A team of developers, including a downtown Greenwood promoter, is hoping to transform a block of historic, vacant buildings in that part of the city into a commercial and residential complex.
Blake and Leah Ferretti, a husband-and-wife duo of real estate and property managers in Cleveland, have expressed interest in buying four buildings at the intersection of Main Street and Carrollton Avenue.
They are being assisted by Brantley Snipes, the executive director of Main Street Greenwood, a nonprofit that aims to preserve Greenwood’s historical buildings. Snipes is working on this project as a private consultant since, she said, much of its scope falls outside of her role with Main Street Greenwood.
Titled Howard’s End, the project would revamp four currently vacant buildings: the Antoon Department Store building and the Steele Furniture building, both located at the corner of Main Street and Carrollton Avenue; the Meachum building on Carrollton Avenue; and the Delta Feed Co. building on Main Street.
“It’s going to add a layer of mixed-use development for downtown Greenwood,” Snipes said of Howard’s End.
Altogether, Howard’s End would consist of more than 36,000 square feet, with about 22,000 square feet dedicated to 10 or more commercial units and the remaining 14,000 square feet dedicated to 18 or more apartments, according to the project’s presentation material for investors. The overall cost of the project would be around $6 million to $7 million, Snipes said.
Blake Ferretti said that his company, BL Ferretti, already has commitments for a majority of the Steele building’s available space. He did not provide specific details, however, about the tenants other than to say the spaces would be used by lawyers, accountants and architects.
On the upper levels of the buildings, Ferretti would like to add apartments. He said his company also has been speaking with potential retail tenants to join Howard’s End.
Snipes said the project would be funded with the help of federal and state tax credits available for developing in low-income or historic areas.
“We’re putting together a project that is taking advantage of taking different tools for redevelopment. These tools are tax credits and not blank checks for construction,” Snipes said.
She also noted that despite the excitement of the project, “it’s real complex” and that “nothing’s been finalized yet.”
For one, the buildings have not been officially purchased by BL Ferretti, Snipes said.
The company has an option to buy the property, said Ferretti, once environmental studies are conducted, tax credits are lined up, and contractors are put in place, among other tasks needed to get done.
Ferretti said the timeline of the project is tentative due to “a lot of moving parts and pieces” that “all affect each other.” He said he does hope to purchase the buildings in the spring of 2020 and that construction could start within 60 days of closing.
“There’s just so much time, a lot of time and resources that have got to be invested into the project,” said Ferretti, who has been working on the plan since August.
Ferretti said that he and his wife have eyed Greenwood for a while since both are enamored of the continued presence of historical buildings in its downtown, something that he says is missing from Cleveland.
“Greenwood has a very big downtown, and we’d really like to be a part of that,” Ferretti said.
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