Work begins at 60-home Forest Hill project

The Southside land has been cleared for the development of new townhomes. Photos by Jonathan Spiers.

The Southside land has been cleared for the development of new townhomes. Photos by Jonathan Spiers.

A swath of land recently cleared off Forest Hill Avenue is signaling the start of a new residential development in the city limits.

Site work is underway for Riverside Heights, a 59-unit townhome community. Hope Equity LLC, a 50-50 partnership between real estate developer Devon USA and an unnamed investor, is working with Ryan Homes to build the townhomes on 10 acres between Bliley Road and Westover Drive.

Ed Mitchell, managing director of Devon USA, said construction will progress with clusters of six units, the first of which is scheduled to be built by this summer. A six-home group would then be built each quarter after that, depending on sales volume. The site is approved by the city for 60 units, and sales are scheduled to start in mid-May.

Mitchell said Devon USA primarily focuses on commercial real estate but was drawn to the townhouse project by its location in an area with little developable land available.

See the site plans (PDF)

See the site plans (PDF)

“What is interesting to us about this site is there is not a lot of development land in the city of Richmond,” he said. “So the idea of having town houses at that location will be a good price point. Ryan’s got a great high-quality product, and the price point is going to be something that’s not currently available in that area.”

Prices for the homes will start in the low $200,000s. Each unit will be two levels with a minimum of 1,500 square feet, three bedrooms and 2½ bathrooms. Units with at least 2,000 square feet will have first-floor master bedrooms. Each unit will have a detached garage, and Mitchell said the community will include walking trails and several green areas.

“A lot of the site will be left undisturbed,” he said. “There could’ve been more density.”

Mitchell said the site consists of multiple parcels that were combined over the years. Hope Equity bought the parcels from several owners in the mid-2000s for about $800,000.

Including land acquisition, Mitchell put the total project cost at about $2.5 million. He said Hope Equity is financing the project internally.

Devon USA owns and manages a portfolio of commercial properties and has developed several sites, including the four Enterchange buildings at Northlake Business Park in Hanover County.

“This is a different project for us, but we thought it was an attractive project with our partner involved,” Mitchell said.

The townhomes will add to other multifamily housing in Forest Hill’s Cedarhurst area. Match Point Apartments is adjacent to the site, and Abbington Hills and Morningside Apartments are nearby.

Farther west in Forest Hill, the Arbors Senior Apartment Community was put on the market in December.

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