College students, consolidated


There’s an addition to the VCU skyline in the works.

Phil Roper of Whittle-Roper Realtors and architect Walter Parks want to turn a block of stores at the intersection of Shafer and Grace streets into a 10-story, 155,000-square-foot student apartment tower.

“We’ve been trying to get this together for about six years,” Roper said. “It looks like it’s finally coming together.”

According to documents filed with the city, the developers will demolish a one-story building and build the tower with ground-floor stores and nine stories of 152 apartments. There will also be a penthouse.

Sean Eichert of the property management firm Plus Management, which will manage the property, said it was too early to talk about how much the project would cost and said talks on financing were ongoing.

“There are still some stars that have to align for this to happen,” he said.

Eichert said the rents would be “market rate” but did not elaborate.

The owner of the current block of stores at 900 W. Grace St., Khalsa Professional Associates, is developing the apartments, Eichert said.

There is no general contractor assigned, and the job will be put up for bid once the group, ShaferGrace LLC, is ready to proceed, he said.

According to the proposal, the development has a “letter of non-opposition” from the Fan District Association, noting that a tower in the heart of the VCU campus would draw students out of the single-family homes in the Fan and back onto campus.

Student apartments are hot. The Rhode Island-based developer Gilbane has built a 160-unit apartment building for students at 8½ Canal and has broken ground on 134 units in the Carver neighborhood.

And 269 units are going up on Chamberlayne Avenue, just on the opposite side of I-95 from the VCU campus. These additions come amid a massive expansion of VCU’s own dorms. The school is adding almost 1,000 beds between two new dorm buildings on Grace Street and an expansion of the dorms at Broad and Belvidere.

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Ruben Foster

I miss the toasted sandwiches from Vitos. They were much better than Stuffys on Harrison and were a staple of my undergraduate years. Current VCU students wouldn’t know anything about Vitos 🙁