Two of Richmond’s densest neighborhoods are getting more multifamily housing in one of the only spaces left: on top of existing buildings.
A couple of highly visible projects are turning heads skyward with the addition of a third story to the former Chadwick Antiques building at Libbie and Grove, and a dozen apartments above the Glave & Holmes Architecture building at 2101 E. Main St. in Shockoe Bottom.
The Libbie and Grove project, called The Chadwick on Grove, is converting the previously two-story building at 5805 Grove Ave. into two retail spaces on the ground floor and four condominiums on the second and third floors.
The two second-floor condos recently hit the market, while the top-level units have already been sold. Tom Innes of Re/Max Commonwealth listed the second-floor units on April 15 for $1.05 million and $1.5 million.
Those units range from 2,200 to 3,700 square feet, respectively. Innes said the floorplans mirror the third-floor units, which were purchased last year – one of them by the project’s developers, Mark and Lou Gambill.
Mark Gambill, a founding partner and chairman of downtown financial firm Cary Street Partners, said the project came about when Lou moved her furniture and home décor shop, Fraiche, into the building, beside women’s apparel store Levys, which fills the other retail space.
“My wife owns one of the two retail stores on the first floor,” he said. “She was looking to expand her space – she started off around the corner on Libbie and needed more space – and this became available for her store.
“We got the idea of putting some condominiums upstairs, and then, lo and behold, we said, ‘Well, it’d be a good time to maybe consider moving,’” he said with a laugh.
Gambill said they plan to list their home on Rothesay Circle and move into the Chadwick by the first quarter of next year, by which time he expects the rest of the units to be sold and occupied. Innes said he’s received interest in the two remaining units, with no takers as of yet.
“It’s interesting, because they’re fairly expensive, and actually we’ve had more interest in the larger unit than we’ve had in the smaller unit,” Innes said. “I would have thought it was the other way around, but the interest has been in the larger unit.”
Work on the Chadwick started last fall and is slated for completion by the end of this year. Daniel & Company is the contractor, and Studio Z Architecture designed the project.
Gambill declined to share the overall cost of the project, adding only that he’s not standing to make a significant profit.
“We’re not looking to make any money on this,” he said. “We’re doing it because it’s a perfect place for us to move, and also, we’re excited about doing this for the neighborhood.”
The Gambills purchased the building in 2013 for $3.1 million with Gibbs and Sharon Moody, who the Gambills later bought out. Sharon Moody co-owned Fraiche at the time.
That purchase was made through an entity called Hungars LLC. The building’s ownership was transferred last November to McKenzie Holdings LLC, which Gambill described as a family holding company.
The addition to the Chadwick comes as another set of developers review their plans to redevelop the nearby Westhampton Theater, which recently closed after nearly 80 years. Westhampton LLC, consisting of Stefan Cametas and Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer broker Jason Guillot, have proposed a mixed-use development that initially called for raising the height of the former movie house to add condominiums above food and retail tenants.
Gambill, who is not involved in that project, declined to comment on the Westhampton project specifically but noted his own development’s part in Libbie and Grove going vertical.
“We see this as inevitable, as far as you can’t develop a building without putting a little more height on it,” he said. “I think the redevelopment of that neighborhood is exciting.”
Meanwhile, in Shockoe Bottom, a similar project is adding 12 apartments on top of the Glave & Holmes Architecture building at 21st and Main streets, expanding Fulton Hill Properties’ adjacent Haxall View apartments.
Fulton Hill is behind the expansion, which will add to 17 units that currently fill the adjacent building, a former cigar factory that the developer converted in 2005. Work began on the Glave & Holmes addition around the start of the year and is targeted for completion by the end of July, said Jon Ondrak, Fulton Hill’s COO.
Ondrak said the existing 17 units, which range from about 366-square-foot lofts to 1,700-square-foot apartments, are fully leased and occupied, as are the development’s commercial components. He declined to disclose the cost of the expansion or the units’ rental rates.
Glave & Holmes is designing the new units, which are being built by Tekton Builders.
Ondrak said the expansion has changed from initial plans, which would have provided additional space for Glave & Holmes, but he said the additional apartments were envisioned with the overall project.
“The expansion is something that’s been contemplated for a while, and we felt that market conditions were appropriate enough right now to go ahead and do it,” Ondrak said.