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Developer determined to transform old Bedford Middle School into apartments despite fire

(WDBJ)
Published: Jan. 23, 2020 at 6:54 PM EST
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Developer Dave McCormack remains positive, despite being dealt a tragic blow Thursday.

“We’re in the business of fixing hopeless situations,” said McCormack.

An overnight fire devastated his site planned for new apartments in Bedford.

“This building right now – the state that it’s in – looks like most of the buildings that we start with,” said McCormack.

McCormack and his team at Waukeshaw Development specialize in turning old buildings into modern spectacles. That was, and still is, his plan for the old Bedford Middle School, despite the fire that tore the iconic building apart from the inside out.

“It’s amazing that even in a devastating situation like this, to meet people out on the street that went to school here, that are upset that this is happening but telling their stories, and everyone gathering around and supporting each other through a time like this," said McCormack. "That just makes you more convicted about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”

The old middle school and the historic "Old Yellow" school house next door are just part of McCormack’s 8.5-acre site planned for apartments and a luxury hotel.

The site is currently owned by the Town of Bedford, as the town and Waukeshaw Development partner to bring their plans of revamping the Bedford mainstay to fruition.

“It affects us all personally because it’s an important site that’s pretty closely related to our identity in this community,” said Town Manager Bart Warner.

Despite tragedy, both the developer and the town are committed to seeing this project through.

“We’re going to continue moving forward, this might impact the way we move forward, but at the end of the day, some day we’re going to look back on this as a big obstacle that we cleared in producing something that’s going to do a lot of good for the community,” said Warner.

Once fire officials deem the site safe, McCormack’s crews will begin assessing the state of the building and adjusting their plans for the future.

They hope to have a better idea of an updated timeline for this project by the spring.

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