136 W Elizabeth St. Redevelopment Project

New Matchbox Project on the Horizon

Matchbox is excited to announce a new project for 2015, the renovation of 136 West Elizabeth Street. 136 West Elizabeth features 18,000+ square feet of one of a kind space near the heart of Downtown Harrisonburg. Located just behind the iconic Hess Furniture building, this project will involve an extensive renovation element as well as a complete aesthetic makeover while installing functioning electrical and plumbing to make the space useful within the modern context.

136 W Elizabeth St. Harrisonburg, Va

136 W Elizabeth St. Harrisonburg, Va

The property sits on a great piece of land just west of Liberty Street with full views of downtown and ample green space surrounding the building structure. Here at Matchbox, we think the space would be best used as a commercial space either holding one large company or several small companies along with a retail/restaurant element. The beauty of this project is that we are able to create unique spaces that fit the exact needs of our clients rather than trying to fit clients within pre-existing build-outs.

For more information on 136 West Elizabeth, please contact Michael Jaffee at 540.208.0723 or by email at mjaffee@matchboxrealty.com.

136 W Elizabeth St. Harrisonburg, Va

136 W Elizabeth St. Harrisonburg, Va

136 W Elizabeth St. Harrisonburg, Va

136 W Elizabeth St. Harrisonburg, Va

136 W Elizabeth St. Harrisonburg, Va

136 W Elizabeth St. Harrisonburg, Va


136 W Elizabeth St. Harrisonburg, Va

136 W Elizabeth St. Harrisonburg, Va

Bella Luna Pizza Opens

Bella Luna Wood Fired Pizza, the hotly anticipated downtown restaurant at 80 W. Water Street featuring local ingredients, handmade pasta, and the only wood fired (900 degree!) oven in town, is now officially open for business.  Last night, food and drinks were open to the public and the response was overwhelming with an absolutely packed house.

Bella Luna Wood-Fired Pizza - Bread freah out of th oven!

Bella Luna Wood-Fired Pizza – Bread freah out of the oven!

Bella Luna is housed in the Livery building, a new renovation project by Matchbox that will also feature 12 loft apartments and Shabby Love furniture, a prominent furniture retailer out of Orange, Virginia.

Stay tuned to Matchbox Downtown for updates on Bella Luna and any special offers/coupons in the future.

City Exchange Downtown Harrisonburg

City Exchange

The 1908 City Produce Exchange Building is one of the largest warehouse/industrial buildings in Harrisonburg, with over two acres under roof.

The City Produce Exchange (CPE), a product of the poultry trade, was formed by brothers Emanuel and Gabriel Blosser and partner Hershsey H. Weaver. The principals are thought to have acted as their own contractors in the construction of this poultry processing plant in 1908.  Harrisonburg’s agriculturally based economy developed in the years leading up to the Civil War and became well established following the extension of the Valley Railroad in 1874. Feed and seed merchants and wholesale grocers built many large brick warehouses that lined the railroad tracks in the Harrisonburg Downtown Historic District.

According to Emanuel Blosser’s daughter, her father claimed the plant was the largest poultry processor east of the Mississippi. In 1943, historian John W. Wayland states that the plant was “one of the largest of its kind in the United States.” A 1927 business directory claimed that Rockingham County was the second largest poultry producing area in the United States with a total value of poultry production in excess of $3 million per year and that the CPE was “the largest fattening and packing plant in the world.” The 1927 directory also noted that the plant could fatten 65,000 birds at one time. Wetsel Seed Company purchased the bulding in 1949 and used it to store orchard seed. According to Robert Wetsel, Emanuel Blosser closed his poultry plant in 1949 due to labor difficulties.

Matchbox and its partners purchased the City Exchange in 2005 and completed renovations just nine months later.  The new owners, Andrew Forward and Barry Kelley worked with Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources and Harrisonburg’s Downtown Historical Council to ensure the building was restore in a thoughtful and innovative manner.  To that end, a tremendous amount of materials used in the building’s renovation were reclaimed from the original site and refurbished to fit within modern loft apartment aesthetics.

The Flats at City Exchange currently enjoys 100% occupancy and features one of Harrisonburg’s most influential restaurants, Local Chop & Grill House.




For for more information please visit City Exchange Flats and Local Chop & Grill House

Blue Ridge Architect's office. Harrisonburg, Va

Bruce St.

Bruce Street, formerly known as the Ewing building, is another Matchbox renovation property where we have taken a rundown, outdated building and installation and turned it into something downtown Harrisonburg can be proud of.

Matchbox purchased the properties and are currently in the process of renovating both buildings.  Blue Ridge Architects was the first of the new tenants to take occupancy and Matchbox provided a brand new installation to fit their needs:



Matchbox preserved the concrete floors, open ceilings, and large windows and created an open work environment where Blue Ridge could host clients and entertain on occassion.

However, Blue Ridge Architects only occupy half of 126 Bruce Street.   The other half will be a brand new restaurant, foodBARfood, which was created by Jeff Minnich (Clementine’s executive chef) and Amanda Cannon (bar designer/manager of Local Chop & Grill House).  The restaurant will serve global comfort food and provide a dynamic bar menu to cater to the after work crowd.  Expected opening date is early 2014.

Also, we are thrilled to announce that Approved Colleges, the online education portal, will be relocating from 111 East Market street to occupy the entire 128 Bruce Street building.  With just over 4,500 square feet, the facility will have a brand new installation including an open bullpen area for employees, perimeter offices and a large glass conference.  Occupancy for 128 Bruce Street is slated for January 2014.

These leases, as well as the renovation Bruce Street as a whole, will add even more value to downtown Harrisonburg and the people that live and work here.

Blue Ridge Architect's office. Harrisonburg, Va

Blue Ridge Architect’s office. Harrisonburg, Va

Ice House Harrisonburg

Ice House

The Ice House is a downtown redevelopment site that is located on Liberty St across from the Farmers Market.

The Cassco Ice House complex is a landmark in downtown Harrisonburg.  Built in 1934, it has been a focal point of Harrisonburg’s urban core for over 75 years.  The building is located at 125 West Bruce Street and 217 South Liberty Street and sits on slightly over 2 acres in area. The site has excellent downtown connectivity – it is approximately two blocks south west of the Harrisonburg central business district and City Hall, and less than 2 blocks north of James Madison University’s (JMU) expanding campus. The site is adjacent to multiple bus and bicycle routes (existing and planned), numerous cultural venues and historic structures, the regional Farmers Market and significant off-site parking resources.

The redevelopment of the former Cassco Ice House will build upon on-going revitalization efforts as well as spur the potential for additional historic renovation projects in the City’s core. The central element of the redevelopment of this property is the inclusion of well established, locally owned and operated businesses expanding their operations into the newly renovated Ice House.

Strengthened by expanding micro-manufacturing businesses and offices, the Ice House will also feature the creation of 75 apartments. The Cassco complex is identified as a “contributing property” by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in the determination of the Harrisonburg Downtown Historic District.
City staff believes the development of the Ice House bears the greatest potential to expand the City’s revitalization efforts and spur economic growth.  The City of Harrisonburg encourages revitalization and developments
such as the Ice House by committing resources, staff time, and tax abatements. The Ice House represents the quintessential redevelopment and reuse of a property the City wants to encourage.

The City supported the application and utilization of IRF funds for the Ice Factory because of the potential
economic development driver it represents. The owners and developers of the former Cassco property
have led the way in downtown revitalization by creating opportunities for downtown living in previous
successful projects that include the City Exchange and Urban Exchange. Both of these previous
projects included mixed-use residential, retail and restaurant spaces and represent an evolution of the historic downtown as a place to work, eat, shop and recreate.

The Ice House as of Spring 2013:



For continued coverage of the Ice House project, please follow us at Matchbox Downtown