‘Modest Project’ continues Manchester’s commercial streak

Dubbed the Modest Project, the latest renovation in Manchester will add even more commercial space and apartments to the growing Hull Street. Photos by Katie Demeria.

Dubbed the Modest Project, the latest renovation in Manchester will add even more commercial space and apartments to the growing Hull Street corridor. Photos by Katie Demeria.

Hull Street fever is spreading further through Manchester.

The Plains Management Co., based out of Plains, Virginia, is renovating three buildings at 1309-1315 Hull St. with plans to add four commercial spaces and 14 apartments.

The properties sit just a storefront away from builder RJ Smith’s Urban Charm development, which will add another four commercial spaces and 34 apartments.

Charlie Westbrook, managing partner of Plains Management Co., said the company mostly does multifamily work in its home territory of Fauquier County. This is its first Richmond project. It purchased the properties last summer for $600,000.

“We like the dynamics that Richmond offers us in terms of our investment criteria,” Westbrook said. “It’s basically the old real estate adage of location, location, location – being close to the river and the proximity to downtown was too good to pass up.”

Once completed, the properties will boast four new storefronts between them.

Once completed, the properties will boast four new storefronts between them.

Construction on the Hull Street project, dubbed temporarily the “Modest Project” in reference to the Modest Apparel sign over 1309 Hull St., should start within the next few weeks and then wrap up by the end of 2016.

Once renovated, the buildings will sport 3,500-square-feet of ground-floor commercial space between them, split into four storefronts. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer is handling leasing. Westbrook said he has talked with some national and local chains as potential tenants.

“We would love a boutique, restaurant, coffee shop and art gallery,” he said.

The 9,500-square-feet of residential space will be split into 14 apartments, all but two of which will be one-bedroom units.

Westbrook did not share a hard investment cost, but said he is currently in discussions with lenders for financing. He said he will pursue historic tax credits as part of the project. He believes the buildings were constructed between 1860 and 1890.

J.D. Lewis Construction Management is the general contractor, with Walter Parks Architects designing the project.

“We are long-term holders of this property. We have a long-term view,” Westbrook said. “I first started looking a year ago, and we put the buildings under contract over the summer, and I’m amazed already at the growth and progress in Manchester just in the year I’ve been involved.”

Yasmine Hamad of Colliers International helped Westbrook find the property, representing the sellers. She’s helped several buyers on Hull Street find their properties, including RJ Smith, after she recognized the street’s potential and encouraged owners to sell.

In addition to the recent interest in Hull Street, Manchester continues to burst with activity. The Southside neighborhood has 12 new townhomes in the works, a new retail-focused development on the horizon and a new grocery store possibly around the corner at Reynolds South.

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Bruce Milam
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Bruce Milam

Yasmine Hamad aka Miss Manchester has sold more buildings along that commercial strip than all the others combined. She’s had a phenomenal role in recognizing the potential and need to turn around those blocks of beautiful old buildings. RJSmith’s acquisition of the properties owned by the church were they to the Renaissance. Welcome to the party Charlie Westbrook and Spyrock among others.

Bruce Milam
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Bruce Milam

That should say “was the key to the Renaissance”

Marcus Squires
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Marcus Squires

The Modest Building is one of Manchester’s only iron clad buildings it’s nice to see it come back to life!

Patti Wright
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Patti Wright

Stunning architecture being brought back to life…such an exciting time for downtown residents. Now we are looking for practical, walkable, retail to fill those spaces as we already have boutiques and coffee shops.

Michael Hild
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Great news for Manchester’s Hull Street!