Big plans for one block


Scott’s Addition is about to get more than 100 more apartments on a full city block.

Richmond-based Franklin Development Group wants to turn an old industrial building at 3200 W. Clay St. into 131 units of mostly one- and two-bedroom and apartments. The project will cost between $18 million and $20 million, according to Shelli Brady, architect and president of the firm Alchemy, which is working with the developer.

Walter Parks is the project’s architect.

Brady filed the special use permit in March. Developers should see the final plans for the 132,000-square-foot building go before the planning commission and city council within the month, she said.

The building will be composed of about 96,000 square feet of the existing three-story structure and about 36,000 square feet of additions.

The apartment building, which will be financed using state and federal historic tax credits, should be attractive to a diverse group of tenants, Brady said.

“Since most of the units are one- and two-bedroom, we don’t expect a lot of families,” Brady said. “But we think it will be attractive to urban professionals and to empty-nesters who want to move back into the city.”

Because of the size of the building, only 46 units will have natural light coming from exterior windows. Seventy-three units will have skylights and interior windows providing light, and 16 will have indirect natural light from interior windows that open to corridors lit by skylights, according to plans.

The building will also have space for eight more units, but the developers are looking to fill a 5,000-square-foot corner of the building with a restaurant.

The building was constructed in the 1940s for the General Baking Company, a large industrial baker out of New York. The most recent tenant was the Richmond Fixture Company, a kitchen supply company.



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” We don’t expect families ” that’s an understatement – no natural light – skylights only – no windows – Good sales pitch – why not just build it underground.


I hope this one gets defeated and I may even go to the planning commission meeting. It is audacious to me that only 1/3 of the units will have natural light. This is just lazy. How much more does it cost to redesign the building so that all the units will have natural light? Wouldn’t those units command a premium over the current design? I’d imagine that the net present value of those cash flows would be higher.


Daylight provided by skylights is considered natural light. Not everyone needs a sweeping view and lots of floor to ceiling windows – this concept has been used in numerous warehouse conversions across the country – often these buildings are so deep that the footprints don’t allow all units to utilize perimeter walls where windows could be located. The use of interior light wells, skylights, and “borrowed light” from corridors are typical solutions for alternative ways to provide natural light. That said, its a great building and wonderful to hear that it will be put back into service.

The “no natural light from exterior windows” isn’t even anything particularly new to the Richmond area; there are already several developments that take advantage of “borrowed light.” For instance, the Iron House Place apartment building at 1309 W. Broad Street (near the Siegel Center, the building formerly occupied by Verry Berry), has several units that have no exterior windows. The apartments in the same building as Bistro 27 (downtown) has a few (2 or 3..maybe 4) units in the basement lacking any windows at all with the only light coming through openings in the sidewalk (similar to this, pay… Read more »
Nothing like oversaturating a market for the sake of getting your share of corporate welfare in the form of historic tax credits. This project is just another example of trendy energy inefficient apartements that fall apart after a few years due to cost cutting so that slick, greedy bastards can squeeze every ounce of profit out of the state and local tax dollars. And as to Brandon’s comment of how wonderful it is to hear that this building is being put back in service – that is just an ignorant statement. 3200 West Clay has been fully occupied by artists… Read more »