Usual suspects line up to buy bus depot

Developers recently submitted proposals to buy the old GRTC bus depot. Photos by Michael Thompson.

Developers recently submitted proposals to buy the old GRTC bus depot. Photos by Michael Thompson.

Update: This story has been updated to reflect a correction of the assessed value of the GRTC property and to include the value of a recent appraisal. 

In what reads like a who’s who of the Richmond commercial real estate scene, the list of suitors to buy the old Greater Richmond Transit Co. bus depot was released Wednesday.

GRTC said it received 12 proposals from parties interested in purchasing the 7-acre bus depot at 101 S. Davis Ave., also often referred to as the bus barn. The deadline for submissions was yesterday.

The bidders included Louis Salomonsky’s Historic Housing, Blackwood Development Co., Charles Macfarlane’s CK-Klein Macfarlane LP, Steve Middleton’s Commonwealth Properties and The Wilton Cos.

And Chris Johnson and Tom Dickey of Monument Cos. are teaming up with Howard Kellman of Edison Cos. in a joint venture proposal for the site.

“It’s a great piece of real estate and a great part of the city,” Johnson said, declining to comment further on what they have in mind for the property.

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The property has been out of use for about five years.

Other firms that submitted are Kotarides Developers of Virginia Beach, Greenberg Gibbons of Maryland, Barong Real Estate Associates, CaryTown Development Partners, Miller and Smith Land Inc. and Trammell Crow Co.

Those from the list that could be reached for comment Wednesday would not discuss their plans.

A sale would open up potential development on the 112-year-old property and its nine buildings that total 112,000 square feet. The site sits just south of the Fan District and east of Carytown and is bounded by Cary Street, Grayland Avenue, Stafford Avenue and Robinson Street.

The property, which is made up of two parcels, was most recently assessed by the city at a total of $4.18 million, property records show. GRTC spokeswoman Carrie Rose Pace said the organization had the property appraised and the resulting value was $7 million.

Johnson said GRTC’s requests were limited to the proposed sale price and how quickly a deal could close.

Rose Pace said applicants were not required to say what their plans for the property would be. The organization first issued a request for proposals in May.

Negotiations with the bidders are scheduled to begin this month, and the land could be awarded as early as Sept. 15 when the GRTC has a board meeting. An internal review group will make a recommendation to the GRTC board of directors, which will then either approve the recommendation or continue the review process. Ultimately, GRTC’s board of directors has final say on who gets the land.

Rose Pace said 70 percent of GRTC’s decision will be determined by which proposal will give the organization the best financial return. The rest of the decision will be based on how easily a deal could close.

GRTC, a nonprofit owned by the city of Richmond and Chesterfield County, has owned the property since 1973 and used it until 2010, when bus maintenance and operations were moved to the Southside. The site had been in use for public transit since 1903.

In 2012, an intensive clean-up began to remove bus-related chemicals from the grounds. That process is expected to be completed in November.

As it sat idle during the cleaning process, the property got a makeover in 2013 when muralists were invited to splash some paint on the grounds as part of that year’s RVA Street Art Festival.

BizSense reporter Katie Demeria contributed to this report.

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