Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend
82-year run in Manchester winding down for Caravati’s
Architectural salvage firm is moving to Ashland; new use planned for Richmond site
Caravati’s, the architectural salvage business that has called South Richmond home for 82 years, is moving to Ashland.
The business is relocating to 203 England St., next to the Ashland Theatre, by mid-June, owner Jimmy Kastelberg said.
The move “is a little bittersweet, but this will be a fresh new beginning for us,” Kastelberg said. “We’re continuing the business — just in a new location.”
The new space in Ashland is about 18,000 square feet, he said. The company is taking over a renovated building that decades ago had been used for the Loving Ford Motor Co. dealership.
The company’s current building and surrounding property at 104 E. Second St. in South Richmond is under contract to be sold to Catalyst Development Co., said Kastelberg, who had put the property on the market in late 2019.
“I just feel it’s time to move out of this area. We’ve had a good run here, but the neighborhood around us and Manchester is changing for the better,” he said. “We just feel like property values are such where we should take advantage of that and then, at the same time, I think the neighborhood has kind of outgrown what we do. This is probably not the best use for the property.”
By selling the property, Kastelberg wants to capitalize on the increasing interest in and revitalization of the Manchester area, which is thriving with new apartments, restaurants and offices.
Caravati’s now operates in a 38,000-square-foot, two-story
warehouse built in the 1920s on Second Street between Stockton and Decatur streets. The property being sold is 2.2 acres and includes a total of five parcels along Second, Stockton or Decatur streets.
The company, the oldest architectural salvage firm in Richmond, has operated in a couple of different locations in South Richmond since Kastelberg’s grandfather, Louis Caravati, started the business in 1939. Caravati’s has been in its current location since the late 1990s.
The smaller building size in Ashland means Caravati’s won’t carry the entire breadth of architectural salvage items that it currently does, he said. It has carried items such as reclaimed flooring, fireplace mantels, scrollwork radiators, claw-foot tubs and chandeliers.
“We’re going to move what we can take and what sells the best for us and what we can fit into that space,” Kastelberg said.
What doesn’t get moved to Ashland will be sold in a big liquidation sale before the building is sold, which probably should take place in the fall, he said.
“We want to be up and running in Ashland by mid-June. That might be stretching it a bit, but that’s what our plan is,” said Kastelberg, who said the new location will be closer to his home in Hanover County.
Caravati’s is leasing the new space.
Kastelberg said that at some point after the move, he will turn over ownership of the business to his son, Ben.
“I’m still going to work, but I’m just going to do so as he needs me,” said Kastelberg, who has owned the business since 1984 and who bought the property in April 2002.
Meanwhile, Catalyst Development is conducting due diligence on the current Caravati’s property, he said.
The Richmond-based development firm is seeking to rezone the property to a central business district classification from the current heavy industrial zoning district and mixeduse designation.
The Richmond Planning Commission recommended approval of the request at its meeting Monday. The proposal now goes before the City Council for consideration.
Catalyst Development wants to preserve the existing building and renovate it into multifamily dwelling use, according to a letter sent to the city’s planning department from Jennifer D. Mullen, an attorney in the Roth Jackson Gibbons Condlin PLC law firm, which is representing the developer.