Developer bets on housing shortage

After a two-year hiatus, Gumenick Properties is resuming construction at the Monument Square development near Willow Lawn.

The company is nearing completion on a clubhouse, known as Shaffer Hall, and has filed building permits for a 33,000-square-foot, 12-unit condo building and four three-story townhouses.

Gumenick CEO Wayne Chasen said that one of the townhouses would be a model and that the other three would be for sale. Chasen said he hoped to have more townhouses in the pipeline after this round of construction.

Chasen would not comment on how much the company was looking to invest in the new construction. Estimates from building permits filed with Henrico County show an investment of at least $4 million, including at least $1.3 million for Shaffer Hall.

Commonwealth Architects is the architect.

According to documents provided by Gumenick spokesman Ed Crews, plans for Monument Square call for 240 units on 10 acres. Fifty-four of those units have been built and include three condo buildings and 15 townhouses.

Chasen said it has been about two years since the last building was completed at the development. Gumenick decided to start building again because of an improving housing market, he said.

“We’ve had consistent demand throughout the recession,” Chasen said. “But as strange as it seems, we sense a coming housing shortage. So it was a strategic approach that pushed us to go ahead with construction.”

Rick Jarvis, a realtor with One South Realty, said it’s not so strange at all.

“Condo inventory has fallen dramatically from its heights of 400-pus before the recession,” Jarvis said. “In terms of inventory, we’re down 60 to 70 percent.”

A slowdown in local condo building was prompted in part by a glut of condos that hit the Richmond market during the pre-recession housing boom. In recent years, developers in the Richmond market and beyond have invested heavily in apartments.

Permits for the Monument Square condos and townhouses filed this spring with the county are under review.

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Jay

Has there been any discussion on a timetable for the Staples Mill Project?

Mike Woods from Indianapolis
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I’m not surprised that the condo inventories have fallen in this area. Although I would be a tad concerned about how much “shadow inventory” there is.