A former Salvation Army shelter is headed for redevelopment into apartments and commercial space.

The Red Shield Lodge, located at 821 Salem Ave. in Roanoke, was purchased by 113 Norfolk Avenue LLC late last year for $300,000, according to city GIS records. Developer John Garland is behind the project.

The shelter was shuttered in the spring of 2018 after nearly 40 years in operation. Garland said the Salvation Army was set to demolish the building when a friend of his in the real estate business reached out to the developer about the property.

"We’re familiar with the West End and see that as an area turning around in a lot of positive ways," he said.

He noted that The Electra apartments, another Garland redevelopment project in the West End neighborhood completed in 2016, were well-received and leased "almost immediately."

Plans call for 18 units, six of which will be two-bedroom loft apartments in the former gymnasium, Garland said.

There will also be commercial space on the first floor. Garland said he doesn't have a particular kind of tenant in mind. He acknowledged it's a bit off the beaten path for a restaurant but said it would be well-suited for offices or a small church.

As a historic preservation project, it will retain or restore elements of the building's architecture. The structure was built in the 1940s.

The city's board of zoning appeals will consider granting a special exception for the project at its Dec. 11 meeting. Garland said he was optimistic about its approval.

Garland said a contractor is lined up and he hopes to begin work on the project in mid-December after getting approval from the board of zoning appeals. He said he anticipates a summer opening.

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Casey Fabris covers business for The Roanoke Times, where she has been a reporter since 2015. Previously, Casey covered Franklin County.

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