WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Bill Benton has fond childhood memories of going to the old YWCA on Glade Street with his parents and sisters for lunch in the early 1950s, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
“For a long time, they had a cafeteria here,” he said. “It was my mother’s favorite. We ate Sunday lunch here.”
Now, Benton is about to call the landmark building home.
He has redeveloped the old YWCA building into seven condos called The Glade at West End, and one of the units is his. The Glade also will have 15 single-family homes built on the 5.6-acre site.
Benton said he bought the building from the YWCA because he was concerned about the property.
“At the price they were asking, I was concerned that the only thing it would be (was) a commercial development. In other words, tear all this down and cut down most of the trees and build a building in the middle surrounded by parking. I didn’t think the neighborhood would be for that, and I just like this building a lot.
Benton said he had to take down the trees in the middle of the property but tried to preserve as many as possible overall.
The Glade, an infill “for sale” residential community, is owned by West-End Renaissance Residence Development LLC in Winston-Salem. Benton and Bud Clark are the managing members.
West-End Renaissance Residence bought the property in September 2012 for $1.45 million, according to documents at the Forsyth County Register of Deeds.
For their day jobs, Benton is the chief executive and Clark is the chief financial officer of Salem Senior Housing, a management company that specializes primarily in low- and moderate-income elderly housing.
Built in 1942, the YWCA’s Colonial Revival style administration building was designed by local architect Harold Macklin. Its bricks were hand-molded by George Black, a local brick maker. The building’s features include symmetrical massing, Flemish bond brick, six-over-six wooden windows, and a slate-covered gable roof.
It has classical decorative features such as a fanlighted front door, dentilled brick cornice and corner quoins. The façade of the building appears to be one story, but the rear is two stories. The YWCA’s 1957 and 1982 additions, which included a pool and were designed by different architects, were demolished last year.
“It is very exciting to see a new development come into one of our historic districts,” said Michelle McCullough, a historic resource officer for the Forsyth County Historic Resources Commission. “Just because it’s a historic district doesn’t mean that it can’t continue to grow and have new houses and new portions of it.”
The Glade was designed with green features such as interconnectivity, energy and resource efficiency, and low-impact development.
Metropolis Architecture LLC, an architectural firm in Winston-Salem, has designed the project so that it can be considered for certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Neighborhood Development, or LEED-ND, Program. The LEED-ND certification provides independent, third-party verification that a development’s location and design meet accepted high levels of environmentally responsible, sustainable development. Metropolis is currently applying for LEED-ND.
The architectural firm said it designed The Glade “to seamlessly bend with the fabric of the historic West End neighborhood. “
Frank L. Blum Construction Co. in Winston-Salem is the contractor for the condos, and Blum Construction or Richard Alexander Custom Homes Inc. in Winston-Salem will be the contractor for the single-family homes.
Marty Marion, a partner with Metropolis, said there were a few challenges in working on the project.
“One of the biggest issues was trying to preserve as much of it as we could, knowing that it was a significant shift in purpose,” Marion said. “There are some beautiful arches inside.”
The doors and fan arch in Benton’s condo are all original. Some of the original knotty pine paneling in his unit had to be replaced, but the majority is still there.
Marion said that one of the building’s most striking features is a hand rail with curves on the back terrace.
“They’re elliptical shapes,” Marion said. “That was the original handrail. Sadly it didn’t meet current building codes, so we really wanted to adapt that somehow.”
The solution was a discrete, mesh-system guard rail placed behind the handrail.
The original parquet floor system throughout most of the building was also saved.
“There were some places we needed to fill in but nothing catastrophic,” said Anne Tambling, a partner with Metropolis.
Tambling called the parquet flooring’s herringbone pattern intricate and delicate.
“That’s definitely one of the special things about this building,” she said.
Michael Clapp, the president of Michael S. Clapp & Associates, a real-estate appraisal company in Winston-Salem, said that the West End location is a good residential area.
“It’s a very picturesque neighborhood. It’s got some rolling hillsides and the roads are all curving. It’s got some nice sidewalks and it’s got Grace Park. It’s real close to the ballpark. It’s very close to the hospital and ties in to the downtown area, as well.”
Benton hopes to have the condos completed by the first week in August and start construction on the initial single-family homes within 60 days. He expects the entire project to be finished within three to five years, depending on the pace of the market.
The condos range from $224,900 to $574,900, and the single-family homes range from $529,900 to $879,500.
So far two of the condos are under contract, including Benton’s, and a third unit has been reserved.
Despite the current push to develop apartments rather than condos in Winston-Salem, Benton is confident that The Glade’s condos will sell because of their location and amenities.
“The whole property is so nice,” Benton said. “You can walk down to the West End cluster of restaurants in five minutes. The other way is a medical center, just a few blocks from here. Not much further and you’re at a Harris Teeter and Thruway. It’s about as well located as you can get.”