Occupying a prominent corner on Preston Avenue, the former Coca-Cola Bottling Works has a new lease on life as a hub of commercial activity. The newly-restored building is home to a bike shop, an organic market, a juice bar, a beer garden, and most recently, the University of Virginia’s Licensing and Ventures Group (LVG), formerly University of Virginia Innovation.
The University of Virginia’s Licensing and Ventures Group’s new office suite is located in the former truck garage and loading area of the Coca-Cola Bottling building. Because the property is on the National Register of Historic Buildings, its transformation has been carefully overseen to preserve the building’s historic integrity. During the course of the renovation, our project manager, Troy Royston, made a perplexing discovery: the building has no perpendicular exterior walls! The building’s exterior walls follow the property lines which maximized the building’s square footage on the lot, explains Royston. Since this characteristic is part of the original building, it has not been corrected.
All existing finishes had to remain exposed, which provided several challenges for making the 1939 building habitable. Repainting was limited only to the surfaces that had been painted in the past. The original roof structure and timber frames were preserved, highlighting the ceiling’s historical materials with a lofty sense of height. The floors in the truck bays were all sloped to drain so our subcontractor, Concreate, ground, patched, polished and sealed the concrete floors to make them level. Because of the irregular floors, rolling doors were hung and cut to fit.
Despite these challenges, the space inside is modern, spacious, and bright. The 9,640 square feet suite boasts several private offices, communal work areas, a boardroom, a kitchen and bathrooms. Michael Straightiff, Executive Director of LVG, hopes that the new office “reflects our commitment to being innovative in our approach to support a wider array and greater number of University technologies that have the potential to impact human health and other social and industry needs.”
“Part of our excitement about this new space is our ability to offer entrepreneurs who are working on University opportunities access to our new facilities. For some, it may be a place where they can work as they explore market sectors and initiate operations. For others who are interested in perhaps forming collaborations and partnerships, we hope that they will use the space for meet-ups and conversations. We hope that it will be a place where new relationships are formed and problems are solved.”
We’re glad Michael Straightiff and the Licensing and Ventures Group are enjoying their new entrepreneurship space and its amenities. We can’t wait to see what innovations you’ll bring to the market next!