More apartments, commercial space in works for Danville’s River District

The Danville Planning Commission recommended approval of 46 new apartment units and commercial space in the 500 block of Lynn Street and a community garden next to God’s Storehouse during its meeting Monday afternoon.

Ross Fickenscher and Garrett Shifflett plan to build the apartment units and about 30,000 square feet of commercial space at 523 and 525 Lynn St., the former Durham Hosiery building in the River District. Fickenscher requested special use permits, on behalf of Lynn Street LLC, for the project at each address.

The commission unanimously voted 7-0 to recommend that Danville City Council approve them following a public hearing. No one except Fickenscher spoke out on the request.

Fickenscher told the Register & Bee the commercial space would be on the first floor and would provide space for office, retail and light manufacturing. It would include six spaces available for lease ranging from 2,500 to 8,000 square feet each, he said.

The apartments would be on the second and third floors and would range in rental price from $850 to $1,400 a month, including utilities, cable and internet.

Fickenscher and Shifflett developed Pemberton Lofts, The Continental Lofts and Ballad Brewing — all located in the city’s River District.

“We’ve been successful thus far,” Fickenscher told the Register & Bee Monday. “We want to continue to participate in the growth of Danville’s River District.”

The property is currently vacant.

The application requested special use permits to have residential units above a first-floor commercial use, with relief from density and parking requirements.

The commission recommended City Council approval of a similar proposal at the properties in March that requested a special use permit for 40 apartments and 30,000 square feet of commercial space.

It was approved by Danville City Council on April 3.

The current proposal, unlike the previous request, seeks specific relief from density and parking requirements as well as six more apartments.

Commissioners voted to recommend approval of Fickenscher’s request with the following conditions:

» There will be no more than 46 multifamily residential units between the two properties

» There will be bicycle parking sufficient for six bicycles between the two properties, preferably covered

Commissioner Robert “Q” Jones asked Fickenscher if the bicycle parking would be covered. Fickenscher said he could not commit to that because they will be seeking historic tax credits for the project.

“I can’t promise an overhang on that side of the building for that use,” he said.

Construction is expected to begin next month with the project complete in late summer 2019, Fickenscher said.

The commission also voted 6-0 to recommend approval of a special use permit for urban agriculture at 760 Memorial Drive, next to charity group God’s Storehouse. Commissioner Bruce Wilson abstained from the vote because he serves on the board of directors for God’s Storehouse.

The charity organization plans to have a community garden in the vacant lot between its building and nearby Dodson’s Pest Control.

Robert Maher, who filed the application on behalf of Memorial Properties LP, told the commission the garden would be a great way to help clients at God’s Storehouse. The region has a high poverty rate and there are more than 9,000 people who are food insecure, Maher said.

“We want to improve the community’s physical and mental health,” Maher said.

God’s Storehouse executive director Karen Harris told the Danville Register & Bee that they have applied for a grant to help fund the garden.

“Once we get the special use permit and the grant, we’ll start making plans, putting up a fence, getting some gravel put in and figuring out how we can plant,” Harris said.

John Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact him at or (434) 791-7987.

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