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Developer plans new houses in the Fan

Brandy Brubaker January 6, 2014 32

A rendering of the planned row houses at 2615-2619 Floyd Ave. (Courtesy of Bill Chapman)

A rendering of the planned row houses at 2615-2619 Floyd Ave. (Courtesy of Bill Chapman)

A street in the Fan might soon get a dose of something the neighborhood doesn’t typically see: new single-family construction.

Local developer Bill Chapman is planning six modern row houses at 2615-2619 Floyd Ave.

A parking lot and an office building occupy the site. (Photo by Brandy Brubaker)

A parking lot and an office building occupy the site. (Photo by Brandy Brubaker)

The project, dubbed Citizen 6, will be built on a half-acre currently occupied by a parking lot and a 1950s-era office building, Chapman said. When the chance to buy the property came up, Chapman jumped.

“We thought, in this area of the Fan, the idea of new construction would be very appealing,” he said.

Chapman has the location under contract, pending city zoning approval. He would not say how much he’s paying for the property. The two parcels were most recently assessed at a combined $656,000, according to city records.

Chapman hired architect Burt Pinnock of Baskervill to design houses with a modern design that is reflective of the surrounding Fan buildings, Chapman said.

“We see that neighborhood as a neighborhood of fine period architecture,” he said. “It is a privilege to have an opportunity to build something in the Fan. That opportunity is rare, so design has to be our focus.”

Chapman said prices for the houses haven’t been finalized, but he estimated that they would fall around $250 per square foot. The houses range in size from 2,100 to 2,800 square feet, which would equal about $520,000 to $700,000 each. They will include two parking spaces each in a lot behind the property.

A rendering of the row house interior.

A rendering of the row house interior.

Chapman is financing the project through First Capital Bank.

The developer hasn’t selected a builder for the row houses.

Chapman’s other projects have included the Decatur condominiums in Manchester and Parkway 301, a seven-story building in Roanoke.

The office building on the Floyd Avenue site is owned by Robert Hunnicutt, founder of Hunnicutt Construction. Hunnicutt said his business and two others in the building, Dodson Property Management and River Bend Property Services, are planning to move once the sale goes through. Their new locations have not been determined.

Offers from potential buyers will be accepted beginning in February, and construction should begin in the spring pending zoning approval.

One South Realty Group is handling the listings for Chapman.

Prices are expected to fall around $250 per square foot. (Renderings courtesy of Bill Chapman)

Prices are expected to fall around $250 per square foot. (Renderings courtesy of Bill Chapman)

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  1. Rick Jarvis January 7, 2014 at 8:26 am - Reply

    We are excited to represent the development team on Citizen 6. For more information – http://richmondfanrealestate.net/citizen-6

  2. tom kranz January 7, 2014 at 8:40 am - Reply

    “…reflective of the surrounding Fan buildings” Really?!?!

  3. Mark Kittrell January 7, 2014 at 9:00 am - Reply

    This project looks like a winner! Good luck.

  4. Jay Rich January 7, 2014 at 9:31 am - Reply

    Interesting project.

    Two comments:

    1. That 1950s office building should stay, though I realize that will probably not happen. It’s a great building that could/should be renovated and perhaps added onto instead of being razed.

    2. Personally, I’m not sure I’d spend over half a million dollars to look at the backside of a parking garage. That being said, as new construction they will probably sell pretty quickly.

  5. Rick Bishop January 7, 2014 at 10:46 am - Reply

    Great! Terrific! RVA needs more like this.

    As a builder of contemporary homes for years, I know the challenges of developing something different in a historical architecture town. This will be a home run and Mr. Chapman will be looking for more sites soon.

    • Josh McCullar January 7, 2014 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      I am thrilled to see this, and I know that Burt and Bill will make a lasting and timeless contribution to the Fan District. The last thing we should be doing in the 21st century is creating a false sense of history with architecture that tries to pretend it is historic or blur the distinction of what is truly original in the neighborhood. This is a counterpoint, but a thoughtful one, and will essentially highlight the historic context around even more so. So I applaud the modernism here – and the vertical proportions, window bay sizes, and the varying setback of the masonry planes. It achieves an appropriate level of textural richness required in this neighborhood, while providing a new product for a new generation of city residents.

  6. Brian Glass January 7, 2014 at 11:02 am - Reply

    Modern housing in the Fan. I can’t imagine the Fan District Association (FDA) supporting this.

    Now if the 1950’s office building was demolished and replaced with Fan style buildings that would be a winner !

    • Bill Chapman January 7, 2014 at 11:38 am - Reply



      The Fan is Richmond’s predominant neighborhood for fine, period architecture with a wide array of architectural styles. Our project fits this mold very well. Citizen 6 is fine, period architecture using a similar scale and palate of materials found on neighboring blocks (masonry & wood), but in a way that represents fine architecture today. Our approach and attention to design is why we have already received unanimous approval by the FDA zoning committee and the support of the FDA.

      We believe replica architecture has no place in a neighborhood as important as Fan. It’s a thought that is backed by our Commission of Architectural Review, the Va Dept of Historic Resources and the Department of the Interior.

  7. Sean L Craft January 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Congratulations to all involved in this project. I also vote to save the 1950’s structure as it is integral to the history of the Fan (if it is deemed significant enough to save by the FDA)

    While I am a preservationist first and believe in traditional preservation of existing historic structures, I support any project that adds positively to the neighborhood and increases the tax base without eroding surrounding property values. I feel confident that this looks to be a winner for The Fan, its residents, and RVA. I don’t find much that is more disturbing to the fabric of an historic neighborhood than a parking lot.

    • Bill Chapman January 7, 2014 at 12:37 pm - Reply

      Sean-The 1950’s building is a non-contributing structure to the Fan Historic District and is documented by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the Department of the Interior. Preservation is very important to our team. Last month, ULI awarded us with 2012’s Best Rehabilitation of an Existing Structure in the Richmond Region for The Lofts at West Station.

  8. Todd Muse January 7, 2014 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    Really excited to see modern architecture that compliments the style of the neighborhood.

    I think the price point is pushing the edge of Floyd Ave, but why not try? Its a great neighborhood and I’m glad to see more single family homes instead of more apartments…

  9. Emily Westerholm January 7, 2014 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    Although I don’t personally find this project aesthetically pleasing my largest concern with any new construction is that the priority should be the environmental impact. Show me some LEED certification and it will gain my approval.

  10. Stephen Michaels January 7, 2014 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    In 20 years these will look as outdated and out of place as the Fan Square Apartments did and still do even after great effort to make them blend better. This trend of designing for time, not place, is just that . . . a “trend”. Great design is timeless whether its period or revival and great design does not call attention to itself or stick out like a sore thumb. In 20 years well done revival architecture will blend much better in a neighborhood like The Fan than modern architecture. Looks like there’s some ego involved here of people who want to leave their own stamp on a historic neighborhood. That’s too bad.

    • Rob Sterling January 7, 2014 at 10:34 pm - Reply

      There are certainly approaches that could reflect contemporary style while remaining consistent with the look of the Fan, but this project isn’t it. I agree with Stephen that Citizen 6 won’t age well.

    • Heath Hyman January 8, 2014 at 8:31 am - Reply

      I like contemporary / modern design, but I have to agree I believe it has it’s place and this location in my opinion is not it. You only have to look at 2016 Monument Avenue to see how even a smartly designed building just does not fit into the overall aesthetics.

      • Evan MacKenzie January 8, 2014 at 11:24 am - Reply

        I can’t speak to the Fan Square Apartments (address?) but I would argue that the single story modern shotgun home at 2016 Monument is out of place as a result of inappropriate proportioning and relationship to the street. That has nothing to do with the use of modern building techniques. Regardless of whether Citizen 6 has curtain wall glazing, and a wood rain screen, or traditional double hung windows and a brick facade, the proportional relationship to surrounding buildings as well as the relationship to the the street appears well thought out and in keeping with the context of the fan. History isn’t a cryogenic chamber, and the immense success of the VMFA two blocks away should serve as a reminder of that.

  11. Mike Jasp January 8, 2014 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    The Fan Square Apartments building is at the corner of Rowland and Grove…I assume 2100 Grove.

    Over my 25 years of living in the Fan I’ve always balked at this building as terribly misplaced and downright ugly. I would love for some of the experts commenting here to explain what is wrong with that building from an architectural standpoint and why it does stand out “like a sore thumb” ?

    Im also in the camp of happy to see single family homes coming to the Fan instead of apartments. Particularly high quality homes.

    • Jay Rich January 8, 2014 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      Ah, so those are the Fan Square Apartments.

      I had no idea that was the name, but the comment that they “look as outdated and out of place…even after great effort to make them blend better” immediately made me think of that building.

      Mike, the two main reasons that these stand out like a sore thumb are:
      1. Cheap (or at least relatively cheap-looking) materials compared to the neighborhood.
      2. Completely inappropriate building proportions. Somehow the human eye/mind can pick up good proportions (the reason we view people with very symmetrical and well-proportioned faces as being more attractive). This building fails in it’s proportions.

      Not to mention it’s relationship with the street and surrounding neighborhood is decidedly suburban (e.g., no street facing/neighborhood-engaging entrances).

      From the street, this building looks like a cheap suburban motel; the view from the interior courtyard only reinforces this (the interior courtyard looks like a motel you would find on Midlothian Tpke).

      • Mike Jasp January 8, 2014 at 7:56 pm - Reply

        Thanks Jay exactly what I was wondering. Makes perfect sense. Cheap hotel on midlo turnpike…perfect!

        This discussion also makes a point as to how the floyd ave project shouldn’t be put in the same sentence as the Fan Square Motel.

  12. le corbu January 8, 2014 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    “The last thing we should be doing in the 21st century is creating a false sense of history with architecture that tries to pretend it is historic…”
    I’m confused why people use this line as a “counterpoint” to making anything other than a modernist box. Architects have been making modernist boxes for 100 years so the box is quite historicist and conservative itself! If you want to do something new and visionary, try putting ornament and detail on your box. The architecture hive mind will shun you for the crime but you will be a real humanist in my book.

  13. le corbu January 8, 2014 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    One other thing: the pitched roof is possibly the greatest building element ever thought up by mankind. The water flows down the hill and off the structure, it’s brilliant and elegant. That architects took the pitched roof away from us and made us live in leaky boxes with flat roofs is one of the great tragedies of the modernist era. We all have to suffer for their vanity.

    • Jay Rich January 8, 2014 at 4:17 pm - Reply

      Flat roofs aren’t (or shouldn’t be) completely flat. They have slight pitches towards drain points/down pipes. New building technologies (TPO roofing systems, for example) almost completely eliminate the threat of leaks. And they look nice (I have a flat roof on my modern style home).

      That being said, replacing my flat room was 45-50% more expensive than a comparable pitched roof. With a 1900 square foot roof, it almost made me wish for a pitched roof.

  14. leon wilkeson January 8, 2014 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    I try to stay positive and support those who invest in our community. That said, I don’t know anyone who, given the opportunity to build on an empty lot in the Fan, would actually build a home like one of those depicted in the picture. Call me crazy, but they already look outdated to me.

    They look like something from the 80s trying to look ultra modern. Remember Cameron’s house in Ferris Beuler? That’s kind of the vibe I’m getting… minus the Ferrari… and Sloan.

    • Jay Rich January 8, 2014 at 7:21 pm - Reply

      I get what you’re saying but you probably chose the wrong example. Cameron’s house is a fairly iconic example of mid-century architecture.

      Comparing the legacy of these proposed homes to Cameron’s home would be extremely complimentary and I don’t think that is your intent.

    • JT Taylor January 8, 2014 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      Love the reference.
      Speaking of school, grade this an A for effort but F for fugly.
      Move this plan closer to downtown , or the 1800 and 1900 blocks of Cary and it makes sense.

  15. Pat Kelly January 10, 2014 at 10:13 am - Reply

    The comparison to 2016 Monument is apt, but perhaps more to the point is 2718 Monument Ave, a beautiful home that was built with period-correct details within the last 10 years. It looks every bit the part of a 100 year-old Fan home. You know this house–it’s on the northeast corner of Monument and Boulevard.

    The problem is, building a home (or homes) that have the correct details for this particular neighborhood is expensive (i.e., requires a special set of skills and materials) and no developer wants to see his profits eaten away. As a result, we get the ersatz “modernist” style, replete with “a palate of materials found on neighboring blocks” but with no connection whatsoever with the feel of the neighborhood. But you can make a buck on it.

    A swing and a miss, IMHO.

  16. Kyle McKenna January 12, 2014 at 3:37 am - Reply

    Good to see new construction in this area but the rendering looks like an average 1970s-era design. To pretend that it’s even remotely contextual is just a tad insulting.

  17. Jamie Seigel January 12, 2014 at 11:32 am - Reply

    To build this structure in the Fan would be a huge disservice to the surrounding properties. I have to agree that they won’t age well and would only serve to devalue the neighboring dwellings. Amazed that this hasn’t been met with opposition from the neighborhood…

  18. Sharon Sullivan January 16, 2014 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    As a long time Main St resident, I am extremely upset by this project. They look awful and in no stretch of the imagination ‘blend’ in with the architecture of the FAN. Will cause more congestion and chew up more valuable parking spots in the FAN. The parking is impossible as it is, and now will be worse with more people who cannot adequately park. What we need are more places like the One B&B who significantly improved our neighborhood, AND kept the architectural integrity. GO AWAY Bill Chapman and take your MODERN crappy project with you!!!

  19. Bill Hark January 30, 2014 at 3:34 pm - Reply

    I am not impressed. Those houses already are starting to appear out of date. Just wait another 20 years and they will be as laughable as a house with no shutters, orange carpeting, wood paneling and an intercom system is today. If higher quality houses with a more appropriate design can’t be built, then a park would be a better use of that space.

  20. Sid del Cardayre January 31, 2014 at 7:56 am - Reply

    These buildings look pretty cool in the rendering. But if the COST is far enough below $250/sq.ft. for the developer to make a profit, then they will not look or feel the way the rendering is attempting to portray. Let’s hope the FDA doesn’t stop cool looking architecture from going up, but let’s also hope someone has enough experience to require the materials and workmanship be higher quality than $100-$150/sq.ft.

  21. Ed Seay February 5, 2014 at 9:54 am - Reply

    It looks like an office building in Innsbrook.

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