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Loft living draws near in Wilson, NC

By Rochelle Moore Times Staff Writer

Nash Street Lofts is close to opening in downtown Wilson and could start signing leases as early as next week.

The residential loft apartments inside a restored 1884 brick building include many original features of the historic building – hardwood floors, tin ceilings, stairwells, brick walls and elements of the building’s former elevator.

The three-story building has 13 apartments that include a mix of one and two bedroom apartments and two live-work units on the ground level facing Nash Street. Nash Street Lofts is located at 215 E. Nash St., with entrances at the front and back of the building.

The apartments have been designed throughout the building with the largest two-bedroom unit, at 1,150 square feet, located just above the first floor. The loft has a stairwell entrance and two levels, one for living and dining and the other for two bedrooms. The unit also has reclaimed timber from the region that is used as part of the flooring, ceiling and stairs.

Hardwood floors throughout the building have new and original wood that is weaved together at different points. Each of the apartments also have borrowed lights, which offer sunlight into bedrooms throughout the three-story structure.

“A lot of the bedrooms don’t have natural light,” said Patrick Reilly, managing partner of Rehab Development. “It’s a window in your bedroom that’s pulling in natural light.”

The apartments have washers and dryers, stainless steel appliances and some units have original brick walls. A new elevator was built inside the existing elevator shaft and the former door is covered with the original elevator switch left in place.

One of the first-floor apartments has been built to Americans with Disabilities Act standards, with open space, easy accessibility and an entrance at the back of the building.

Nash Street Lofts will maintain security with locked entrances that are only accessible with a key and 14 dedicated parking spaces area available at the back of the building.

Rental prices range from $600 to $1,200 and include water, sewer, trash, cable and Internet service.

“The only utility bill tenants would be responsible for is the electric bill,” Reilly said.

Developers are offering a special price for anyone signing a 13-month lease by the end of December. The agreement will include no rental cost in January, said Holton Wilkerson, CommunitySmith managing partner.

The certificate of occupancy is expected next week, which opens the door for new tenants.

“People can move in as early as next week,” Reilly said.

Applications are being accepted on the company’s website, at www.nashstreetlofts.com. The plan is to have an onsite residential manager who can handle day-to-day operations and lease agreements. The manager would be able to live in the building at a reduced cost.

Nash Street Lofts has been open for tours during the Whirligig Festival and at other times and a grand opening and open house is being planned in late January.

Nash Street Lofts is the first downtown development project for Rehab Developers in partnership with CommunitySmith. Rehab Development is a Winston-Salem based company that specializes in downtown revitalization projects and working with historic properties and CommunitySmith is a private development organization that specializes in identifying commercial properties in the region that are candidates for redevelopment.

Also in the works is the development of the future Wilson Furniture Company Lofts at 120 Goldsboro St., which should be finished by the summer of 2014, Reilly said.

The opening of Nash Street Lofts could generate other downtown development efforts in the future and the developers could consider other Wilson projects, Wilkerson said.

“I think we’re going to do as we originally expected to do,” Reilly said. “If this project does well, it’s going to lead to more development in downtown Wilson.”

Nash Street Lofts is a 13,000-square-foot brick building and was originally part of the Hackney Wagon Co.’s carriage manufacturing complex. After 1913, it was used for a number of retail businesses, most recently Western Auto.

The project, estimated to cost between $1.3 and $1.5 million, became a reality because of historic tax credits and a $550,000 federal grant U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield secured in 2009 for the development of the historic building.