Martinsville’s tallest building in uptown will be transformed into housing

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 4:34 PM EST
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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Built in 1956 as the BB&T building, the structure is the tallest in uptown Martinsville. Now, the cash registers, ATMs, and offices will be transformed into bedrooms, a fitness center, and a commercial space.

In 2020, the bank vacated the building, and the city acquired it for $25,000.

“It’s very iconic. It is the tallest building in the city, and it definitely is worth saving,” said Martinsville Mayor Kathy Lawson.

Two weeks ago, the city council approved a proposal to build One Ellsworth, a 69-apartment complex with a mountain view-rooftop event space.

“We know we have a need for housing in the Martinsville and Henry County area,” added Lawson.

The project will be spearheaded by JRS Realty Partners to be completed in 2025. Its goal is to keep the apartments affordable. The monthly rent is estimated to be in the 650-to-995-dollar price range.

“People who are first responders, teachers, nurses. People who are traveling, commuting into town from outside areas, taking their paycheck home with them when they could be spending it here,” said JRS Realty Partner Jim Cherney.

They hope the project will help revitalize uptown.

“When you bring it back to life it means a lot to the local community. You have people living in it, spending their time downtown, spending their dollars downtown. This can be a game changer for the city of Martinsville,” said JRS Realty Partner John Garland.

Martinsville’s mayor says it will help advance the economic development in the city.

“It’s growing our tax base in an area that is landlocked,” explained Lawson. “So that’s a win-win also.”

This is the fourth historic building JRS Realty partners will be repurposing in the Martinsville-Henry County area, investing $20 million in total.