Danville local to open art-themed AirBnb featuring unique artwork and animal sculptures

Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 6:04 PM EST
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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - A once abandoned, crumbling building on Craghead Street in Danville is on its way to becoming a state-of-the-art AirBnb.

VANTAGE Art Flats will include 9 apartment-style rooms, an art studio, and a seven-foot-tall elephant statue to welcome guests.

Rick Barker Properties bought the 500 block of Craghead Street in 2015 when the buildings were vacant and heavily damaged from Hurricane Michael.

“I grew up in Chatham and Danville and we’re fortunate to live in a beautiful area. I’ve always thought we have beautiful natural surroundings, and we have beautiful manmade surroundings,” said Rick Barker, founder of Rick Barker Properties. “One thing that we have in large quantity that few communities do is this great architecture from the late 19th and early 20th century.”

Barker wanted to make sure to preserve that original architecture from when they were first built in 1913.

“When you save the building, you save all the history in the community that goes with the building. So, we’re looking forward to people who once worked in these buildings to come back and see what the latest use is which probably couldn’t have been imagined 100 years ago when the buildings were built,” added Barker.

The city will add a public park behind VANTAGE and restore the creek to provide additional green space.

“When we did our first building in this block in 2015, we found ourselves in the middle of a slum. Today, within two blocks, there are hundreds of apartments, there’s restaurants, and there’s breweries. Now, there’s a greater need for green space because as we develop amenities for all the apartment dwellers downtown, having that park is pretty important,” explained Barker.

In addition to the park, original art pieces will also add a breath of fresh air to the space as each room will be decorated in a unique way.

Barker chose Airbnb instead of traditional hotel or rental style to add some variety to the River District.

“We’ll have art classes. You can stay here and reserve an art teacher to come teach you or your children lessons. We think that’s a little different because we’re concentrating more on the experience that a guest has rather than just providing the overnight lodging,” said Barker.

They plan to open to the public and have a grand reveal in about six weeks.