Historic Weldon, was founded on a rich history centered around the rapid currents of the Roanoke River, the safety of the Roanoke Canal, the beginnings of several early railroad systems and Rockfishing. Our National Registered Historic District contains a variety of southern architectural styles and a handsome commercial district. These facets of our community are being developed as a treasure of the past as we plan for the future. Enjoy this virtual journey around Weldon, but be sure to pay us a visit to enjoy the thrill of what we have to offer.
Post 3 of the Lemonade Project
10 New Storefronts
To further my vision of the Lemonade Project, over the course of the next year or two, I plan to add 10 new storefronts on Washington Ave, Downtown Weldon’s Main Street. These will be in buildings that I already own, that has space that need some work done to them to make them rentable.
Everything I currently own is rented and I get calls all the time from people looking to open a business in Downtown Weldon. The problem is, there is nowhere for them to rent. The buildings that are empty need some work done to them to make them rentable. I will be doing my part.
The first project will be to take the old Super 10 building in the middle of the business district at 221 Washington Avenue, and create a mini mall. I will divide the current one room of 6000 sq ft into at least 6 shops with a hallway down the middle. Each shop will range in size of 600 to 1000 sq ft each. I plan to have these shops ready for rent by the Spring of 2016.
I expect the second project will at 229 & 231 Washington Avenue. This building is on the corner of Washington Avenue and 3rd Street. It’s a grand old 2 story building in Downtown Weldon with a lot of street traffic visible. Currently there are 2 storefronts of about 2000 sq ft each. The required rent on that much space would be out of range for most new business wanting to give it a go in Downtown Weldon. I plan to divide the spaces in half, creating two storefronts of about 1000 sq ft each and 2 ground floor residential apartments. Then there is the upstairs that can be developed into at least 5 apartments, but that will come much later.
The next project will be to complete the storefronts at 200 Washington Avenue on the corner of 2nd Street that has been the Hot Dog Stand. Currently the Hot Dog stands occupies one section of the building. This building is an old gas station and a few years back a closed in the garage bays with plans to create two additional small storefronts. These spaces will be in the 400 sq ft range.
These 10 new storefronts will be added to the 4 other storefronts that I currently own. As you can see I have more undeveloped space than I do ready to rent space. Lemons that need some squeezing. The Lemonade is on the way!
Post 2 of the Lemonade Project
The first effort of the Sweet Lemonade Project will be a building I bought in 2001 that use to be the Super 10, (or for some, the old Roses Building) in Downtown Weldon. Super 10 was a long term tenant of the building. But as times changed and in the name of progress, the Town of Weldon welcomed in the Family Dollar Store. Super 10 was already experiencing declining sales and the addition of a competitor that offered a new store with better parking become the reason for Super 10 to close in Downtown Weldon in January 2009. It happened at a time that was the worst of times for me personally. I had just closed a business that I had lost a lot of money in and the Great Recession had just begun. In the immediate short term, I decided the best thing to do was to put a For Rent sign in the window and do my best to make the payments.
Except for a period of about 15 months when I had the building rented to a furniture store, the building has been empty and a drag on my cash flow. It’s been a struggle at times just to make the payments and pay the taxes and insurance. For the past 2 years that has been a big For Sale sign in the front window. I thought I had it sold at one point. We had negotiated a deal and had the contract ready to sign and I haven’t heard from the man since.
The old Super 10 building at 221 Washington Ave in Downtown Weldon is a big building. The main storefront space with office and restrooms is 6000 sq ft. Its 48 feet wide and 113 feet deep in the main room. The office and restrooms are immediately adjacent to this main room. There is an attached warehouse that is another 2000 sq ft for a total 8000 sq ft. This space has been impossible to rent as is, due to its large size and rent I need to cover payment, taxes and insurance and a little extra to maintain the building. There have been some prospect but in some cases, what they wanted to do did not fit within the town’s zoning.
So now I will make some Lemonade.
Phase one on this project will be to divide the building into smaller shops. I plan to construct a hallway down the middle of the building about 50 feet deep and have shops on each side. This will allow for about half of the building to have shops fronting Washington Ave, Downtown Weldon’s Main Street.
As for the other half of the building….I’m undecided about what to do with that space. If there is demand for additional shops further into the building, I can continue the hallway. But I have received many calls from people expressing an interest in seeing the space as an Event Facility. Therefore I am exploring what I can do on my limited budget and within the building codes and zoning requirements.
But the main goal will be to do this project is such a way that it will provide a start up business with a really nice space at an affordable rent and at the same time generate enough income to turn this drag on my cash flow into a positive that I will call Sweet Lemonade.
Post 1...The Lemonade Project by Andy Whitby
I'm beginning another project or really it’s the continuation of a project or a project that needed to have been done long ago. Will be working to turn a negative into a positive, not only for me personally but for Downtown Weldon as well. Follow these post and I’ll try to keep you informed on the progress, the challengers, the frustrations and hopefully not too many disappointments and most definitely the successes.
I have given this the name of the Lemonade Project because that’s what one should do when there are lemons to be squeezed.
I have had a 20 year history in the revitalization efforts of Downtown Weldon and for a period of time my involvement has been on the back burner for various reasons, but I still own several buildings in Downtown Weldon and I need for those buildings to be successful so I’ll be making some lemonade but not just lemonade but SWEET LEMONADE.
Weldonnc.com is owned and maintained by Andy Whitby and Visit It Publications . It is provided as a service to the community on topics that are vital to the development and revitalization of Downtown Weldon from the perspective of the owner.