Scraping the bottom of the Shockoe barrel

Armitage building exterior

The Armitage building on Williamsburg Road. (Photos courtesy of Thalhimer)

Brokers are pitching a building near Shockoe Bottom as one of the last large-scale — you guessed it — historic tax-credit adaptive reuse apartment buildings in the area.

The 150,000-square-foot Armitage Building sits on a 4.5-acre plot of land at 3200 Williamsburg Road, between Rocketts Landing and Shockoe Bottom. It is listed with Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer.

According to the flyer distributed by the real estate brokerage, which does not list a price, the building could accommodate up to 150 apartments.

Jeff Cooke, who represents owner P&J Properties, said the building was being marketed specifically to apartment developers.

“This is not going out to the entire world. We’re marketing it only to qualified developers in the region, from Philadelphia on southward and, of course, to local developers,” Cooke said.

Birck Turnbull, another Thalhimer broker, is Cooke’s partner on the property.

The building was the headquarters of the Armitage Manufacturing Company, which produced tar paper roofing materials. The main portion of the building for sale today was built in 1900. It was designed by the Richmond firm Noland & Baskervill, now known as Baskervill, when the firm was just three years old.

Armitage building interior

Inside the Armitage building.

The city values the property at about $600,000, but Cooke said the owners expect significantly more.

“We want a lot more than that because the potential is there,” Cooke said. “It’s like that for a lot of investment properties. We withhold the price.”

Developer Marc Galt of Sensei Development said that he was going to take a look at the property but that he had concerns about the apartment market in the Shockoe area.

“It’s getting close to fully developed,” Galt said. “The demand continues to be strong, but I’d be concerned about something of that scale coming on the market with all the units in development right now.”

There are more than 300 new-construction apartments in development within a mile of the property, including Galt’s project on 20th Street, Louis Salomonsky’s planed 124-unit Canal Walk apartment building next to Have a Nice Day Cafe and Marcellus Wright Cox Architects’ planned 130 apartments at 1903 E. Marshall St.

And a mile and a half down the road, at Rocketts Landing, developers WVS are constructing a 150-unit apartment building.

But Salomonsky said he didn’t think the market was saturated just yet.

“I think the market is saturated in the medium income bracket,” he said. “But I think there is still a market for more high-end users. Shockoe is slowly but surely becoming a location that’s acceptable for more upper-income tenants. It’s a slow crawl, though.”

Salomonsky said the city needed to continue to crack down on crime and noise in the area and convert the old farmers market into a town square for the Bottom.

“I think the administration is moving in that direction,” he said.

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History Replays TodayTheodore NugentSeanBrettBruce Hobart Recent comment authors
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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam

its an interesting building in a unique location that I’ve shown a half dozen times over the years. Its going to be a challenge, but could result in some beautiful apartments.

Bruce Hobart
Bruce Hobart

Last dog at the SPCA.


Might need to buy up those shanty’s within eyesight and tear them down. As soon as people see that they will turn right around and drive off. Some of that stuff has even become condemned. The back way up to Libbie Hill is not a walk you want to take at night.


They call that area “Sugar Bottom”

Theodore Nugent
Theodore Nugent

There is a really beautiful home across the street concealed by some trees, looks quite old. Im sure it has an interesting history

History Replays Today

I hope something happens to this place SOON. The yellow building across the street that looks old IS old. It’s the John Woodard House. One of, if not the oldest frame house in Richmond.
Sugar Bottom is one of the oddest places in the city.
For a history of the Armitage building

FYI it is on Williamsburg AVE not rd