Rooms with a view

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 20, 2005

New owner set to renovate Petty building

By Angie Long

Greenville’s downtown cityscape will be taking on a new look over the next two years.

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Greenville native Archie Woodruff has purchased the former Petty Appliance Building, located on the corner of Commerce and Bolling Streets. The building dates back some 120 years, and still features its original pine floors and many interesting architectural details.

Woodruff has plans to convert the historic two-story building, which offers 10,000 square feet of space, into loft apartments upstairs, with two retail spaces downstairs. He has previously renovated several historic homes in the area.

The certified general contractor, who has lived in the Orlando area for 25 years, says the upcoming remodel was inspired by his many visits to Park Avenue, in the community of Winter Park, near Orlando.

&uot;My wife and I love visiting Park Avenue, a street loaded with beautiful little loft apartments, all with balconies above the restaurants and businesses. This is what I see for the future of Greenville,&uot; Woodruff said.

He plans to put in four to five loft apartments in the building, each featuring a balcony overlooking either Main or Bolling Streets.

&uot;We are looking at doing these apartments in either a New York-style or Winter Park-style design. Once people see what we are doing with this space, I think the rest of the downtown businesses will fall into place,&uot; Woodruff said.

He says he also plans to &uot;totally redo&uot; the first floor of the former appliance business, putting in new plumbing and electrical wiring, along with central heat and air conditioning.

The project will likely take about two years to complete, Woodruff said.

He is willing to tailor his work on the downstairs remodeling project, if the right parties come along to lease the retail space.

&uot;I’m planning to have signs put up in the front windows, saying ‘Will Build to Suit.’

If an interested party contacts me about specific needs they would want for a new business, we can look at gearing the remodel to that,&uot; Woodruff explained.

The contractor says he is looking at purchasing more buildings on Commerce St., with similar plans to put in loft apartments upstairs, and remodeled retail/office spaces on the lower levels.

He is excited over the possibilities this new undertaking brings for his hometown.

&uot;I’ve also talked with [Main Street Director] Nancy Idland about ideas for the retail spaces, including leasing a space for banquets, wedding parties and other special events. And I would love to see something like a nice little antiques store go into one of the spaces,&uot; Woodruff said.

The contractor echoes the words of Notre Dame professor of architecture, Al DeFrees, when he talks about the difference downtown living spaces can make in a community:

&uot;Apartments like these downtown can keep a place vital and interesting; it never really shuts down. It’s a great way to keep downtown alive.&uot;

Idland is delighted at the prospects Woodruff’s efforts will bring to Greenville’s downtown area.

&uot;I am so pleased to see interest being taken in these wonderful old buildings. I truly feel this is just the beginning of a revival for many of our

historic downtown structures,&uot; Idland said.