Local News

Renovated car dealership could be start to green Fuquay-Varina

Posted July 13, 2009 6:48 a.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2009 9:01 a.m. EDT

— Developers hope the environmentally-friendly renovation of a landmark car dealership could be the start of a green revolution in Fuquay-Varina.

Eric Christofferson is renovating the old Mitchell Chevrolet dealership in downtown. When Mack Mitchell opened the building 60 years ago, it was the first Chevrolet dealership in southern Wake County.

"We knew this was an important building to the downtown area," Christofferson said.

He and his wife bought the dealership several years ago and are working to renovate it into The Mitchell, a downtown retail and restaurant space.

The couple quickly decided to go green with their building project, in particular using solar energy.

"We found out about with these flexible solar panels and decided to go with them," Christofferson said.

The couple took advantage of a 35 percent state tax credit – "one of the best in the nation" – and a 30 percent federal tax credit to build the system, he said. Those credits and others will allow the solar panel system to pay for itself in 5 years.

The panels will connect to the power grid, and Progress Energy will pay the Christoffersons for the 10 kilowatts of sun-generated energy.

"Those monies will go back into the building and benefit the tenants," Christofferson said.

Town leaders said they hope the project will be the start of a greener future for Fuquay-Varina.

"There's a lot of older buildings along this route," said Ron Tropich, executive director of the Fuquay-Varina Chamber of Commerce. "If they could do it here, other buildings could do it and renovate there."

The Mitchell is slated to open in the fall, and its first tenant will be a wine bar.

The Christoffersons hope they'll draw other retailers who will give an environmentally-friendly boost to the town.

"There's a great effort here to revitalize downtown," Christofferson said. "It would be nice if Fuquay-Varina became known as the green mecca of southern Wake County. It's a possibility."