CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A piece of Charleston’s history is being transformed into new downtown apartments.

That history is the Charmco Building, originally constructed in 1914. The Charmco Building is located on 606 Morris St. in Charleston.

“From what I’ve seen so far, obviously we’re here every day, it appears they’re trying to save the initial structure,” General Manager of Charleston’s Dirty Birds Jeremy Taylor said. “They’ve taken a big, long garage off the side of it and the back of the building off, and it seems now they’ve moved inside the side of the building to work on that.”  

Taylor has a front row seat as the Charmco building comes back to life as the building sits right next to the GoMart Ballpark.

The plan is to create a mix of studio, one bedroom and two-bedroom apartments in the former mill.

“Having that building sit for 18, 19 years, we’ve always wondered if anyone was ever going to do anything with it,” Taylor said.

Taylor said he thinks the reconstruction is a great way to invite more people to the ballpark and to some of the other venues in downtown Charleston.

“Everybody had big, bright ideas for it. To me, it’s a positive because I like to see more people living downtown,” Taylor said.

The Woda Cooper Group Housing Firm bought the building back in December, and construction crews have already started renovating the Charmco building. 

The Charleston Area Alliance published a housing study on downtown Charleston in 2020.  

The study revealed that downtown Charleston needed to build around 424 apartment units within the next five years.  

“We felt like we had pretty adequate upper income, felt that the Charleston had adequate what we would call lower income housing, but what was missing was everything in the middle. So, that’s what we tried to focus the study on and our efforts on,” said Vice President of Community Development Susie Salisbury.

Salisbury said the Charmco Lofts can help fill this need for more housing, just like Charleston’s Atlas and Parkview lofts.   

“It generates a whole different market of customers and user groups for all the amenities and businesses and all that that is that strong infrastructure that’s in downtown,” Salisbury said.

The Charmco Loft project is slated to cost about $14 million. Woda Group applied for American Rescue Plan Act funds to finance this project through the city of Charleston, but the city has not approved their application.  

Charleston City Council did pass a resolution on April 17 to provide the Charmco Lofts with underground water utilities.

Woda Group hopes to have the apartments ready for move in by next spring.