A half-finished apartment project left in the wake of the Justin French fiasco has been bought by an investor who plans to finish the project this summer.
Sam Salhab purchased the building at 2049 W. Broad St. from Paragon Bank in January for $660,000.
“I was a little hesitant at first, knowing the situation, but I ran the numbers and it made sense,” Salhab said.
Salhab owns a medical supply business that sells surgical knee implants. He also owns a handful of apartments across Richmond. Realtor Carter Snipes, who manages his other properties, presented Salhab the proposal to buy and finish 2049 W. Broad St.
“It was already zoned and approved, but we had to tweak some of the plans,” Salhab said.
Building permits are pending with Monument Construction as general contractor. Salhab said the construction budget for the renovation is about $900,000.
The finished project will consist of eight units of one-, two- and four-bedrooms catering to young professionals. The first floor will have a commercial space as well. The project will also take advantage of historic tax credits. It was recently added to the historic district, making it eligible for the program.
When Justin French was working on the property last year, it was one of the few that wasn’t part of his admitted tax credit fraud. (You can read about that whole thing here.) But it was still caught up in the controversy.
Plumbing and HVAC contracting company Green Air Inc. sued French and general contractor Cityspace Construction last summer for failing to pay bills. Green Air, and other subcontractors also filed mechanic’s liens, which were wiped out during the foreclosure.
Salhab said that he wanted many of the old contractors back on the project and that most of them have been invited to bid on the project.
Salhab said that certain parts of the project were half-finished or left in disarray, making the endeavor trickier.
“It is always easier to start from scratch,” he said. “There are so many unknowns when you go into a building like that.”
One unknown turned out to be a fun surprise. A time capsule from 1911 was buried in the northwest corner of the basement.
“I think we’ll have a special ceremony when we open it up,” Salhab said.