Former Billy Jefferson apartments go to out-of-town buyer for $25M

gallery midtown

Spy Rock built a clubhouse and swimming pool at The Gallery Midtown. (Jonathan Spiers)

One year after completing renovations to a portfolio of apartments once owned by a notorious Richmond landlord, a local development company and its Boston-based collaborator have sold the portfolio’s flagship property and are on track to cash in on the rest.

Spy Rock Real Estate and Boston-based Davis Cos. on June 5 sold their 157-unit Gallery Midtown complex at 308 N. Nansemond St. for $25.1 million – nearly the total amount they paid three years ago for the entire portfolio that included that property and 219 other apartments scattered among 20 buildings throughout the Fan and Museum districts.

City property records list the buyer as PC Gallery LLC, which lists the same office address as Utah-based Peak Capital Partners. A call to the company was not returned Friday. The privately owned real estate investment firm owns dozens of apartment properties across the country, including two in Virginia, in Newport News and Virginia Beach.

gallery midtown clubhouse

The 3,700-square-foot clubhouse includes a fitness room, lounge and billiards table.
(Jonathan Spiers)

The property was listed along with the rest of the portfolio, collectively branded as The Collection Midtown, in mid-January through ARA Newmark. Wink Ewing, Mike Marshall and Drew White had the listing, which did not include an asking price.

The properties once comprised the bulk of imprisoned Richmond landlord Billy Jefferson’s former River City Renaissance portfolios, which Spy Rock and Davis purchased for $37.35 million in a 2015 auction.

That same year Spy Rock and Davis unloaded six of the 29 properties that made up the Jefferson portfolio for $6.36 million, bringing the total purchase price for The Collection Midtown to just under $31 million.

The latest city assessment valued the Gallery Midtown property at $20.1 million.

The rest of the apartments that make up The Collection Midtown are under contract to be purchased and slated to close in mid-July, according to Ewing. He would not comment on whether the buyer in that deal is Peak Capital or someone else.

Spy Rock principal Andrew Basham could not be reached for comment Friday.

Spy Rock and Davis put $8.4 million over two years into the renovations, which wrapped up last summer with the completion of a clubhouse and swimming pool at Gallery Midtown, previously known as River City Court.

Basham said in February that putting the portfolio up for sale had been the end-goal all along for Davis and Spy Rock, which Basham co-leads with fellow principal Taylor Williams.

The 376 units total nearly 298,000 square feet of rentable space and were 96 percent occupied when they were listed. Monthly rents for the units average about $1,200, and average unit sizes range from 768 square feet at Gallery Midtown and 810 square feet for the Collection apartments.

Spy Rock’s other projects around town include a mixed-use development at the former Symbol Mattress Co. site in Scott’s Addition, where it also developed The Preserve in Scott’s Addition apartments. The firm is also working in that neighborhood on a retail-office conversion of the former McKinnon and Harris building at 1806 Summit Ave., which it purchased last month for $2.5 million with neighboring property owner Brad Cummings.

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Biff Leonard
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Biff Leonard

Readers might be interested in knowing where these apartments are located.

Matt Faris
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Matt Faris

Isn’t it on N. Nansemond Street as per the article?

Bruce Milam
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Bruce Milam

Biff, they are located between Thompson and Nansemond, Hanover and Stuart in the Museum District. These were neglected run down units until Spyrock turned them around and added the amenity package. As a MDA resident, I think them very much. Peak is an excellent long term management company and fine new neighbor.