VCU grabs more space on Cary

VCU has bought the building at 9 W. Cary St. that used to house a drapery store. Photos by Katie Demeria.

VCU has bought the building at 9 W. Cary St. that used to house a drapery store. Photos by Katie Demeria.

VCU has gobbled up more downtown real estate.

The university purchased the building at 9 W. Cary St. as the new home for its Office of Continuing and Professional Education. It paid $1.02 million for the property in a deal that closed on Nov. 17.

The 7,000-square-foot building formerly housed Specialty Drapery, which moved to 1221 Admiral St. in the Northside. The building’s previous owner was Lovette Partners LLC.

The Office of Continuing and Professional Education formed in July to centralize several offices under one title. Michael Huffman, interim director of the program, said it focuses on developing VCU’s non-credit offerings and reaches out to non-traditional, adult students.

The OCPE will set up shop in the building’s first floor, giving it street-level visibility that Huffman said is vital for the programs it offers.

“The new building provides us with a wonderful storefront,” Huffman said. “Close to 10,000 cars drive by that location every day, and they’re going to the central business district, the state government or our medical campus. It’s a convenient location for adult learners.”

The school has plans to put up signage on the building to draw attention to its programs that include training and professional development as well as certificate programs.

Huffman said he hopes to officially move his staff of around 15 into the space by July of next year at the latest. Some school technology staff is planning to occupy the second floor of the building.

VCU is looking into potential renovations for the property, all of which will be completed by the school’s in-house construction and planning departments.

There will be some moderate work done internally, Huffman said, but the school will try to be very minimal with any structural changes, preferring an open floor plan.

He did not provide a budget for any potential construction work.

“If it all comes out according to plan, it’s going to be a very well-designed, very durable space that will be used by the university for many years to come,” Huffman said.

With its creation, the Office of Continuing and Professional Education pulled under its umbrella the Center for Professional Growth, the Office of Continuing Studies and the newly created Virginia Center for Consensus Building.

This latest real estate acquisition is only a piece of VCU’s expansion into the areas surrounding campus. It is continuing its move downtown, constructing in Short Pump, rehabilitating offices, and working on a major new arts facility.

Correction: A previous version misidentified VCU’s Office of Continuing and Professional Education as the Office of Continuing Education and Professional Studies.

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