Norfolk’s Wainwright Building to Get $40 Million Makeover

For 83 years, the Wainwright Building has been a fixture in Downtown Norfolk. After recent run of legal problems and a change of ownership, the nine-story medical office building at 229 West Bute Street is poised for a new lease on life.

For 83 years, the Wainwright Building has been a fixture in Downtown Norfolk. After recent run of legal problems and a change of ownership, the nine-story medical office building at 229 West Bute Street is poised for a new lease on life. As recently reported by the Virginian-Pilot, a development team plans to give the historic property a $40 million makeover.

John Biagas and Jeff Wassmer of Newport News and Buddy Gadams of Norfolk are proposing a two-phase apartment project. In the $20 million first phase, the Wainwright would be converted into 119 residential units. In the second phase, the developers would build an additional 80 units on an adjacent parking lot. The project, which would require no city subsidy, has won the support of influential backers like Mayor Paul Fraim, Councilman Barclay C. Winn and the Freemason Street Area Association Civic League. Proposed alternations to the building’s exterior are under review by city officials, and the city council must sign off as well.

Tenant amenities would include a rooftop with a dog-walking area, putting green and pool. It will also have a club room, cyber cafe, fitness center and an area for tenants to entertain guests. Rents will range between $1,000 and $2,000, and most units will be priced at about $1,200.

A federal judge stripped the previous ownership of the building in April after they were charged with tax fraud. An investment group led by the developers foreclosed on the property and has asked tenants to relocate. The developers hope to start work by the end of the year and have the first units ready for move-in by the summer of 2013.

Image courtesy of Google Maps.