A new restaurant, retail shop and apartments soon will make their way into two historic buildings downtown.
Plans have been submitted to the city for the former Farmers Seed & Supply at 1306 Main Street and 1304 Main Street to be renovated into a restaurant with outdoor dining and six apartments.
Thirteen Main, LLC, made up of Andrew McKenna, Max Henderson and Van Fry, purchased the two buildings last October and hope to have the restaurant and apartments ready by next summer.
“We’re excited about the project and the growth of downtown and believe in the future of Lynchburg and want to be a part of it,” said Seth Downing, spokesperson for the project.
The development will combine the two buildings into one and will feature an undetermined retail shop and restaurant on the first floor.
The rest of the building will house four two-bedroom apartments for rent and two studio apartments for rent.
The restaurant, which does not have an operator yet, is designed to seat 100 customers; 40 of those seats will be for private dining.
Downing said plans include a roll-up door in the front so there can be a combination of indoor and outdoor dining when the weather is nice.
The former greenhouse in the store will be converted into a sunroom for dining.
The 17,000-square-foot three-story former Farmers Seed & Supply building has been closed since November after operating in downtown for more than 110 years; its inventory was moved to Boonsboro Road Hardware.
Robin Rice Cheek, former owner of Farmers Seed & Supply, said she was sad to leave the building but is happy with the group she sold it to.
“They were so wonderful,” she said. “I’ve known Max a long time, and Van could be family. This whole deal started back in July last year, and it was done with a handshake. That’s the kind of people they are.”
Sealing a deal with a handshake, Frey said, is a rare occurrence.
“Robin held true to everything she said and honored everything she said she would do. I commend her for that,” he said.
Cheek’s father, Wayland Rice, purchased the business in 1972 and owned it until his death in 1999, when Cheek took over.
“I cared about who would get the building,” she said. “We enjoyed a good run downtown, but at one time there were a lot of feed and seed stores in downtown, and we were the lone survivor. After a while, you realize it wasn’t conducive to our type of business. At some point you realize it’s time to move on.”
She is excited with what the group plans to do with the property and said they were patient when she was moving her inventory.
“Getting out of a building you’ve been in for 110 years is interesting to say the least,” she said.
Although Downing said he doesn’t know what kind of restaurant will open in the space, the management group plans for it to be locally owned and feature exposed brick with modern décor.
“It should be pretty exciting,” he said. “We’re not going after a chain restaurant; we prefer something local and high end. It depends. We’re not necessarily committed to that, but we’re committed to working with local partners. We want it to be cool and unique to downtown.”
Construction is planned to begin this summer on the building.
Thorne McCraw, owner of McCraw’s Lampshop at 1210 Main Street, said he thinks the project is a great idea for downtown, and he is excited developers are coming in and renovating old buildings.
“It’s a good time; these buildings are bringing in very good prices, and people want to come down here and fix them up,” he said. “It’s gonna be great. They’re gonna do it first class. It’s good for downtown with these restaurants and breweries coming.”
Starr Hill Lynchburg on Main will be located at 1300 Main Street, next door to the restaurant.
McCraw said the corridor is going to blossom once construction ends on Main Street.
“Downtown has moved to small shops and venues as opposed to big stores coming in down here,” he said. “That’s just the way it is.”
Reach Rachael Smith at (434) 385-5482.