GLOUCESTER – Lynchburg developer Charles Stewart Smith, who recently bought the former SunTrust bank building on Main Street in Gloucester, had been looking at the site for a few years.
Michelle Sanderson, the property manager for Smith Realty, said the developer was interested in a new project.
“That just looked to be a perfect fit for him,” she said.
It will be transformed into a special events venue for weddings, graduations, business gatherings, craft events, wine tastings, art shows, and more.
However, the goal is to maintain the historical integrity of the bank. That includes the name of the new venue, The Vault.
“We really want to capitalize on using that bit of nostalgia from past experiences to make it a special place for people,” Sanderson said.
Work will be needed to transform the original bank vaults into a space large enough for people to gather, but it won’t be like starting from nothing.
“The vaults are still intact,” Sanderson said. “The doors and the locks are still intact.”
The developer doesn’t have any architectural drawings yet, but Sanderson said there are no plans for major upgrades to the outside of the building other than landscaping. Smith Realty representatives are in discussions with the Gloucester Main Street Association and Gloucester County Economic Development. No timeline has been established, but The Vault could open by the end of 2023.
“We’re just very excited to be able to bring this space to the downtown Gloucester area that’s going to encourage new visitor growth and hopefully help out the rest of the business on the street as well,” Sanderson said.
Smith is no stranger to the county. He owns Eagle Point Plantation near Warner Hall. He is looking into the possibility of turning that waterfront property, which consists of a main residence and three rental properties, into a bed and breakfast.
“Maybe after we get the bank more situated … so people that are utilizing the bank for these special events also have a special place to stay while they’re in town,” Sanderson said. “But there’s a lot of potential out there.”
Sanderson said the company is looking at the feasibility of the concept, and it hasn’t advanced past the idea stage.
“It’s definitely something we’re considering,” she said.