Add another building to VCU’s downtown real estate empire.
The school last month bought the former Richmond Glass Shop building at 814 W. Broad St., where it plans a $6.8 million build-out for two of its arts programs.
“We’ve been negotiating with the owners there for several months now,” said Brian Ohlinger, head of VCU Facilities Management, “but it took us that long to get the proper financing together to acquire it.”
VCU paid $2.1 million for the building, which once housed a trolley station and most recently was home to the Richmond Glass Shop. It has 18,000 square feet of space and includes two warehouses on Marshall Street with an additional 8,500 square feet, according to city records.
The development, which is being handled by the school’s nonprofit real estate foundation, will look to qualify for historic tax credits, Ohlinger said.
Richmond-based TRENT will be the general contractor, and Commonwealth Architects is the architect. Construction should be completed by December, in time for the spring semester, he said.
Ohlinger said the building would eventually house two programs from the VCU School of the Arts, including dance and visual production.
“We were looking for a building with large volumes of space for stages, sets, green screens and the like, and the trolley station had that,” he said. “We think it will be excellent for that program.
The dance program will be housed in the warehouse space in the back, which will be renovated with a small addition, he said.
The school identified the old trolley station in its $3 billion master plan.
In addition to the station, the plan identified the nearby Sahara restaurant property as a future acquisition target. The master plan shows the location would be converted into a student wellness center.
Ohlinger said VCU wasn’t putting in offers on Sahara right now.
“If and when the space becomes available, we are interested in buying it,” he said. “We have a nice idea for something that would fit really well in that space.”
Richmond Glass Shop moved around the corner to 306 Gilmer St.