Con­struc­tion un­der­way for apart­ment build­ing near Stu­art Cir­cle in Rich­mond

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - BUSINESS - BY GRE­GORY J. GIL­LI­GAN ggilli­gan@times­dis­patch.com (804) 649-6379

A 106-unit up­scale apart­ment build­ing is be­gin­ning to take root on a for­mer park­ing lot at West Grace and North Lom­bardy streets near Stu­art Cir­cle.

The five-story build­ing with two lev­els un­der­neath for park­ing should be com­pleted by late next year or early 2020.

The $14.5 mil­lion project is a be­ing devel­oped as a joint ven­ture be­tween Rich­mond-based Foun­tain­head De­vel­op­ment, a big res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment player in down­town Rich­mond and in Manch­ester for the past 15 years, and the WVS Cos., which has devel­oped Rock­etts Land­ing mixed-use de­vel­op­ment strad­dling Rich­mond and Hen­rico County along the James River. Both de­vel­op­ers also are work­ing on The Locks project along the Hax­all Canal in down­town Rich­mond.

The planned apart­ment build­ing is a block from Mon­u­ment Av­enue and Stu­art Cir­cle and is be­hind St. John’s United Church of Christ, which owns the 0.826acre park­ing lot but is sell­ing it to the de­vel­op­ers.

The de­vel­op­ers are pay­ing $1.5 mil­lion to buy the lot, said Tom Papa, Foun­tain­head’s co-founder and prin­ci­pal. The clos­ing is ex­pected to take place next week.

“It is a great lo­ca­tion,” Papa said. “We have spent a lot of time work­ing with the com­mu­nity mak­ing sure we can make as few peo­ple un­happy as pos­si­ble.”

Papa said he believes the de­vel­op­ment team — he is col­lab­o­rat­ing with WVS Cos.’ Ja­son Vick­ers-Smith and Richard

Souter — and Wal­ter Parks Ar­chi­tects have cre­ated an apart­ment build­ing that should blend in nicely with the West Grace Street and nearby Fan Dis­trict com­mu­ni­ties.

For in­stance, the ex­te­rior build­ing’s façade will be brick with a large court­yard along West Grace Street.

“This is not stu­dent hous­ing,” Papa said. “This for pro­fes­sion­als and peo­ple from the sub­urbs who want to move into town and want to be in the Fan. Hope­fully this will be their place.”

The one-bed­room apart­ments will have about 800 square feet while the two-bed­room units will be about 1,200 square feet, he said. “These will be pre­mium units.”

About 70 per­cent of the units will be one-bed­room while the rest will be two-bed­rooms, he said.

Rental rates have not been set, but should be in line with what other pre­mium apart­ment units in the city are charg­ing, Papa said.

One park­ing space will be avail­able un­der­neath the build­ing for use by ev­ery unit, plus about 40 spa­ces will be set aside for use by St. John’s United Church of Christ.

The first level of park­ing will be a half-story be­low grade, and the other level will be slightly above grade.

The apart­ment project will be called CIRC — short for Stu­art Cir­cle. “My part­ners are more clever than I am when it comes to names. But when I had to form an en­tity name for the con­tract, I wrote down Stu­art CIRC,” Papa said.

St. John’s United Church of Christ de­cided a cou­ple of years ago to come up with a plan for the park­ing lot. The church hired a bro­ker to so­licit bids from de­vel­op­ers, who made pre­sen­ta­tions to the church’s lead­ers. Foun­tain­head De­vel­op­ment and the WVS Cos. won the bid.

“We were very much en­gaged with the church and the com­mu­nity to come up with some­thing that is com­pat­i­ble,” Papa said.

WAL­TER PARKS AR­CHI­TECTS

Plans call for a 106-unit up­scale apart­ment build­ing to be built on a for­mer park­ing lot at West Grace and North Lom­bardy streets near Stu­art Cir­cle. The build­ing, seen in a ren­der­ing, will have two lev­els un­der­neath for park­ing and should be com­pleted by late next year or early 2020.

GRE­GORY J. GIL­LI­GAN/TIMES-DIS­PATCH

St. John’s United Church of Christ owns the 0.826-acre park­ing lot but is sell­ing it to Foun­tain­head De­vel­op­ment and the WVS Cos.

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