Three-story retail, residential building planned for High Street

MORGANTOWN — By this time next year a three-story, mixed-use building featuring multiple retail storefronts topped with eight, two-bedroom residential units will likely stand at 461 High Street, the current location of the diminutive Sandwich U.

At least that’s the plan according to Charlotte, N.C. based SunCap Property Group, which  received unanimous approval for its Type III Development of Significant Impact Site Plan from the Morgantown Planning Commission on Thursday.

The commission also approved a minor subdivision condensing five parcels into two in order to accommodate the project.

According to information provided in the meeting packet, the 16,150 square-foot building will include a total of 6,860 square feet of retail space split into three storefronts and eight residential units totaling 9,290 square feet. The building will sit on approximately .23 acres.

Joshua Frick, of Desmone Architects, said the project will feature light-colored brick and other design elements common to the downtown district. The building’s frontage along High Street will be staggered in order to accommodate an outdoor seating area and mitigate the slope of the sidewalk.

The portion of the building that abuts the neighboring structure at 469 High Street — the historic I.C. White building — will be one story.

“I think the building, the architecture captures the sort of character of what we’re looking for downtown. I certainly appreciate that,” Planning Commissioner and City Councilor Ron Dulaney said. “I think it’s very exciting for our city.”

While representatives of SunCap were not willing to discuss the size of the investment being made on the development, it was explained that there is no plan to complete the building and sell it off.

“We look at this property and our other mixed-use and residential properties as long-term portfolio properties,” SunCap’s Matt Virgin said. “This is not a coupon-clipper asset. This is a management-intense asset. It is a portfolio asset. I believe that we will hold this for the long term. Long term for us is five, seven, 10, 15 years.”

Representatives of SunCap said the goal is to complete the project in 2019.

Along with the parcels in question, Morgantown Development Services Director Chris Fletcher said SunCap also purchased a number of other properties from Bossio Enterprises, including the parking lot behind Sandwich U; the I.C. White Building which currently houses Sprint (469 High St.); the building that contains Casa D’Amici (485 High St.) and a storefront property at 182 Willey Street.

It was explained that potential projects involving those properties are “down the road.”

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