New development firm quickly building its pipeline

Rob Stevens (left) and Carter Snipes. Photo by Michael Thompson.

Rob Stephens (left) and Carter Snipes. Photo by Michael Thompson.

Two veterans from the Richmond real estate scene are looking to make inroads in the development game.

Carter Snipes and Rob Stephens earlier this year launched River West Group, a new residential construction and development company that has quickly built up a pipeline projects around the city.

The company is renovating a handful of single-family residential properties in the Fan. It also bought a parcel in Church Hill and has two properties under contract in the Museum District and Scott’s Addition for potential apartment, office and retail projects.

Snipes and Stephens each bring a different perspective of the real estate industry to the table. Snipes owns real estate brokerage and property management firm Snipes Properties. Stephens has long been in construction for companies like MGT Construction, Ryan Homes, and Gumenick Properties.

“We decided we could team up and do deals together and offer (River West Group) as an extension of what I do at Snipes,” Snipes said. “I sign the deals for us and get the financing. Rob builds it, and I sell it.”

River West Group’s first jobs were three homes in the Fan that Snipes Properties bought in December. It is renovating the properties at 2023 Rosewood Ave., 2025 Maplewood Ave., and 1215 S. Meadow St., which are assessed at a combined $435,000, according to city records. Snipes said they are putting about $30,000 into the properties.

In January, River West Group bought a property at 3807 Monument Ave. for $260,000 and is now doing rehab there. The company also bought the parcel at 2112 E. Clay St. for $50,000. Snipes said the company plans to build a property with five apartments and a commercial space on the ground floor.

River West Group has two properties under contract, a parcel in the Museum District zoned for multifamily use and a 14,000-square-foot historic building in Scott’s Addition. For the Scott’s Addition project, Snipes said he hopes to do something similar to Plant Zero in Manchester.

“We’re planning to do a combination of artist studios, upscale office lofts, an art gallery space, as well as some boutique retail spaces on the street frontage,” Snipes said.

Snipes said he is financing these ventures through personal investment, equity partners, and lines of credit. He banks with First Capital and Chesapeake banks, he said.

River West Group shares an office with Snipes Properties at 7200 Glen Forest Drive.

Snipes said he and Stephens are longtime friends and had often batted around the idea of having their own construction company. “Brokerage and development have always been our passions,” Snipes said. “I think there’s a whole new generation that is coming of age to influence Richmond’s growth and development.”

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