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Lynchburg office tower undergoes major renovation

By Tim Saunders
Published On: Nov 01 2012 02:05:54 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 03 2013 05:21:44 PM EDT
Lynchburg office tower undergoes major renovation
LYNCHBURG, Va. -

When you look at the Lynchburg skyline, you can't help but notice the Allied Arts Building.  It's the second tallest building in town.

"This building is an icon," said Gray Wilson, a Lynchburg resident who works in building construction.

With 17 floors, Allied Arts is one of the tallest structures in western Virginia.

It's also one of the oldest.  Built in 1929, it was the first modern office tower in our end of the state.

"A lot of people look at this building as being part of downtown in the beginning," Wiley said.

In its early days, the building was full of doctor's offices.  Today it's home to lawyers, a parole office, and WDBJ7's Lynchburg Newsroom, but many floors are empty.

An outdated look is partially to blame.

"It's not in bad shape as a building, but it just felt old," said Greg Wigfield, who owns the building with a business partner.

"We just thought, what if we could take this back to what it was meant to look like when it was built," Wigfield said.

The last major renovation happened more than 40 years ago.  At that time, darker colors and lower ceilings were the trend.

"The goal for the owners was to try and go back to the old, historical look," said Wiley, who is working with Wigfield to renovate the entire building.

Contractors are restoring the original archetecture, with a modern touch.  Walls are being moved back and more windows are being installed, to give the building a more open feel.

"It's giving the building a whole new look, and it's a much more comfortable feeling for the people who are leasing and renting spaces," Wiley said.

The project is designed to attract new tenants.  A restaurant and cafe is coming to the first level and leasing is underway on the newly renovated floors.

"We are at 85 percent occupancy now and we hope to fill that up," said Wigfield.

The entire project will last several years.  Wigfield estimates he and his co-owner are investing $3-million in the project, with some of that amount funded by historic tax credits.