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Preston revival: New owners of building at 10th Street promise new look, bigger space for coffee shop
Intersection of 10th St NW and Preston Ave - July 2016
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Intersection of 10th St NW and Preston Ave
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Aaron Richardson | Saturday, August 06, 2016 at 9:56 p.m.

The new owners of the orange corrugated metal building at the intersection of Preston Avenue and 10th Street — which houses Shenandoah Joe Coffee Roasters — have big plans for the structure, but will leave the popular coffee shop exactly where it is.

Robby Noll and Reid Murphy, partners in Building Management Co., which bought the Charlottesville building last month, said the renovation eventually will double Shenandoah Joe’s footprint.

Shenandoah Joe owner Dave Fafara is a partner in the redesign, and said it could bring new facets to the operation.

“The one thing that I have always wanted to do, that we have not had the opportunity to do because of space, is to create a training space, so we could teach people to brew at home,” Fafara said. “A coffee educational center, more or less.”

Fafara and his business are what Noll and Murphy refer to as a cornerstone partner — a well-established, credit-worthy business capable of anchoring a redevelopment.

The partnership gives Shenandoah Joe a stake in the redesigned coffee shop space and helps BMC secure funding for the project.

“We’ve gotten pretty comfortable with this formula, and the people we work with are comfortable with it, namely the banks,” Noll said. “In our opinion, it is a more secure way to develop commercial real estate.”

We don’t have any plans to tear that building down, we plan to repurpose it. And Shenandoah Joe is going to stay right where they are, and they are actually going to grow in that space.

Reid Murphy

Building Management has used the model at several of its projects, Noll said, including 400 Locust Ave., the company’s headquarters.

With the exception of new paintwork, an update to the façade and expansion of parking in the back of the building, BMC has little planned for the exterior of the building.

“We don’t have any plans to tear that building down, we plan to repurpose it. And Shenandoah Joe is going to stay right where they are, and they are actually going to grow in that space,” Murphy said.

Noll said he hopes the new look will be more in keeping with the character of the neighborhood.

“We are working with [Fafara] and our architect to come up with something that is more appropriate, in our opinion,” he said.

Marketing documents for the property show the building height may be increased by-right to 50 feet, but Murphy and Noll said there are no plans to do so.

“The property was marketed as a big redevelopment project, and we did not buy it that way. We bought it as a performing real estate investment,” Murphy said.

Further to the east, BMC is executing a similar plan at 805 Preston Ave., which will be anchored by Blue Ridge Pack and Ship and Carpet Plus.

As BMC’s projects on Preston are getting off the ground, more expansive redevelopments on the south side of the corridor are bustling.

The old King Lumber property is nearing completion, with five businesses already on site, Random Row Brewing approaching its opening date and office space for a sixth commercial operation.

The former Coca-Cola bottling plant reopened last year, now housing beer garden Kardinal Hall, Timber Creek Market, Blue Ridge Cyclery and The Juice Laundry.

Fafara sees the growth as the beginning of a new era for Preston Avenue and an opportunity for his business.

“I think that Preston is the new West Main of Charlottesville,” Fafara said. “We have been at that location for eight years and now we are the anchor tenant at that end of Preston … it is exciting to see new business pop up in between those four more established businesses.”

 

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