Mainstreet Waynesboro Transforms Vacant Building into Vibrant Community Hub


When Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc. demolished a structurally deficient building in 2016 to create a park and events space, it did so while continuing to eye the vacant building next door.

The structure at 21 E. Main St. wasn’t much to see at the time. But Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc.’s leadership was already considering how to make the building a permanent home for the organization’s offices, a welcome center and rental space for businesses.

Construction work that started in July 2023 moved the vision forward in a big way.

“I love watching the progress being made at 21 E. Main St. to develop such a multifunctional space. People ask about the project all the time, so there already is quite the buzz,” said Bill Kohler, director of economic development.

With an anticipated completion in early 2025, architect and Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc. supporter Don Smith’s plan will be fulfilled with a restaurant and banquet space to be paired with the welcome center and Mainstreet Waynesboro’s offices. Outdoor dining is in the works as well.

“There is a lot of versatility incorporated into the design,” Kohler said.

The building at 21 E. Main St. was at one time a menswear retail shop. Its second act aims to provide downtown patrons with food and beverages as a complement to the farmers’ market, events stage and activity space in adjacent Main Street Park.

County, state and federal grants as well as more than $300,000 in local donations are providing a foundation for the $2.5 million project. In-kind contributions from contractors have helped Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc. advance the redevelopment.

Kohler said special events, niche retailers, arts programming and multiple dining options have contributed to increased interest and a renaissance in downtown Waynesboro. He is particularly looking forward to the welcome center serving as a starting point for visitors exploring all Waynesboro has to offer.

“This center with easy access to Center Square and borough hall will serve as a one-stop shop for people new to town,” he said. “This is simply the latest in the exciting things happening here.”

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