CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Warehouse-district residents would get a view of West Virginia Power games over the left-field wall of Appalachian Park from the condominium-style lofts a developer plans to build in the former Kyle Furniture warehouse on Smith Street, Charleston Urban Renewal Authority board members learned Wednesday.
CURA members approved a rear setback variance requested for the project by Pison Development President Bill Turner. But the group withheld judgment on Turner's façade plans, awaiting final designs for the exterior of the side-by-side brick buildings.
Turner said he plans to build 15 two-bedroom, two-bath loft apartments on the upper floors of the Kyle buildings, with commercial space on the ground floor. The lofts, which would sell for about $250,000 and up, would range from about 1,300 square feet in one of the buildings to 1,400 or 1,500 square feet in the other.
The taller building would have a 1 1/2-story penthouse loft with a rooftop garden, offering a prime view of the frequent fireworks displays at the ballpark, he said.
Pison Development, which converted the former Fife Street Apartments in the Loewenstein Building on Capitol Street into luxury lofts a few years ago, will also build an L-shaped row of garages for loft owners just east of the Kyle building, Turner said.
CURA board members approved his request to build the garages along the rear property line.
Although city zoning rules would allow that alignment, CURA requires a minimum 20-foot rear setback, Turner said.
"I don't want a fence, a 20-foot setback and a building," he said. "It would create a security nightmare."
Pison has been working on the project for four to six months, after doing market studies of affordable downtown housing in Charleston, Huntington and Morgantown, Turner said. "The definition of affordable is less than $300,000."
He bought the property, which had been on the market for several years, for $625,000.
"In terms of how much money I'm going to spend . . . I don't even have a name for it now. I don't have a lot of answers.
"[The lofts] will be high end, furnished with stainless steel appliances, custom wood cabinets, wood and stone floors. There'll be a lobby at the main entrance and a rooftop common area and garden.
"We'll be filing building permits and hope to start construction this week. Pre-sale is underway and we should be pretty well done by spring of next year. There could be occupants by the end of the year."
Turner said he's been working with Mike Gioulis, a statewide consultant for Main Street programs, on the façade design. Architect Paul Tennant said he plans to open and expand windows that had been bricked up, and paint the exterior.