Reimaging Earl’s Glass: Feasibility Study Identifies Potential New Use for Historic Property in Orange, VA

In 2021, Love Orange Virginia (LOVe) was awarded a $25,000 Financial Feasibility Grant (FFG) to help identify the highest and best adaptive use of the former Earl’s Glass Shop building in downtown Orange and formulate any plans or studies that would help the property owner to redevelop the property or allow the local Main Street organizations to “shop” the rehabilitation and reuse of the building to private developers.

The building, located at 141 Caroline Street and listed in the Orange Commercial Historic District National Register nomination, was constructed c. 1930 and originally served as a service station to support Orange’s burgeoning automobile dealerships – growing to as many as eight (8) at one time, which is quite a feat for a small, rural town. After nearly 40 years, the property was sold and retrofitted to house a small glass business. In May 2021, the building changed hands again and was bought by a local resident and business owner that wanted to ensure the landmark’s preservation and reimagine its contribution to Orange’s historic commercial district.

The feasibility study, completed by Frazier Associates and Complete Community Economies, LLC, included a market study, business plan and pro forms, building code review, preservation analysis, scope of work, architectural schematic designs and construction cost estimates for the best possible adaptive reuse for the building. Ultimately, the study determined that a “burger joint” would be most suitable for the property, one that features al fresco dining, local craft brews and regional vineyards, as well as maximizes the ample greenspace that abuts the property. Helping to fill a market gap, such a concept would help to transition customers from the highway to downtown Orange and transform the vacant building into a welcoming place that activates the important gateway area upon which it’s located, while also serving as a valuable connector for the community.

If you’re ever passing through or visiting downtown Orange, keep an eye out for this building’s transformation!

Photo Credit (Earl’s Glass Shop): Frazier Associates

Photo Credit (Drawings): Frazier Associates