Partners Mike Adams and John Van Zandt have completed the Beanery restoration portion of their mixed use redevelopment project near the train station in Fredericksburg. Next up, the adjacent condominium project called The Lofts at Frederick Street.

The restored 1880 Beanery, so named because of its original use as the Janney–Marshall Kenmore Coffee Co. roastery and warehouse, provides 6,500 square feet of commercial space on three levels.

Adams, owner of Jon Properties, a real estate development company in Fredericksburg, said the space will initially serve as the sales and design office for the condominiums, which he expects to be completed this December.

After that, the Beanery space will offered to a single or as many as four different tenants. It has built-in flexibility and can be configured with additional bathrooms or a kitchen if needed.

“We’ve restored a piece of city history here, but you would never be able to charge enough rent to pay for it,” Adams said during a tour of the building earlier this week. “That’s why the condos—new construction—are absolutely necessary to make the project work [financially]. You couldn’t do this without the other.”

The restored Beanery, both inside and out, is a far cry from what it was before. The old brick walls have been repointed and as much as possible of the stucco once applied over the exterior brick has been removed. Some salvaged brick was relaid to repair damage done by a tree that was growing through an upper wall. There were gaping holes in the roof and the elements had taken their toll inside.

Substantial wood braces that supported the brick walls during the restoration have been repurposed as floor/ceiling beams inside.

The building is now covered with a standing-seam metal roof that’s period-perfect for the restoration. New double-pane metal windows and mahogany-framed doors enhance the look and improve energy efficiency. Ceiling beams have been left exposed. Four new dormers add light on the upper level.

Adams said the idea was to provide a handsome industrial look that lends timeless appeal. The interior space retains its original brick walls, while the flooring and some ceilings were artfully constructed with lumber salvaged from the formerly attached warehouse. The planks were remilled with tongue-and-grooving added.

Though the old warehouse was stripped of its salvageable parts, the structure itself had deteriorated and had to be demolished.

Like other local projects Van Zandt Restorations has taken on, this one involved constructing a steel interior framework—a structure within a structure—to reinforce the building’s old walls and roof.

The steel framing is anchored in concrete footers 7 feet deep. It’s left exposed inside to contribute to the industrial look.

“We drilled through the brick and bolted it to the framing,” Adams explained. “Everything inside [the roof and walls] bears on steel. This thing is built to last another 200 years.”

All new are the electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems. The two new bathrooms are designed to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

The old coffee roaster, which was removed from the warehouse with a crane, is being prepared for reuse as an art installation in the restored building.

Adams puts the cost of the restoration at $1 million, and The Lofts condominiums as an $8 million to $9 million project. Steel fortified footers have been laid, providing a footprint for the condo portion of the project. Of the 17 condos to be built, seven are already under contract, Adams said. The condos will range in price from $425,000 to $1.2 million. Four new Charles Street townhouses targeted for 2021 will round out the project.

The Beanery might not have been around when Adams and Van Zandt purchased the property for $700,000 in 2017, if not for its rescue by the Cymrot family. The Cymrots, operators of Riverby Books on Caroline Street, bought the property in 2008 to save it from demolition and invested as necessary to prevent it from falling down.

The Beanery–Lofts project is one of several Adams says will give a much-deserved economic boost to the Darbytown area of the city. In 2014 and 2015, Adams and Van Zandt teamed up to build seven new single-family homes on Charles and Dunmore streets.

“People thought we were crazy to build those half-million-dollar homes down there, but they all sold,” Adams said. “It was a value proposition. Those houses would have sold for $200,000 more anywhere else in the city.”

The neighborhood’s revitalization began in 2001 with developer Hamilton Palmer’s restoration of the Purina tower, followed by the repurposing of the old city gas plant as office space by Thomas Wack Construction in 2007. Plans to refurbish the train station and deteriorating nearby bridges was announced recently as well.

Last fall, local developer John Janney bought the Janney–Marshall building on Princess Anne Street to restore and convert into 12 apartments plus commercial space. The building once housed his grandfather’s wholesale grocery business.

Richard Amrhine: 540/374-5406

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