Shockoe apartment market heats up

The apartment development market might be the only thing hotter than the weather in Richmond these days.

Marc Galt of Sensei Development and Chris Johnson and Tom Dickey of Monument Construction are teaming up again to build a 57-unit apartment complex at 200 N. 20th St., shown above, in Shockoe Bottom. The group has done more than 10 projects together over the years.

The $6.7 million project will include one-, two- and three-bedroom units and studios. It will also include about 500 square feet of retail space and 40 parking spaces, Galt said.

Designed by architect Walter Parks, the building will be about 67,500 square feet, including 15,000 square feet of parking and a 3,100-square-foot terrace with views of downtown, Galt said.

The project is going to the planning commission Monday and City Council on July 9. If all goes well, the team wants to break ground by mid-July, Galt said.

Getting to this point wasn’t easy. Galt said that the group has been navigating the special-use permit process for about a year and that the project had to be scaled back to win approval.

“The city felt the size and scope didn’t fit with the surrounding buildings,” Galt said. “The area is a mishmash of vacant lots, a few houses and old industrial structures. Our point was that there wasn’t much there in the first place.”

And because it is new construction and not a tax credit project, the compromise to scale it back makes the numbers a little tighter, Galt said.

“We had to cut out three units in the last round, but the economics still work,” Galt said. “It would have been a lot easier if we had those last units. That’s the problem with doing new construction is that you don’t get that rent abatement. It’s very hard to do new construction.”

Rent in the units will run from about $850 to $1,300.

Galt said the apartments should be finished in late spring, barring any soil or weather issues. The group hopes to attract MCV students and employees and other young professionals.

“Shockoe Bottom continues to be the hottest rental market in the Richmond metro area,” he said. “Also, the subject property has fabulous skyline views, and we have attempted to locate balconies to take advantage of these vistas.”

Also going to the planning commission in July is developer Louis Salomonsky’s 124-unit Canal Walk apartments adjacent to Have a Nice Day Café on 18th Street. His project is scheduled to be heard by the planning commission July 16 and by city council July 23.

Apartments are also under construction at the Reynolds North plant, where developers WVS and Fountainhead are building about 170 apartments in the first phase of that project. The first 20 apartments will be finished in November, along with Mexican restaurant Casa del Barco, which is slated for the bottom floor of the Italianate building.

View Larger Map

Leave a Reply

1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
Zig Gurat Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Zig Gurat
Zig Gurat

Marc Galt…I wonder if there are any Hebrew Cemeteries he can build over? Oh wait he already did that and Planning approved it! I don’t think he’ll have any problem passing this through.