The letters were falling off the facade, and spider-webbed cracks marred the storefront windows.
The old Woolworth’s building in downtown Roanoke had been vacant for years and had fallen into disrepair.
Every time Bill Elliot walked by the building at 24 Campbell Ave., he worried that it might be torn down for parking. He’d also heard a rumor it was going to be used for a flea market.
“That’s just a horror story for a building that’s in solid shape,” he said. “I didn’t want to see it torn down. I didn’t want to see it become another empty space on Campbell Avenue.”
Elliot, chairman of the board at Davis H. Elliot Co., decided he needed to do something.
He bought the dilapidated structure in 2008 and has spent about $4 million reviving the century-old building. Historical tax credits will help defray some of the cost.
Three years later, the art deco structure has a bright red sign on the facade with hand-painted gold lettering, and the storefront facing Campbell Avenue is painted white and ready for a new tenant.
The building also has an 18-space indoor parking garage and two smaller office spaces facing Kirk Avenue on the first floor. Above, the second and third floors have been divided into 11 apartments ranging in size from about 800 to 1,600 square feet. Elliot has also built a personal art studio on the third floor.
The building, once an eyesore in downtown, has been revived.
“This building was really one of the last missing pieces in that Campbell Avenue and Kirk Avenue street space,” said Gregg Lewis, the architect on the project. “Bill Elliot’s willingness to take this on was ultimately a real boon for downtown Roanoke because of the impact of having that building boarded up.”
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