Downtown high-rise hits the market

Photos by Burl Rolett.

Genesis Properties is looking to sell the American Heritage building on East Main Street. Photos by Burl Rolett.

One of the early entrants in the downtown apartment tower market is up for grabs.

The American Heritage building at 1001 E. Main St. was listed for sale last month with an $8.3 million asking price. The building, which has 57 apartments and another 20 office and commercial units, was renovated by current owner Genesis Properties almost 10 years ago.

“Our loan is up, so we would have to refinance. And my partner is getting out of the business and wants to sell,” said Ron Hunt, head of Genesis Properties. “The market is good, so we decided with all that it was probably time to sell.”

The building is more than 100 years old and was one of Richmond’s first high-rises. It housed 12 floors of office space until it was converted into apartments in 2005. Now the building holds 23 one-bedroom apartments, 33 two-bedrooms and a single three-bedroom unit, as well as about three floors of commercial space.

Apartments rent between $800 and $1500 a month with the three-bedroom topping out at $2,100. Hunt said the property is about 92 percent occupied.

The 12-story building houses

The 12-story building houses nearly 60 apartments.

Genesis Properties, acting as American Heritage Place LLC, bought the 97,552-square-foot tower in 2002. More than $4.3 million in building permits was issued for the property between 2004 and 2005, according to city records.

“It was in need of renovation, nothing had been done for 20 to 30 years,” Hunt said. “It had an aluminum cladding that covered the whole building. We took that off, uncovered the brick, and did a historic tax (credit) deal.”

Blake Poore, a Joyner Commercial broker who’s handling the listing, said the property has consistently had occupancy rates above 90 percent since then.

“It’s a really top-notch apartment building,” he said. “It’s in the (Central Business District), walking distance to the MCV, has a lot of professionals in the building, MCV graduates, and people doing three- and four-year residencies.”

Genesis has meanwhile stayed busy with a trio of apartment development projects in the downtown area.

The development firm is working in joint venture with Virginia Beach-based Armada Hoffler Properties on a 174-apartment conversion at the former 700 Centre building at 7th and Franklin streets. Genesis also broke ground earlier this year on a 154-unit Hatcher Tobacco Flats.

If the American Heritage building sells, it will be the third downtown tower to find a buyer in recent months. Shamin Hotels bought the Main Street Mutual building at auction in the spring, and The Edison Company has the nearby Signet Bank buildings under contract in a deal scheduled to close in September.

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