Imperial Lofts

| Imperial Lofts | To-be-delivered: October 2018 | 700 Watkins Avenue, South Boston, VA 24592 | Facebook |

  • Size: 132,604 gsf
  • Use: Multi-phased, mixed-use: apartments, commercial space, storage
  • Cost: Phase 1 only: $5,600,000
  • General Contractor: Quality General Construction Corp.
  • Architect: Apex Design PLLC
  • Historic Tax Credit: Commonwealth Preservation Group

GENERAL INFORMATION: The Imperial Tobacco Company warehouse is an evolved industrial complex initially constructed ca. 1890. The buildings in the complex are brick masonry construction with a brick foundation and a flat roof laid in a five-course common American bond. The exterior walls are marked by decorative corbeled brick parapets and cornices, as well as recessed brick panels. Jack arches top window openings, the northeast elevation enjoying a stepped parapet. The development of the complex started adjacent to the railroad line and gradually encompassed the entire block from the tracks to Watkins Avenue. Several additions, which match the original portions of the complex in materials and design, were constructed at the northeast portion of the site between 1913 and 1918. The footprint of the building remains relatively intact, with a few additions constructed after 1947, including infill of a historic light well at the center of the original building which will be re-opened as part of the renovation.

HISTORY/SIGNIFICANCE: The Imperial Tobacco Company complex is representative of South Boston’s industrial development during the district’s period of significance from 1854 to 1958. As one of the earliest surviving buildings, the complex also represents the city’s tobacco trade industry, which peaked in the early 20th century when it became the second largest bright leaf tobacco market in the United States. The Imperial Tobacco Company Ltd. used the site as a tobacco processing facility ca 1913. The next owner of the property was the Tultex Corporation which used the site for the manufacture/sewing of garments from the mid-1960s until March 2000. At that point the plant shuttered and – until this redevelopment effort beginning in 2017 – had largely been used for warehouse space and interim short-term industrial uses.