased for a month and residents will begin moving in on Monday.
“There is such a demand here for professional grade housing, the market just found us and fell in love with the product,” Gaskin said.
He said there is a waiting list and if someone would like to be added, contact email@example.com.