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5 years after nearly going bankrupt, Petersburg bounces back

5 years after nearly going bankrupt, Petersburg bounces back
Posted at 5:47 PM, Nov 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-01 17:47:00-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- On the brink of being bankrupt just five years ago, the City of Petersburg is now seeing investors buying up commercial, residential and industrial sites in the last 12 months.

The amount of buying is expected to increase now that the city has received another positive bond rating.

“People were saying it would take Petersburg decades to climb out of this massive hole," Mayor Sam Parham said.

Five years have passed since the city was almost bankrupt and now the mayor says that the new life of Petersburg is "vibrant".

Six months ago, Kathleen McCay thought buying a restaurant in Old Towne Petersburg would be a sound investment.

“Because you could see the growth in the community, you could see the growth in the Old Towne area, and you could see the people bringing it back to life," McCay said.

Some investors say she made the right decision with the city's recovery in full swing 

“To do it in five years, to have an A Plus rating, I mean we are just ecstatic here in Petersburg," said Mayor Mayer.

City of Petersburg's Finance Director Stacey Jordan says the city is in a good financial state.

"The City of Petersburg has received four bond ratings in the past two years, that is outstanding for any locality," Jordan.

Millions are pouring in from multiple pharmaceutical companies investing in infrastructure.

Investors are also buying up commercial real estate, according to Joe Battiston.

“Within the last year, I’ve had several real estate and investors staying in my Air BnBs, they came down specifically to check out both commercial and residential properties in the area, a few of them have actually purchased while they were here."

Battiston has owned multiple properties in the city since 1988.

“Buildings that have been sitting for sale for years, I’m talking eight to ten years, just got snatched up at prices that knock my socks off," Battiston said. “Because of the bond rating going up, people feel much more comfortable about coming into the city".

The downtown area has seen many buildings being bought up says Carlos Colindres, the owner of El Mundo De Las Delicias on Sycamore Street 

“Last 12 months, a lot of people have been coming in, investing. Companies from out of state, New York specifically, local people around have been buying up buildings left and right".

Drive through Petersburg neighborhoods and Real Estate Broker Jeff Clark says, "For Sale" signs don’t stay up long 

“So the last 12 months in Petersburg is so much different that used to be".

The A Plus Bond Rating, Clark says, is just an added incentive for buyers to invest in Petersburg 

“What it means for the city is that values are increasing due to the high demand and low supply and it just driving people to the Petersburg market."

Stacey Jordan says that the city is asking potential Investors 

“Come see, come see for yourself."

If investments continue as they have the past twelve months, local owners are hoping the City would consider lowering the tax rate, which could lead to more investments in the City.