Reason for Celebration! Matchbox Properties win big at HDR’s Annual Design Excellence Awards


Packed house at Clementine Cafe for the Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance awards!

Packed house at Clementine Cafe for the HDR awards!

Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance held its annual awards and celebration last night (think the Oscars of Harrisonburg without the red carpet and artistic talent).   Hosted by Clementine’s, the event highlighted what was new to downtown in the past year as well as what’s coming over the next twelve months.   New businesses including Shenandoah Joe coffee and Pure Eats were announced among several other vibrant businesses soon to call Downtown Harrisonburg home.

The highlight of the evening came as Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance announced its winners for Design Excellence including TWO Matchbox properties!

Design Excellence for Historic Renovation went to 126/128 Bruce Street (home to Food Bar Food, Blue Ridge Architects, and Approved Colleges) and the Livery Building (home to Bella Luna Wood Fired Pizza and Shabby Love Furniture).

Design Excellence for Historic Renovation - 126/128 Bruce Street

Design Excellence for Historic Renovation – 126/128 Bruce Street

Design Excellence for Historic Renovation - Livery Building

Design Excellence for Historic Renovation – Livery Building

Design Excellence for Adaptive Re-Use went to The Ice House. The Ice House currently houses ten commercial businesses and thirty-four residential apartments.

Design Excellence for Adaptive Re-Use -  Ice House

Design Excellence for Adaptive Re-Use – Ice House

In addition to these amazing design awards, Matchbox’s CEO Barry Kelley and his partner Andrew Forward were awarded Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance’s first ever Downtown Heroes award!

Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance Awards

Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance Awards

It is an honor and a privilege to continue building this downtown community and we thank you from the bottoms of our hearts for allowing us to serve your property needs!

Downtown Harrisonburg named Great American Main Street (Video)

Downtown Harrisonburg has been named a Great American Main Street in 2014! Check out the video above to see all of the awesome Downtown Harrisonburg has to offer. Also, make sure to notice how Matchbox’s Livery building, Urban Exchange, Walton Hotel, Wine Bros. building, and Ice House all get a shoutout!

Save the Date: Pickers Paradise Sale hosted by Shabby Love

Barn Sale 2014

Barn Sale 2014

 Have you visited Shabby Love (80 West Water Street) at the newly renovated Livery Building?   If so, you know Hanna Kappes and her team of repurposing wizards have some of the most unique and beautiful furniture in all of Virginia.   You may even ask yourself, my, how does Hanna find such incredible pieces to begin with?!?   Shabby Love is giving us a glimpse into their magical process this fall with Pickers Paradise at The Market at Grelan on Friday & Saturday, September 26th-27th from 9:00am to 4:00pm.

Wow, this event is four months away, so why are we writing about it now?   The reason is that Shabby is openly soliciting vendors from all across Virginia so everyone and anyone can participate.   So if you’re out there, little person with a shed full of nostalgia and a pocket full of dreams, reach out to Hanna and the Shabby Love team here to get a spot at the most exciting pickers event in the whole entire world (as far as I know).

80’s Music Downtown on Fat Tuesday

I want you to really digest that title.

80’s Music Downtown On Fat Tuesday



Who doesn’t love 80’s music?  Someone, somewhere, but I guarantee that person is lonely and loveless. How about Downtown Harrisonburg?  Um, you’re on this blog so obviously you are into this sort of thing. And Fat Tuesday?!?  Are you kidding me?  Fat Tuesday is the holy grail of fun weekdays, you don’t have to live in New Orleans to know that!

So now that we all know what’s at stake, let’s talk specifics.  Love Cannon will be performing at Bella Luna (80 West Water Street) on Tuesday, March 4th beginning at 7:00pm.  In order to see this fantastic show of retro awesome there are two steps: 1) make a reservation at Bella Luna (540.433.1366) and 2) buy tickets to the show ($12 per person in advance).


As a wise man named Notorious B.I.G. once said, “If you don’t know, now you know!”

Livery Lofts Big Chill Blue

Check out what JUST arrived at Livery Lofts!

One of the most exciting parts about living at the new Livery Lofts in Downtown Harrisonburg is being a living part of a historic building and creating a new history of your own.  In line with that spirit, the Livery Lofts feature brand new Big Chill refrigerators that emulate the classic units of the 40s, 50s and 60s.  These colorful appliances really add pizazz and color to the already unique apartments and deliver even more character to these super cool units.


Livery Lofts Downtown Harrisonburg

Livery Lofts move-in day!

Today is the first day of occupancy at Matchbox’s newly finished Livery Lofts (80 West Water Street)!  The lofts are the residential component to Matchbox’s complete renovation of the Livery building that currently houses Bella Luna Pizza and Shabby Love Furniture on its ground floor.  Livery Lofts will feature 12 apartments in total including efficiency units and 1 bedroom apartments with  new windows and light fixtures, new bathrooms, and top of the line appliances including vintage style refrigerators from Big Chill.

Construction Progress at Livery Lofts

Construction Progress at Livery Lofts

Water Street is quickly becoming an exciting downtown destination with institutions such as Finnigan’s Cove, Cuban Burger, Beyond, and Bella Luna.  And guess what, there are still a couple of units left at Livery Lofts!  If you would like more information on the available units, please contact Mary Messerley at or by phone at 540.434.5150 x203.

Construction at the Livery Building on Water St.

Harrisonburg Metro Unemployment down to 5.8%

Harrisonburg has fared better than most cities when it comes to the economic downturn, but the Virginia Employment Commission’s recent release of unemployment figures demonstrates just how much Harrisonburg is thriving.  As of November 2013, Harrisonburg’s Metro area is showing a 5.8% unemployment rate while Rockingham County as a whole has only 4.1% unemployment!  For comparison’s sake, unemployment sat at 7.0% nationally in November 2013 according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

For more regional data, see the Daily  News-Record story posted last week.  And again, congratulations to all those in Harrisonburg who are working to make this city a better place to work and live.  Keep up the good work!

Shabby Love at the Livery Building

Shabby Love (80 West Water Street) owner Hanna Kappes talks about her new showroom in Harrisonburg featuring reclaimed, refurbished, and re-purposed furniture from across the United States.  Hanna has made an impression as an artist by breathing new life into vintage and handmade items that can be used as functional furniture pieces for many years to come.  Her work has been recognized as both transformative and inspiring.

For more information, please visit Shabby Love where you can find more on their story, items for sale, and store locations/hours.


Livery Lofts Update

Livery Lofts Downtown Harrisonburg

Livery Lofts Downtown Harrisonburg

Matchbox’s newest downtown apartments are almost ready!  Livery Lofts (84 W. Water Street, above Bella Luna & Shabby Love) will feature 12 efficiency and 1-bedroom apartments on the corner of Water and Liberty Streets.  The spaces will be built in a similar loft setup to Matchbox’s most recent projects (i.e. City Exchange), but scaled down to fit the confines of downtown living.  Each unit will feature top of the line appliances and throwback ‘50s style refrigerators while preserving the rich architectural history of the building with exposed ceilings, wood work, and historically preserved windows.

Livery Lofts - Construction

Livery Lofts – Construction

Livery Lofts - Appliance have Arrived!

Livery Lofts – Appliances have arrived!

Livery Lofts - Cabinets are in!

Livery Lofts – Cabinets are in!

For more information on rental availability, please contact Mary Messerley at You can also read our Livery Building page for more history on the building and our overall motivation for taking on the project.

Matchbox In Motion: Bella Luna Wood-Fired Pizza

An Interview with Wade Luhn, owner of Bella Luna Wood Fired Pizza

Wade Luhn, from Harrisonburg’s newest downtown restaurant Bella Luna, talks to Matchbox Downtown about the growth of Downtown Harrisonburg, the importance of local ingredients, and the art of making fantastic pizza.

Bella Luna is only a few days away from opening in the Livery Building (80 Water Street, Harrisonburg, VA).  Please continue to follow Matchbox Downtown for more updates.