In development feud, writing is on the wall

It’s not often that a spat over tax credits inspires graffiti artists.

Developer Justin French said he supports the local artists who painted messages on the exterior walls of the Scott’s Addition industrial property they rent from him, messages not so subtly aimed at French’s tax credit purchaser for the renovated building at 1509 Belleville Ave.

“Markel blows” is one of the more pointed painted messages, referring to the Markel Corporation, French’s partner on multiple development projects. French says Markel is not holding up its end of their deal, and he is planning to purposely let banks foreclose on all of the projects they partnered on. (Read more about that in an RBS story here.)

On the other side of French’s Belleville Avenue building are the warnings “The fat lady has not sung yet” and “Don’t tread on me.”

This is not the first time French has commissioned an artist. In late 2009 he had a muralist design and paint a billboard in Scott’s Addition. You can read more about that in an RBS story here.

Look for more on Justin French on Monday.

Al Harris covers commercial real estate for BizSense. Please send news tips to [email protected]


It’s not often that a spat over tax credits inspires graffiti artists.

Developer Justin French said he supports the local artists who painted messages on the exterior walls of the Scott’s Addition industrial property they rent from him, messages not so subtly aimed at French’s tax credit purchaser for the renovated building at 1509 Belleville Ave.

“Markel blows” is one of the more pointed painted messages, referring to the Markel Corporation, French’s partner on multiple development projects. French says Markel is not holding up its end of their deal, and he is planning to purposely let banks foreclose on all of the projects they partnered on. (Read more about that in an RBS story here.)

On the other side of French’s Belleville Avenue building are the warnings “The fat lady has not sung yet” and “Don’t tread on me.”

This is not the first time French has commissioned an artist. In late 2009 he had a muralist design and paint a billboard in Scott’s Addition. You can read more about that in an RBS story here.

Look for more on Justin French on Monday.

Al Harris covers commercial real estate for BizSense. Please send news tips to [email protected]


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Ed Gooding
Ed Gooding
12 years ago

Seems to be a very childish way to resolve a conflict with a company that is as respected in the community as Markel. I don’t see this helping to resolve anything.

Wyatt Massie
Wyatt Massie
12 years ago

Time to grow up Justin.

Ryan Roberts
Ryan Roberts
12 years ago

I understand the frustrations of all parties involved in this deal, and many are valid, but I continue to be astonished by the complete lack of professionalism that seems to pervade this entire issue. As a CPA, I typically see the beneficial side of credit deals like these…reading these articles has definitely given me some perspective on what happens when the picture isn’t so rosy…wow.

Irony
Irony
12 years ago

I’m not familiar with this part of town, does this type of message stand out or does just look like every other graffiti strewn building in Scott’s Addition? I’ve never been in this area so I’m just curious.

Lee Fox
Lee Fox
12 years ago

Just what we need in Richmond…another building with graffiti on it!
So many have worked so hard to improve that area and this is a slap in the face to them and everyone who lives and works in Richmond. Is it legal to leave this eyesore??
I agree with Wyatt…it’s time to grow up Justin.

30yearold
30yearold
12 years ago

Wow, how can the coming Monday’s story be any better than this one? I’d say the court of public opinion isn’t going to look too favorably on this turn of events, especially in such a classless manner.

Bernie Stanley
Bernie Stanley
12 years ago

Wow, vandalizing your own property seems counter-productive.

Irony
Irony
12 years ago

@Bernie Stanley

“…vandalizing your own property seems counter-productive.”

Now that’s an interesting statement. Is it vandalism, or is it something far more destructive, like freedom of speech? While it is counter-productive and an eye sore it got RBS’s attention and ours. It appears that Mr French will take advantage of any type of advertising, even if it draws criticism.

Nicholai
Nicholai
12 years ago

says to me he’s saying “i fixed it from being broken i can leave it broken again when i leave.” i blame reality tv