Downsizing near the Diamond


A Richmond nonprofit is selling its building in a neighborhood that’s been home to some big deals lately.

The Richmond Gay Community Foundation is selling its 50,000-square-foot office and thrift store on 1407 Sherwood Ave. for $1.5 million.

The foundation’s parcels, which are near the Diamond, are tucked between Interstate 64 and the Wyeth plant, which Rebkee Company bought in September for $1.7 million.

RGCF purchased the building in 2004 for $900,000 but never used all the space, said executive director Bill Harrison.

“The bottom line is the building is too big,” Harrison said. “The foundation is on solid financial footing, but we need to be more reasonable about the space we have and consider what we need.”

The building is home to Diversity Thrift Store, the Richmond Gay Community Center of Richmond and a twice-weekly bingo game. But to expand into the entire space required costly renovations.

“When the foundation was launched in 2009, it was sort of designed to fund other charitable organizations,” Harrison said. “But over the past three or four years, we haven’t been able to do that, and we’re trying to get back to that model.”

The big money driver for the foundation is the thrift store, which cleared $652,500 in sales last year, Harrison said.

Harrison said the foundation is looking at other sites for the store. The nonprofit has a second store — the so-called DT2 — at 2219 W. Main St., and Harrison said that the nonprofit needs to be savvier in picking a second location because the customer base is the same at both sites.

The organization is also assessing whether it needs a community center or can do more without a costly real estate investment, Harrison said.

Gregg Beck, a broker with Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer who is selling the building for the RGCF, said the space would work best as a combination office/warehouse space for multiple tenants.

“We’ve been quietly marketing it for about a month now, but we’re getting ready to step it up and market more aggressively,” Beck said.

Ideally, it would be sold to investors who could put up the money to fix it up, he said.
Rebkee principal Robert Hargett said he didn’t think his company was interested in the foundation’s property.

“We’re pretty much done in that neighborhood for now, I think,” Hargett said.

The building isn’t historic, so it’s unlikely to be snatched up for adaptive reuse like so many other warehouses around Richmond.


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