The Rick Barker Airbnb project on Craghead Street, VANTAGE Art Lofts, is expected to be completed and operational at the end of this year.
On Thursday afternoon, the River District Design Committee unanimously approved new paint colors, markings and sculptures for the project at the 500th off Cragged Street Building, which will include animal sculptures featuring a 7-foot-high and 10-foot-tall red plastic elephant. About a foot on the sidewalk to grab attention.
“It’s going to be a talisman for the property,” Parker told Danville Register & Bee after the committee meeting.
The art-themed real estate project will also include sculptures of light blue and dark blue snails in the courtyard, fuchsia and lime green penguins inside the Airbnb building as well as two orange wolves, Parker said.
“It’s a long-term installation, years, not months,” architect Kevin Jones told commissioners.
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Rick Barker Properties teamed up with Cracking Art, based in Milan, Italy, for sculptures that would bring the 1960s pop art theme to match a mid-century interior.
“Our goal is to get creatives into the block,” Parker told the committee.
Committee Chairman George Davis III asked Parker if he was concerned about visitors damaging the sculptures.
“Are you worried about people spraying graffiti on them and parents having kids on them and taking pictures?” Davis said.
Parker said the structures would be hollow, strong, and able to withstand very little abuse. He added that graffiti can also come under pressure.
Rick Barker Properties has announced the new concept as part of its 500 Block real estate development on Craghead Street, in the Danville River District. VANTAGE Art Lofts is located at 546-550 Craghead Street, with nine apartment-style units including six one-bedroom suites and three two-bedroom suites.
The portion of the building at 548 Craighead, which was originally the Eldridge Drug Store in 1913, will serve as a central courtyard through which patrons 550 Craighead to the left and 546 to the right, both also constructed in 1913, will enter.
Parker said the building’s facades will be in varying shades of olive green and gray.
Originally the site of 550 Craghead was Swift and Company, a local butcher, and the 546 was originally built for Nabisco. The 1913 developer was John G. Witcher, a partner at Witcher and Brown Wood and Coal Yard, formerly at the same location.
To further the River District’s creative endeavors, Swift’s former loading dock will become an art studio, Parker announced Thursday.
Rick Barker Properties will also support the Artist in Residence program in the first half of 2023 and sponsor a global online competition to select three artists to spend eight weeks each in Danville. Each will be provided with an art loft, studio and pension, he said.
Jones is the architect and Mike Allen is the project manager. Jones Parker advised all visual aspects of the project, from architecture to interior design and branding.
Parker said the historic buildings went decades without maintenance and were partially destroyed during Tropical Storm Michael in October 2018. They have been structurally stabilized through defensive planning to minimize the impact of future flooding.