As it prepares a move north, a local furniture maker didn’t need to look far to find a development group interested in the Scott’s Addition digs it’s leaving behind.
The McKinnon and Harris building at 1806 Summit Ave. is under contract to be purchased by neighboring property owners Brad Cummings and Spy Rock Real Estate Group, who plan to redevelop the 36,600-square-foot warehouse for commercial uses such as retail or office.
Cummings and Spy Rock principal Andrew Basham said they have struck a deal with McKinnon and Harris co-founder Will Massie to purchase the building when the furniture company moves to its new headquarters at 1722 Arlington Road, a 65,000-square-foot warehouse it is upgrading alongside Interstate 64 at the Boulevard interchange.
Massie, who is aiming to make that move in February, said he wanted to sell the building to Cummings and Spy Rock when they approached him about the property six months ago. The company, which makes aluminum outdoor furniture, purchased its current home in 2003 for $545,000. Property records show the latest city assessment valued the property at $1.48 million.
“They’re really great friends and neighbors, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for what they have done in Richmond,” Massie said. “We just didn’t want to be another landlord sitting on inventory when there was someone who could really do something great with the property and generate jobs for Richmond.”
Spy Rock is behind the adjacent mixed-use development at the former Symbol Mattress Co. site, while Cummings owns the next-door 1800 Summit Ave. building that houses Reservoir Distillery and Monument Consulting, the HR firm he sold in 2014.
Cummings and a partner also purchased the former Conner Brothers Body Shop at 1008 N. Sheppard St. in July. He said demand for that space fed into his appeal for the McKinnon and Harris building when he learned it would be available.
“We have an extra 3,500-square-foot part of that building that we’ve had no shortage of demand, so this felt like another logical situation where we know that there’s tons of demand for commercial,” Cummings said.
Basham, whose projects with fellow Spy Rock principal Taylor Williams have included The Preserve in Scott’s Addition and the Midtown Apartments in the Fan, said they will let that demand determine the use for the building, which he said could comfortably house one or two commercial users.
No residential use is planned for the property, which fills just over an acre and includes more than 50 on-site parking spaces – an amenity Basham noted is scarce in Scott’s Addition. While they plan to add some garage-style windows, Basham said the single-story building’s open interior and available utilities will facilitate redevelopment. Local firm Architecture AF is designing the space.
“The nice thing about it is it has sufficient power and water already, so when we go in to do our redevelopment, it will move pretty quickly,” Basham said. “(Massie) hasn’t added a lot of permanent walls on the interior, so it’s a clean slate.”
Basham said the additional windows will not compromise the historic integrity of the building, which was built in 1953 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Scott’s Addition Historic District. He said they have approval for the windows from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and are working on approval from the National Park Service, which has restricted other developers from cutting windows into buildings it has deemed historically significant.
Basham and Cummings said a goal for the building is to attract new users to Scott’s Addition, which has transformed in recent years from a historically industrial district to a haven for apartments, offices and breweries, as well as new recreation uses such as a recently opened bar-arcade.
“We’re trying to find users that’ll be complementary to what’s going on in Scott’s Addition,” Basham added, noting the building’s proximity to and visibility from the Boulevard providing access and potential signage opportunities.
Meanwhile, Spy Rock is nearing the finish line on the Symbol project, the apartments portion of which remains under construction. Basham acknowledged that project has fallen behind schedule but is aiming to have all of the apartments completed by next spring.
The McKinnon and Harris building adds to Spy Rock’s Scott’s Addition portfolio, which expanded in June with the company’s $7.7 million purchase of the 86,600-square-foot Dori Foods facility on Norfolk Street.