Developer Will Cromley informed Alexandria city officials Monday evening that he has sold the historic Carver Nursery School to a company that plans to restore and expand the building so it will eventually house a pediatric dental practice.
Cromley, who purchased the structure about five years ago, sent a note stating Stephanie Sample and Al Cox of the city’s Department of Planning and Zoning facilitated the redevelopment plan for the building.
“Their commitment and creativity made preservation of this building possible,” Cromley wrote.
Earlier this year, local preservationists worked frantically to circumvent a deadline that allowed Cromley to raze the building. The preservationists urged the city to purchase the building, but officials resisted. In February, City Council offered its support for private fundraising efforts in a resolution.
Located at 224 N. Fayette St. in the city’s Parker-Gray neighborhood, the structure was built in 1944 to educate African-American children during World War II. It later became the William Thomas American Legion Post 129, but its members stopped using the facility in 2007. The building has since remained vacant.
The city previously approved a plan from Cromley to have the structure torn down. A lawsuit and subsequent agreement allowed the building to stand for about two more years with the idea that a buyer or a means to preserve it would be found.
In light of the efforts to save the building over the winter, Cromley agreed on “good-faith” to let the building sit after receiving some assurances that a purchaser will emerge in "a reasonable amount of time," he told Patch in February.
In May, the Parker-Gray Board of Architectural Review approved a renovation and expansion proposal, but Cromley kept a tight lip on the specific plans.
That same month, he had the original asbestos siding on the structure removed to remove that burden from potential purchasers.
VSPD Properties LLC, the new owners of the building, plan to begin construction in the fall. The renovation is expected to be completed by early summer 2014, according to Cromley’s note.