Downtown renovation takes a baby step

The Central National Bank building at 219 E. Broad St. (Photo by Michael Schwartz)

The Central National Bank building at 219 E. Broad. (Photo by Michael Schwartz)

There’s a small sign of life at a long dormant downtown skyscraper.

A covered barrier has been erected over the sidewalk in front of the Central National Bank building at the corner of East Broad and Third streets.

The barricade and scaffolding will make way for an overhead swinging stage that will inspect the facade of the 23-story building this summer, according to a building permit filed with the city.

It’s the first work on the property significant enough to require a building permit since 2005, the same year the 240,000-square-foot building was acquired by Washington-based Douglas Development Co.

Whiting-Turner Contracting is the contractor for the job.

Norman Jemal, principal and senior vice president at Douglas Development Co., told BizSense in January that the company plans to redevelop the Central National Bank building into apartments this year.

Tom Schneck, a spokesman for Douglas Development, said that financing for the project isn’t in place and that the company prefers to secure tenants on its properties before starting major construction.

“We’re in the midst of trying to gear up,” Schneck said. “But we’re not completely there yet.”

The building, at 219 E. Broad St., has been vacant for almost a decade. It was built in the late 1920s.

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5 Comments on "Downtown renovation takes a baby step"

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Jeff Sadler

This is very exciting. This building is a Richmond landmark and it will be good to have it spiffed up. Also, more people living in that area will be good for the Broad Street and Grace Street revitalization.

Patrick Clark

What the City needs to do is have a moratorium on suburban sprawl and have some actual incentives to live in one of these downtown buildings, apart from the beautiful architecture.


FYI – The City has no control over the suburban localities and vice versa. That has traditionally been part of the problem. They all work separately and towards only their own interests.

Cindy Ashwell Mims

Yeah! Finally such a beautiful building. It will be great to see it alive! Also don’t forget to include some affordable units…for those of us who love our beautiful city downtown area but have been completely priced out leaving us to be forced to choose the burbs. Crazy traffic out here!

Michael D.

Yeah sorry but I have no hope that under this owner anything will happen. He owns several 1/2 done buildings along Broad and 2nd, 3rd and 4th too. First hotel, then office, now apartments that should be under construction, no wait we want tenants first.

Good things will come but not under DDC!