They took a little off the top

A hotly contested student housing project is once again seeking approval from City Council.

Gilbane has made a few changes to its proposal to develop apartments on the 1200 block of Marshall Street in the Carver neighborhood north of Virginia Commonwealth University. The Planning Commission will vote on the project Nov. 21, followed by a council vote Nov. 28.

“What we have done is reduce the number of units and the number of bedrooms,” said Andy Condlin, an attorney with Williams Mullen who represents the Rhode Island-based developer.

“We were able to do that by taking off a complete floor, which also lowers the height,” Condlin said.

The new plans reduce the number of units from 164 to 136 and the number of bedrooms from 498 to 406. Condlin said the building will maintain the same parking ratio.

Last July, the Planning Commission voted against approval of the project as it was first proposed by a 4-3 vote. A number of residents spoke against the project, and the Carver neighborhood association had voted to oppose the project. Gilbane withdrew the project before council could vote on it.

The Carver Area Civic Improvement League has reversed its position, recently sending a letter of support to the planning department after voting on the revised proposal.

In its previous effort to approve the $35 million project, Gilbane contended that reducing the number of units was not economically feasible.

Condlin said the developer was able to go back and find some cost savings primarily by eliminating a portion of the underground parking garage, as well as “refining” the land price and construction costs.

Gilbane has a contract to buy the land from owner Frank Wood upon approval of the project for an undisclosed sum.

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Chris Small
Chris Small
8 years ago

Why is Richmond constantly so committed to low rise and less density. We are an urban area lets be urban and make it work not be suburban in an urban way and have it always end up being average and boring.

joe
joe
8 years ago

Because of nimbys. Nimbys have done lots of harm to Richmond. If you dont like density you really should move to a suburban area. This will be a very nice project in this area. At least something is getting built here. It looked like they might leave the uglyness that is there.

Brad
Brad
8 years ago

There does seem to be a pervasive fear of urbanism and density in this town. The potential is so great in so many areas of the city to not continue this discussion. Density is the key to activating those areas and energizing the fabric of the city. Shockoe Bottom, for example, continues to struggle without added density. The area could serve to really bridge the less dense residential areas to the east of the city to the denser urban core. Instead, it seems as if the majority view areas like this as “buffer zones”, without a sense of what affect… Read more »

Marsha Killington
Marsha Killington
8 years ago

Excellent comments so far. I’ll only add that this looks like a really good urban project and it would be an attractive addition to the streetscape.

Charles
Charles
8 years ago

Hear hear, great comments.

I live in the city because it’s a city. Not a suburb. Cities NEED density