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UVa Group Moving Headquarters To Old Coca-Cola Facility

Tuesday, April 14, 2015  
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As reported in the Charlottesville Business Journal, the University of Virginia Licensing and Ventures Group has agreed to lease 9,640 square feet of office space in the historic Preston Avenue building, joining a beer hall/restaurant and a bicycle shop in moving into the 76-year-old, 38,000-square-foot building.

Officials said the location puts the group in a location that is both close to UVa and to companies that started up through technology developed by university researchers.

“As the University of Virginia has continued to experience increases in innovation and intellectual property, it is creating new startups and we are simply outgrowing our space,” said Michael Straightiff, director of the licensing and ventures group. “When we looked at the ability to be close to the university and be in proximity to the startup community that’s rising in that area, we jumped at the chance.”

“It’s going to be primarily office space. In a full-service intellectual property management organization like ours, we want to be close to that community, and the Harris Street and Dale Avenue area has become a popular location for startup companies emerging from UVa,” he said. “There’s about seven or eight companies over there now.”

Alan Taylor, of Riverbend Development Inc., which owns the building, said renovations to the old beverage plant should be completed in the next two months with tenants having access to their spaces in May. Built in 1939, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings in 2013 because of its historic nature and its Art Deco style.

“Riverbend is extremely pleased to be leading the restoration and redevelopment of this historic Charlottesville landmark,” Taylor said. “We are also proud to have a talented team in place of local architects, master builders, artisans and financial partners who share in the ownership of revitalizing this iconic building.”

For UVa’s Licensing and Ventures Group, the building’s history, the industrial innovation it represented in 1939 and Riverbend’s efforts at remodeling are inspiring.

“When you’re serving the innovative community at the university, you really want to be in an innovative space. We are constrained somewhat by the historic nature of the building, but it’s a pretty wide-open space where we’ll be located,” Straightiff said.

“We’re occupying a former truck-loading area, and the thought of the brick walls, concrete floors and natural wood is pretty exciting,” he said. “At the time, it was an innovative building and there is a lot of innovation going into how the building will be used. That’s a pretty exciting environment to be in.”

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