With its demons of fraud and foreclosure in the past, a Glenside office building has fallen into the hands of a Catholic charity.
Commonwealth Catholic Charities last week acquired the Surry Building at 1601 Rolling Hills Dr. for $1.83 million. The organization plans to move its main offices into the 33,578-square-foot Forest Office Park building. The deal for the 2.4-acre property closed Feb. 7, according to Henrico County records.
Commonwealth Catholic Charities, which offers services including adoption, housing assistance for the homeless, emergency financial planning, and a food pantry, has been considering relocating its headquarters at Willow Lawn for about a year, spokesman Graham Sellors said.
The Surry Building offered access to bus lines, ample parking and a convenient drop-off point for donations, Sellors said. And the new building, which is empty, will allow the 90-year-old statewide nonprofit to rethink the operations and physical layout of its principal office.
“At this point, we’re always expanding,” he said. “We can sort of restructure how we do things, which will be good for us.”Commonwealth Catholic Charities bought the building from Norfolk-based Robinson Development Group, which took ownership of the building after foreclosing on its previous owners in January 2013. It was Robinson’s second go-round with the Surry Building: The firm sold it for $2.8 million in 2004.
Robinson bought a note backed by the Surry Building from First Community Bank in 2012, shortly after a member of the building’s previous ownership group was convicted on charges of fraud and tax evasion, sentenced to 11 years in federal prison, and ordered to pay more than $7 million in restitution – including forfeiting the Surry Building to its lender.
Since taking over the property, Robinson has updated the Surry Building in hopes of reselling it. The company renovated the lobby, common rooms and first-floor restrooms and did some landscaping work around the property’s parking lot.
CBRE | Richmond brokers David Wilkins and Will Bradley marketed the Surry Building for sale or lease and represented Robinson in the transaction.
Bradley said the plan from the beginning was to find a buyer that could make its own use of the office building.
“We targeted users, both partial- and full-building users, because of the vacancy in the property,” Bradley said. “We’ve seen a number of user-driven sales in the last couple of years because of attractive financing and pricing, and this is in line with that trend.”
Commonwealth Catholic Charities will occupy the entire Surry Building and hopes to move in this summer. Until then, the nonprofit continues to operate at 1512 Willow Lawn Dr. That building is for sale at an asking price of $1.55 million.
Commonwealth Catholic Charities also owns a 6,200-square-foot building at 511 W. Grace St., the former home of NDUTIME.
The organization had revenues and expenses of about $14 million for the fiscal year that ended in September 2012, according to its most recent financials available through nonprofit tracking company Guidestar.