Reporter: Heather Rosenbaum | Videographer: RJ Burnette
Danville, VA -- If there is one thing business owners in downtown Danville can agree on, it's the need for parking. City officials say they may soon have a solution.The Industrial Development Authority purchased the former Acree's Warehouse and they intend to turn into a parking garage.
As the former Dan River Research Building transforms, so will its neighbor, opening up more parking and convenience downtown.
"It just make sense the way it is structured to allow just retrofitting the inside of the building for the most part for parking," said Jeremy Stratton, director of Economic Development.
Stratton says the parking was originally to be used for the doctors offices across the street. But with about half of the funding coming from a state grant, the city has been required to make some spots available for everyone.
"We want all of the parties to be win-win and we think in this case that everyone is going to benefit," said Stratton.
After hours, all 150 to 200 spots go public.
"Parking has always been a concern for downtown Danville because a lot of people don't like to parallel park and that is pretty much all there is on the street. So a lot of people keep driving if it is not convenient for them to park," said LeeAnn Neddo, owner of Gourmet Frog.
Neddo worries about her downtown store losing business because the lack of parking.
"I think it will definitely help. It's going to bring a lot more people down here without the fear of having to hunt and hunt for a place to park," she said.
Others agree and say more development means more traffic and a greater need for spaces.
"We do need parking and that will help a lot," said Jerry Amburn, owner of Amburn and Company Salon.
Another group that is pleased about this project are local historians because the historical facade will remain mostly untouched. The city plans to turn the lot over to the doctors after 10 years, which is how long the grant tells them they have to wait.