Property manager dives into development

The former Rentz building in the Fan is set to be turned into apartments. Photo by Burl Rolett.

The former Robert Rentz Interiors building in the Fan is set to be turned into apartments. Photo by Burl Rolett.

A local property manager is using a prime piece of Fan real estate as its springboard into the development game.

Landmark Property Services is turning the former Robert Rentz Interiors building at 1700 W. Main St. into 22 one-bedroom apartments and about 3,000 square feet of Main Street-fronting commercial space.

The $2 million conversion will be Landmark’s first attempt at real estate development after managing thousands of apartments in Virginia and North Carolina.

Company president Brian Chase said he thinks the building will appeal to younger renters with an eye to move up in the Richmond apartment market.

“We’re hoping we’re going to get the mid-20s, early-30s people that want to move into the Fan into something new, something high-end, and maybe want to get out of Shockoe Bottom,” Chase said.

Landmark, acting as 1700 Main LLC, bought the Rentz building last month for $1.7 million. It’s a 94-year-old, two-story building totaling about 20,000 square feet.

Brian Chase

Brian Chase

The property first came on Landmark’s radar over the summer, Chase said, after One South Realty broker Tom Rosman pitched the deal to Landmark. Robert Rentz owned the building previously. It held the interior shop’s showroom on the first floor with office and storage space on the second floor.

Rosman represented Landmark in its purchase and took the idea for an apartment development from a similar project at One South’s home office. Last year, the real estate firm opened up five of its own apartments six blocks west from the Robert Rentz building at 2314 W. Main St.

The apartments filled up quickly, One South’s website says, because “‘new apartments’ and ‘Fan District’ are not often used in the same sentence.” Rosman said four units are currently occupied and a fifth recently became vacant. Those apartments are renting for $1,300 and $1,400 for two-bedrooms and $1,100 for the one-bedroom unit.

“(1700 W. Main St.) has always been, in my mind, a mixed-use building with commercial downstairs and residential in the rear and upstairs,” Rosman said. “When I saw the building, I thought of our building here.”

The 22 apartments Rentz building will range from about 550 square feet to 750 square feet. Chase said he is aiming for rental rates between $1,100 and $1,500 a month.

The property will also have about 3,000 square feet of commercial space. Work is underway and Landmark hopes to have the building ready for tenants by August. Johannas Design Group designed the building, Monument Construction is the general contractor and Xenith Bank is financing the project.

Landmark’s primary business is property management, and Chase said the company handles about 5,000 apartments and 35 homeowner and condo associations. Chase said he liked the Main Street building for its location, estimating it’s within walking distance of about 30 or 40 restaurants and bars.

“This is new for us, getting in a small development deal,” Chase said. “The deal just presented itself, and we felt like we had a specific project that we wanted to try.”

Update: Robert Rentz has relocated his shop to a space at Kensington and Belmont avenues that he is currently subleasing. He said the Main Street property was more space than he needed, and the building was as much a real estate investment as it was a space to run his business.

“I did it as an investment however many years ago that I bought it,” Rentz said. “I was happy with the way things went and happy to move on from it now.” 

The former Rentz building in the Fan is set to be turned into apartments. Photo by Burl Rolett.

The former Robert Rentz Interiors building in the Fan is set to be turned into apartments. Photo by Burl Rolett.

A local property manager is using a prime piece of Fan real estate as its springboard into the development game.

Landmark Property Services is turning the former Robert Rentz Interiors building at 1700 W. Main St. into 22 one-bedroom apartments and about 3,000 square feet of Main Street-fronting commercial space.

The $2 million conversion will be Landmark’s first attempt at real estate development after managing thousands of apartments in Virginia and North Carolina.

Company president Brian Chase said he thinks the building will appeal to younger renters with an eye to move up in the Richmond apartment market.

“We’re hoping we’re going to get the mid-20s, early-30s people that want to move into the Fan into something new, something high-end, and maybe want to get out of Shockoe Bottom,” Chase said.

Landmark, acting as 1700 Main LLC, bought the Rentz building last month for $1.7 million. It’s a 94-year-old, two-story building totaling about 20,000 square feet.

Brian Chase

Brian Chase

The property first came on Landmark’s radar over the summer, Chase said, after One South Realty broker Tom Rosman pitched the deal to Landmark. Robert Rentz owned the building previously. It held the interior shop’s showroom on the first floor with office and storage space on the second floor.

Rosman represented Landmark in its purchase and took the idea for an apartment development from a similar project at One South’s home office. Last year, the real estate firm opened up five of its own apartments six blocks west from the Robert Rentz building at 2314 W. Main St.

The apartments filled up quickly, One South’s website says, because “‘new apartments’ and ‘Fan District’ are not often used in the same sentence.” Rosman said four units are currently occupied and a fifth recently became vacant. Those apartments are renting for $1,300 and $1,400 for two-bedrooms and $1,100 for the one-bedroom unit.

“(1700 W. Main St.) has always been, in my mind, a mixed-use building with commercial downstairs and residential in the rear and upstairs,” Rosman said. “When I saw the building, I thought of our building here.”

The 22 apartments Rentz building will range from about 550 square feet to 750 square feet. Chase said he is aiming for rental rates between $1,100 and $1,500 a month.

The property will also have about 3,000 square feet of commercial space. Work is underway and Landmark hopes to have the building ready for tenants by August. Johannas Design Group designed the building, Monument Construction is the general contractor and Xenith Bank is financing the project.

Landmark’s primary business is property management, and Chase said the company handles about 5,000 apartments and 35 homeowner and condo associations. Chase said he liked the Main Street building for its location, estimating it’s within walking distance of about 30 or 40 restaurants and bars.

“This is new for us, getting in a small development deal,” Chase said. “The deal just presented itself, and we felt like we had a specific project that we wanted to try.”

Update: Robert Rentz has relocated his shop to a space at Kensington and Belmont avenues that he is currently subleasing. He said the Main Street property was more space than he needed, and the building was as much a real estate investment as it was a space to run his business.

“I did it as an investment however many years ago that I bought it,” Rentz said. “I was happy with the way things went and happy to move on from it now.” 

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