Housing project moves forward

A housing grant awarded to a local business to help refurbish downtown buildings into new apartments in Kenbridge is just about completed. 

As part of a $2 million in Affordable Workforce Housing Grants awarded by the Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC), Smyth Properties LLC was awarded $250,000 for Adaptive Reuse of vacant downtown buildings into affordable rental apartments.

According to the CRC, all seven housing units at the Smyth Properties are almost complete. 

“Plumbers/electricians are working this week to finish plumbing connections and remaining electrical over at 120 S. Broad St. apartments in Kenbridge,” said CRC officials.

In addition to Smyth Properties LLC, the Town of Blackstone/Southside Outreach and Piedmont Habitat for Humanity in Farmville were also awarded housing grants. 

PIEDMONT HABITAT 

Piedmont’s contractor and volunteers are currently working to complete the remaining work on two of the homes on California Ave in Crewe. The project is expected to be completed at the beginning of 2024. In Farmville, all of the homes on Andrew Drive have been completed. 

TOWN OF BLACKSTONE/SOUTHSIDE OUTREACH 

Southside Outreach has awarded the bid to Divine Builders of Amelia. The contractor has begun construction on the second house. 

The Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC), which includes Lunenburg, Prince Edward, Buckingham, Amelia and Charlotte counties, received the $2 million grant to build 21 homes, a project that was set to be completed by June 2024 but has now been extended to June 2025. 

“We have a close working relationship with these organizations,” said Virginia Housing CEO Susan Dewey. “This grant program will build upon that partnership by promoting regional approaches to housing development.” 

For the CRC, that meant putting out a call for partners. 

“We did some research,” said CRC’s executive director Melody Foster. “We didn’t want to recreate the wheel. We had some discussions with our localities and put out a (request for proposals).” 

The group received six applications and ended up awarding money to three projects, partnering with Piedmont Habitat for Humanity, the Town of Blackstone and Smyth Properties LLC. Piedmont will build 11 homes, the town of Blackstone will help build three and Smyth will build seven.