Six months after dropping millions on an old Chinese restaurant building, VCU’s appetite for real estate has led it to a pizza joint up the street.
The school on May 30 purchased the long-vacant former New York Pizza fast food building at 501 W. Broad St. for $2.82 million, according to city property records.
It bought the 5,000-square-foot building and its 0.34-acre plot from Franchise Real Estate Concepts LLC, which had owned the property since at least 2001. The property most recently was assessed by the city at $828,000.
VCU spokesman Michael Porter confirmed the purchase Monday and said no plans for the site have been determined.
The property, built in 1969, has been on the market since July 2013, when New York Fried Chicken was evicted from the space.
It sits near the intersection of West Broad and North Belvidere streets, a block away from VCU’s $41 million Institute for Contemporary Art, which is scheduled to open in October.
The school has made a series of purchases in recent years on surrounding blocks, to wrest control of properties around the ICA.
Since 2004, VCU has invested roughly $13 million to acquire eight properties in the blocks surrounding the ICA site, according to city records.
The school owns all but two parcels on the two adjacent blocks bounded by North Belvidere, West Grace, North Henry, North Pine and West Broad streets.
The lone holdouts on those two blocks are the Sunoco gas station, owned by local businessman Steve Uphoff, and 518 W. Grace St. – a three-story, mixed-use building.
Before launching construction on the ICA, VCU closed on the former Hess gas station at 535 W. Broad St. in March 2015 for about $3.2 million, according to tax records. It also paid $2 million for the former Evergreen Chinese Restaurant at 612 Grace St. in September 2016, and $2.2 million for the three-story, 1920s-era apartment building at 616 W. Grace St. in 2014.
Both the restaurant and apartment building have been razed.
VCU’s latest acquisition joins a wave of activity near the university’s Monroe Park campus.
Along West Main Street across from the park, a 12-story, $96 million dorm project is going vertical, replacing a 30-year-old student housing complex that was taken down. And Monroe Park is undergoing a $6 million renovation that started late last year and is slated to last 12 to 18 months.