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ANDRE TEAGUE/BRISTOL HERALD COURIER — Auctioneer Bart Long, right, goes over the paperwork with Tommy Shrader of Rosedale, VA after Shrader placed the winning bid Saturday morning to purchase the 501 State St. building.

New owner mulling over plans for downtown landmark building

February 06, 2012

Article By: Allie Robinson | TriCities.com — Published: February 05, 2012
The new owner of the 19th century stone and brick building at the corner of State and Lee streets is still mulling over the building’s potential before making any plans for it.“I really don’t have any plans for it right now,” Tommy Shrader, of Rosedale, Va., said Saturday after placing the winning bid on the building. “I will probably try to do something with the tenant on the first floor, and maybe put offices on the second floor.”

The three-story building has housed Java J’s coffee shop on the ground floor for nearly 12 years, and owner Julie Marion hopes she and Shrader can ink out a deal to keep the shop there.

“I have hopeful expectations that Java J’s will remain open,” she said.

The building at 501 State St. sold for $235,000 in a public auction held Saturday morning on the third floor. About a hundred people turned out but only a handful bid on the 9,600-square-foot structure. With the 10 percent buyer’s premium, the total cost of the building to Shrader was $268,500. City tax records list the appraised value of the building at $169,300.

Auctioneer Bart Long said the price was a good sale for both the buyer and the seller.

“It’s a happy medium,” he said. “We’re very pleased with the results.”

Java J’s has been in the building since 2000, and the upper floors are both vacant, cleared of furniture but in need of repair. The building, unlike many on State Street, hasn’t been renovated – most of the building is still original from it’s completion in 1898.

During the auction, Long said the building was a “piece of history.”

“You’re not buying a building put up in 90 days on Exit 7,” he said. “You’re buying a true piece of history ... in one of the fastest-growing downtowns on the East Coast.”

Shrader said he learned about the auction about a week ago when he was in Bristol for a concert.

“I like these old buildings,” he said. “It’s a corner building; there’s not too many of them left.”

He said he felt like it was a good opportunity to buy the building, and then figure out what to put in it – whether it is offices, or loft apartments on the well-lit third floor, from which one can look out over the Bristol sign.

“I like this corner view, and the corner area,” Shrader said.

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