Meg Hibbert Contributing writer
In spite of the economic slowdown from COVID-19, downtown Salem projects are holding their own, developers Ed Walker and Brent Cochran told the Salem Economic Development Authority Tuesday afternoon.
Walker assured the EDA that what is now being called The Lofts at Downtown Salem continued to have nightly, weekly and monthly stays during the pandemic.
“Revenue in August was $23,000,” Walker said, “and the management company, Marshall Hotels and Resorts, is projecting the same for September and October.”
“It’s a tricky time to open two restaurants and a hotel,” he said, referring to the lofts, El Jefe, that has reopened, and West Salem Barbecue – which remains closed for the time being.
Walker told the EDA board’s seven members “if winter is over and we don’t sell Valleydale and Peacock Salem Cleaners, it is our intent to put them on the market in the spring.”
He added that he has worked in the last 12 weeks with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources on the possibility of developing 91 housing units in the Valleydale building, a former large meat-packing facility that has been vacant for several years.
“We’re in the business of trying to leave things better than we found them,” Walker said. “I’ll be very disappointed if we’re not able to do that.”
In other items at Tuesday’s meeting, the EDA voted:
- To authorize a payment of $30,000 for a retaining wall at the future Avid Hotel on Wildwood Road, to meet requirements of a performance agreement.
- Heard a report from Economic Development Director Melinda Payne about pending requests for façade grants. They are Joe’s Deli on Broad and Main, and Patrick McDonnell’s property on Main Street where he wants to open a small grocery store. The grants are for up to $10,000 for each, with a match of $2,500 from the city. Properties from College Avenue to Union are open for grants, Payne added.