Two 1920s-era apartment and retail buildings within two blocks of each other in the VCU area both sold on the same day last week for upwards of $4 million.
The 1510 Lofts apartment building at 1510 W. Broad St. sold July 21 for $4.68 million. The buyer of the 28,800-square-foot structure, which also houses a Dollar Tree, was Thalhimer Realty Partners, the investment and development arm of commercial brokerage Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer.
The same day, the 32,400-square-foot Iron House Apartments at 1311 W. Broad St. sold for $4.25 million to Richmond-based Levco Realty Group. The seller was Genesis Properties, a local developer that purchased the building in 2006 for $1 million.
City and state records did not make clear who exactly is behind the LLC that sold the 1510 Lofts. That entity purchased the property in 2002 for $775,000. The latest city assessment valued it at $3.45 million.
The 1510 building was listed by CBRE | Richmond, with agents Charles Wentworth and Peyton Cox representing the seller locally. Jay O’Donnell of CBRE | Charlottesville and Ryan Sciullo of CBRE’s Washington, D.C. office provided additional representation.
Matthew Raggi, a vice president with Thalhimer Realty Partners, said the purchase adds the building’s 17 apartments and 11,000-square-foot retail space to Thalhimer’s VCU-area portfolio. The company had been tracking the property, which he said had been listed more than once over the past few years.
“We own several hundred units in the immediate area, within a couple blocks of that property, so it’s just economies of scale,” Raggi said. “Our management office is a block away, so we saw some operational and management upside. And we obviously liked the location, given the fact that it’s Broad Street and VCU and in the path of growth.”
Raggi said the Dollar Tree is in the midst of a “semi-long-term” lease that Thalhimer would continue to honor with options for renewal. He said the retail space would remain a valuable asset should Dollar Tree choose to not renew in the future.
Raggi said no changes are planned for the apartments. A two-bedroom, 770-square-foot unit there recently rented for $1,200 a month.
Thalhimer’s other apartment properties in the VCU area include the Biggs Building Apartments and Cornish Home Brewery Apartments in Carver, and the Columbia Building Apartments and the Grace Street Lofts on West Grace Street.
It also manages Osprey Lofts and Courtyard Lofts in Scott’s Addition, and recently took over management of the Argon Apartments on Cutshaw Avenue that recently sold to an out-of-town buyer. Other properties include the recently purchased 2001 East Apartments in Church Hill.
Just east from 1510 Lofts on the other side of Broad Street, the 35-unit Iron House Apartments is the latest addition to Levco’s downtown portfolio, and its sixth multifamily residential property purchase in the VCU area since 2013.
It’s also the firm’s second area purchase from Genesis Properties, which sold Levco the Ram Cat Alley Apartments at 111 W. Marshall St. – since rebranded to District Square Apartments – in 2016 for $5.7 million. The previous year, Levco purchased the Grace and Monroe Apartments in Monroe Ward for $6.4 million.
Like the Grace and Monroe property, Levco principle Jared Levin said, the Iron House building was not actively listed for sale. He said he and fellow principle Max Comess were familiar with the owner and approached them about selling.
Tom Rosman with One South Commercial represented Genesis Properties in the negotiations.
“This will be our sixth property that we’ve acquired in VCU in the past four years, so we’re very comfortable with the market,” Levin said. “We absolutely love the Broad Street corridor right now … It was a great chance to acquire an excellent location that’s right across from the Siegel Center.”
A recent city assessment valued the Iron Hill property at $3.97 million. The building consists of 35 apartments averaging 700 square feet and renting from $800 for a one-bedroom unit to $1,800 for a three-bedroom. The building also includes 5,400 square feet of storefront retail space currently filled by a Waffle House, No Limits Nutrition, Good Times and Ronncutts Barbershop.
Levin said they plan to improve the building’s façade and renovate common areas, and he said the apartments will be upgraded with new lighting fixtures and countertops.
Headquartered on West Franklin Street, the VCU area is Levco’s greatest concentration of apartment properties, though Levin said it also has properties elsewhere in metro Richmond and in Hampton Roads.