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One or two bedrooms, with a view (for everyone)

David Larter March 6, 2012 8


A local developer is getting closer to building a large apartment building at the border between Church Hill and Shockoe Bottom and hopes to break ground within the year.

Fred Cox of Marcellus Wright Cox Architects said designs, costs and financing had not been set for the building at 1903 E. Marshall St. because the firm was still working with the city and waiting for a final architectural approval. The finished product should be four stories and between 120 and 130 apartments.

The project, which sits on an acre of vacant land, is being developed by GTR Cedar, LLC, which was formed for the development and is composed of Marcellus Wright Cox Architects and private investors.

“The project is highly needed,” Cox said. “There are some big engines in this town, between the student populations at [Virginia Commonwealth University and Medical College of Virginia]. The condo market has slowed, but we think Richmond is going to need housing, and this is a great location.”

Indeed, hundreds of units have opened within a few blocks of the location in the past year, including at 2001 East Broad St. and a bit father downtown at Cedar Broad Apartments.

The planned complex will feature mostly one- and two-bedroom units and will have a pool and a belowground parking deck that can accommodate all the residents, according to documents filed with the city.

Cox said the building has been a long time coming. The developers purchased the land for $840,000 in 2004 and in 2006 had the property rezoned for mixed residential and business use. Because the building is in a historic district, it had to be approved by the Committee of Architectural Review.

Cox filed an application with the committee Nov. 18. He is awaiting final approval.

The building isn’t without controversy. The Union Hill Residents Association is worried that the building is too tall and could obstruct the view of the city from Jefferson Park, which sits atop a hill behind the property.

Elaine O’Dell, a member of the Union Hill Civic Association, said that the height of the proposed building is a sticking point.

“Population growth in the Bottom is a good thing in how it relates to Church Hill and Jefferson Park,” she said. “The more people who move in and use Jefferson Park, the safer it becomes. Our main problem is the height of the building.”

O’Dell also said Union Hill residents didn’t want any HVAC units or other structures protruding above the hill and spoiling the view of downtown.

In a Feb. 3 filing with the committee, Cox said the building would be “well below the crest of the park on the hill.”

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  1. Brett March 6, 2012 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Looks nice. I live near hear and welcome the growth. I hope this inspires some of the nearby property owners to fix up what they have or sell to someone who will.

  2. k March 6, 2012 at 11:06 am - Reply

    Yeah lets build some more buidings from the ground up instead of rehabbing vacant and abbandoned buildings. Great idea

  3. Bruce Milam March 6, 2012 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    Its obvious that not every vacant and abandoned building lends itself to remodeling into apartments. There aren’t many left! Its good to see the scattered vacant lots turned into new apartment buildings, providing new residential opportunities and an increased tax base for the City. Once we hit a “magic number” of residences, retailers will return to the City. We’re getting closer.

  4. Johnny Richmond March 6, 2012 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    Look at the history of any large apartments. They have a life… nice for a while.. decline – then investor number two comes in and improves… the depreciates… This monstrosity is destined to become a Mosby Ct on steroids… It’s going to happen no matter what; the city would be smart to make it smaller with exterior corridors to help with security… and be able to manage the crime magnet that it will become

  5. Jay March 6, 2012 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    Smaller with exterior corridors?

    You mean a motel?

  6. k March 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    There may not be that many vacant and abondoned wharehouses left but go literally around the corner from this proposed location and find whole city blocks filled with run down and dilapidated buildings. No reason that land could not be purchased and those barely standing buildings torn down and made into apartment complexes or any other new and useeful structure. We should be focused on rehabbing or rebuilding on what is already there and unslightly not sending up highrises on the empty space that is few and far between in downtown and shockhoe bottom.

  7. Brett March 8, 2012 at 10:47 am - Reply

    K, the problem is that the city is full of slumlords who have no interest in selling or they want some huge sum for their property that makes no sense. That is the reason it doesn’t happen. You have to go with what’s available and what makes sense on the pro forma. And Johnny Richmond, there is no basis for what you are talking about. Mosby court is nothing like these units. If you never built anything, nothing ever good would happen. Retail doesn’t come without people. This building is no larger than any of the others being done around town. Is your solution to tear down all of the large buildings downtown and build the suburbs?

  8. Rahma April 4, 2012 at 10:06 am - Reply

    no. they need to provide more parking. There is already wayyyyy too many cars in the bottom and not enough space for all of them. As a Shockoe resident, I speak from experience. Unless the can provide parking for all of their residents, and people from around the area as well, I’m not for it. Is there any mention of visitors parking?

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