JMU Madison Spring/Summer 2012 : Page 14

BETHECHANGE Barry Kelley (’83) and Andrew Forward (’86) shared an inspiration to help revitalize downtown while honoring the area’s history and their alma mater’s outreach. Revitalizing downtown Harrisonburg Development duo honor area history while retooling historic sites b y g ab r i e lle pic c i n i n n i ( ’ 1 1 ) I . 14 Ma d i s o n n the last nine years, residency in the heart of Harrisonburg’s downtown has increased 250 per-cent, due in part to the innovative minds of two Madison alumni, andrew Forward (’86) and Barry Kelley (’83). This development duo has helped merge the Madison and Harrisonburg communities — the campus’ and city’s spirit, environment, cul-ture and vibrancy. Forward and Kelley teamed up in 2005 with plans to bring positive change to downtown Harrisonburg and give back to the community that fostered their educa-tion. Forward studied political science as an undergraduate, while Kelley studied biology, but both dukes built success-ful careers in real estate. Forward is the owner of Chathill & associates and Kelley is the president of Matchbox Realty. Together, they are the co-developers of The Flats at City exchange and the Urban exchange apartment complexes in downtown Harrisonburg. although City exchange and Urban exchange were carried out with vastly different strategies and development styles, the same motivation fueled the goals of both ventures. Forward and Kelley wanted to bring life back to the area to stimulate the economy as well as to buttress the relationship between the Har-risonburg and JMU communities. Ma g az i n e Historical perspectives on the corner of West gay street and noll drive sits a long brick building embla-zoned with bold black and white paint spelling out “City Produce exchange: Butter eggs & Poultry. established 1908.” in its heyday, City Produce was the largest chicken-fattening and egg production enterprise of its kind in the country. By the mid-1940s the produce busi-ness changed, however, causing owners to sell the building to the Wetsel seed Co. Founded in 1911, Wetsel seed Co. was one of the largest seed companies in the eastern U.s. and one of the world’s primary sources of orchard grass seeds. outgrowing its West Market street locale, Wetsel began to seek out properties for additional storage and cleaning space. They found their solution only a few blocks away at the City Produce exchange and bought the prop-erty in 1949. at the time the $100,000 purchase was the largest real estate transaction in Harrisonburg history. Harrisonburg’s downtown was not immune — like many downtown communities across the nation — to the 1970s explo-sion of suburbia and retail malls relocating stores to larger centers. pho t o g r aph s b y M i k e M i r i e ll o ( ’ 0 9 M )

Be The Change

Gabrielle Piccininni

Barry Kelley (’83) and Andrew Forward (’86) shared an inspiration to help revitalize downtown while honoring the area’s history and their alma mater’s outreach.<br /> <br /> .In the last nine years, residency in the heart of Harrisonburg’s downtown has increased 250 percent, due in part to the innovative minds of two Madison alumni, andrew Forward (’86) and Barry Kelley (’83). This development duo has helped merge the Madison and Harrisonburg communities — the campus’ and city’s spirit, environment, culture and vibrancy.<br /> <br /> Forward and Kelley teamed up in 2005 with plans to bring positive change to downtown Harrisonburg and give back to the community that fostered their education. Forward studied political science as an undergraduate, while Kelley studied biology, but both dukes built successful careers in real estate. Forward is the owner of Chathill & associates and Kelley is the president of Matchbox Realty. Together, they are the co-developers of The Flats at City exchange and the Urban exchange apartment complexes in downtown Harrisonburg.<br /> <br /> Although City exchange and Urban exchange were carried out with vastly different strategies and development styles, the same motivation fueled the goals of both ventures. Forward and Kelley wanted to bring life back to the area to stimulate the economy as well as to buttress the relationship between the Harrisonburg and JMU communities.<br /> <br /> Historical perspectives<br /> <br /> On the corner of West gay street and noll drive sits a long brick building emblazoned with bold black and white paint spelling out “City Produce exchange: Butter eggs & Poultry. Established 1908.” in its heyday, City Produce was the largest chicken-fattening and egg production enterprise of its kind in the country. By the mid-1940s the produce business changed, however, causing owners to sell the building to the Wetsel seed Co.<br /> <br /> Founded in 1911, Wetsel seed Co. Was one of the largest seed companies in the eastern U.s. and one of the world’s primary sources of orchard grass seeds. Outgrowing its West Market street locale, Wetsel began to seek out properties for additional storage and cleaning space. They found their solution only a few blocks away at the City Produce exchange and bought the property in 1949. At the time the $100,000 purchase was the largest real estate transaction in Harrisonburg history.<br /> <br /> Harrisonburg’s downtown was not immune — like many downtown communities across the nation — to the 1970s explosion of suburbia and retail malls relocating stores to larger centers.<br /> <br /> A vision to restore<br /> <br /> Forward and Kelley saw the decline of Harrisonburg’s downtown and were determined to make a change. They started with a plan to restore vibrancy back into the historic site of the City produce exchange. They knew a residential space close to downtown could return life and retail opportunities. It’s an initiative similar to that of the Harrisonburg Downtown renaissance organization, formed in 2003. “One of our goals is to encourage and promote downtown living,” says Downtown renaissance executive Director eddie Bumbaugh (’73). “The rationale is if you live downtown, you’re more likely to shop, dine and attend events downtown.”<br /> <br /> To maintain the site’s rustic roots Forward and Kelley worked with the Virginia Department of Historic resources to convert City exchange into 32 luxury apartments. The development duo also embraced the original structure by reusing old doors and windows and by exposing original beams and brick walls. Mirroring Jmu’s history, City exchange successfully marries modern innovation with part of Harrisonburg’s agricultural history.<br /> <br /> After myriad positive responses to the City exchange revitalization, the duo set their sites on the urban exchange project. “We saw an opportunity to link up with the expansion of Jmu and what it offers,” explains Forward. In the last 15 years, Jmu has implemented 20 academic programs, constructed 25 buildings and increased campus by 2.4 million square feet. With a 37 percent increase in enrollment, the need for additional offcampus housing was immediate.<br /> <br /> We saw Urban Exchange becoming a place where campus, city and corporation live together.’<br /> <br /> — Barry Kelley (’83) , real estate developer<br /> <br /> “We saw urban exchange becoming a place where campus, city and corporation live together,” says Kelley. “it is a one of a kind that was designed for the needs of our community.”<br /> <br /> Remembering his undergraduate biology studies, Kelley adds, “it might have been wise to take a few business classes, but my biology professors taught me to process information logically. We were taught how to organize, classify and identify. This in itself provided an appreciation of systems and logic. In a simplistic view, real property plus the people that need and use it is an ecosystem. The social, physical and emotional aspects of places all factor into its function with people… it comes down to how we live, it is part of our biology.”<br /> <br /> Sustainability with a nod to history<br /> <br /> Echoing the reintegration of on-site materials at City exchange, a key feature of the urban exchange project was to build affordably and sustainably. Forward and Kelley closely adhered to u.s. green Building Council principles throughout construction. Despite its expressively modern appearance, the inspiration of the building’s design stemmed from Harrisonburg’s agricultural heritage. “The mechanics, the factories, the silos in the horizon are very rich and full of energy,” explains urban exchange architect, philippe Jentsch.<br /> <br /> Within walking distance of the Jmu campus, the Farmer’s market, historic sites, and an increasing number of restaurants and shops, urban exchange and The Flats at City exchange are helping bring downtown Harrisonburg back to full bloom. But more important than the standing structures are the students, community members and alumni who walk through the streets and about campus, honoring Harrisonburg’s history and molding its future.<br /> <br /> Read more about Urban Exchange’s inspiration and architecture at www.liveue.com. Learn more about downtown Harrisonburg at www.downtownharrisonburg.org<br /> <br /> Madison Forever<br /> Carrie Combs<br /> <br /> giving makes the difference<br /> <br /> Checking in with Madison For Keeps scholarship recipient and IT recruiter Ashley Gregory (’11)<br /> <br /> In the last few years, numerous universities across the nation have experienced unprecedented numbers of students with urgent financial needs resulting from unforeseen changes in family income. Acting without hesitation, JMU deployed Madison For Keeps in 2009, an emergency fundraising campaign, to aid students with the greatest financial need. Thanks to a host of JMU alumni and donors, more than 100 students were able to finish their Madison experiences. Now JMU has created Madison Forever, a permanent program that enables JMU financial aid officers the flexibility to help students with the greatest need. Madison checks in with ashley gregory (’11), who says alumni giving had a lasting impact on her Madison experience.<br /> <br /> Madison: What have you been up to since graduating?<br /> <br /> Ashley Gregory (’11): after graduating from the College of Business as a management major, i started my full-time job three weeks later working as a recruiter for an iT staffing agency. In my first three months, i learned that my education benefitted me more than other young colleagues. I could apply concepts and knowledge much more quickly.<br /> <br /> As a student in financial need, how did you learn about Madison For Keeps?<br /> <br /> Gregory: My accounting professor Paul Copley told me about Madison For Keeps. I applied for the emergency funding, which allowed me to return for my junior year. Without Madison For Keeps, i would not have been able to finish my education.<br /> <br /> What changed in your life that put your Madison Experience at risk?<br /> <br /> Gregory: My father passed away from pancreatic cancer. Losing the breadwinner of the family made it nearly impossible to return to JMU. Between the out-of-state tuition, cost of living and travel expenses, the money just wasn’t there. The Madison For Keeps program was so fast and the need was so urgent. The financial aid office took that into consideration and turned it around to make an immediate impact. I now have my dream job in Boston working for an iT staffing agency.<br /> <br /> Madison For Keeps helped students with situations like mine. It’s important to help others in their time of need. Some people feel it’s kind of embarrassing to talk about not having enough money, but that’s just not the case.<br /> <br /> I’m not going to turn down any help that allows me to continue my education. That is something my dad would have wanted me to do.<br /> <br /> What would you tell Madison Forever donors?<br /> <br /> Gregory: Their generosity allows students like myself, who have either gone through personal troubles or have been affected by our country’s economic downturn, to continue their education. A JMU education is Proven to be more valuable in a student’s future than any sum of money. Anyone who is considering donating to Madison Forever should do so without any hesitation. Their donation will truly have a positive impact on the future of deserving JMU students. Because of the generosity of Madison For Keeps donors, i will be in a position to donate myself one day.<br /> <br /> Learn more about Gregory and give to Madison Forever at www.jmu.edu/madisonforever

Read the full article at http://browndigital.bpc.com/article/Be+The+Change/1047349/109460/article.html.

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