Revamped: SNL building gets the Coran touch-- and tenants

It's no secret that Dave Matthews Band manager Coran Capshaw is Charlottesville's own King Midas. His MusicToday sells tickets and merchandise for some of the world's biggest musical names including the Rolling Stones and a certain Charlottesville-based quintet whose eighth album, Stand Up, debuted last month at the number one spot on the charts.

The latest evidence of Capshavian alchemy: the former SNL Financial building. After SNL moved close to Court Square, Capshaw snapped up the firm's old Downtown Mall headquarters for $2.8 million last August. The building was mostly leased before renovation is complete, an impressive feat in Charlottesville's softening office rental market.

"People like to be around Coran," explains Lane Bonner, the real estate agent in charge of leasing the five-story, nearly 42,000 square-foot building. Such ease in finding tenants is, Bonner believes, "due to Coran's reputation as a good guy, and partly due to architectural changes."

The changes include a wall of glass along Fourth Street, expansion of the formerly "cramped" elevator lobby space, and creation of additional retail space. Pre-renovation, the building assessed last year for just over $4.7 million.

Within a month of taking applications, says Bonner, the building was 90 percent leased. At presstime, leases with a carpet store for an annex behind the building and a first-floor restaurant were still being hammered out. Of course, the fact that the fifth-floor penthouse and half of the second floor will be filled by employees from Capshaw's own Red Light Management team helped the numbers some.

Capshaw didn't return the Hook's calls by presstime, but we spoke with the other businesses who are (or will soon be) calling 321 East Main Street home.


Williams Mullen

 "We expect to move in August," says Dave Dallas, managing partner of the Charlottesville office of Williams Mullen, a 250-member regional business law firm with offices throughout Virginia. For the past five years, Williams Mullen has been located in the Enterprise Center on Market Street, but taking over the entire fourth floor of the SNL building has one big advantage: more space. That's important, says Dallas, since the firm plans to expand its local office, which currently has 10 employees. Bonner says the firm will occupy "Grade A" office space, featuring granite and mahogany. Dallas describes it simply as a "modern business law office."