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What’s Going On? ‘494 Lofts’ in Downtown Boone

The 494 Lofts apartment complex is expected to be ready by August 2014. Photos by Ken Ketchie
The 494 Lofts apartment complex is expected to be ready by August 2014. Photos by Ken Ketchie

By Jesse Wood

Feb. 24, 2014. Neighboring Hob Nob Café and across the street from Boone Saloon, the newest addition to the plethora of apartment complexes in and around Boone is 494 Lofts, a Winkler Organization Inc. mixed-use development slated to rent in time for fall semester 2014.

The three-story development, named after its address on West King Street, features 12 efficiencies, 8 one-bedroom apartments and 5 two-bedroom apartments priced at $700, $750 and $650, respectively, according to advertising pamphlets on the property.

Artist rendering from Winkler Organization website.
Artist rendering from Winkler Organization website.

The 0.224-acre property has no parking for tenants, who must provide proof that they either do not own a vehicle or have already leased a parking space elsewhere. Johnny Cooke, the initial developer of the project, agreed to this condition in February 2012 whenever members of the Boone Board of Adjustment expressed concern about tenants filling parking spaces reserved for area businesses, according to meeting minutes.

The development also brought about questions regarding building height. How tall is too tall for a new building in downtown? Initial plans called for a four-story, 54-foot-tall building. At the continued meeting in March, Nova Nelson, owner of Hob Knob Café, spoke during a public hearing on the property and noted that Hob Nob Café has a height of 17 feet, Boone Saloon 16 feet; and the building housing Jimmy John’s at street level has a height of 33 feet.

“Nelson felt a three story building for this location would be more appropriate,” the minutes read.

The Board of Adjustment approved a special use permit for a setback variance in early 2012 but a new developer for the project – John Winkler of the Winkler Organization – came back in October 2013 to modify the site-specific development plans and receive a special use permit based on those modifications.

According to meeting minutes, changes included:

  • lower the building to 3 stories with maximum height of 41 feet
  • change pitched roof to flat roof to help blend with downtown
  • smaller overall building footprint of 5,450 square feet to 5,184 square feet
  • change first floor use from restaurant/brewery to traditional retailer

Before the building was demolished, a Hospitality House-run residence existed at the location. 

Wes Berry, marketing and advertising director for the Winkler Organization, noted that grading of the property began last week. Berry mentioned that in addition to the 30 total beds, the commercial space will feature two bays with a combined total of 3,000 square feet.

Berry said that the Winkler Organization is having no trouble finding tenants before the building has been constructed with all of the one-bedroom apartments leased so far.

“We are down to just a couple of two-bedroom units and efficiencies,” Berry said. “It will line up leasing nicely.”  

Berry continued that 494 lofts will be a “nice little space downtown for those needing a short commute” to the college or to their workplace in and around downtown Boone. He added that the 494 Lofts will have a “nice mix” of students and professionals.  

For more information about the 494 Lofts or Winkler Organization, click here

This photo is on site for those wanting to know more information.