Apartments rise at Libbie Mill

A rendering of the courtyard. (Courtesy Gumenick Properties)

A residential anchor of a years-in-the-making mixed-use development is on track to deliver the community’s first rental units this fall.

Construction is nearing the finish line on the 327-unit Penstock Quarter apartments in Libbie Mill-Midtown, the community by developer Gumenick Properties between Staples Mill Road and Libbie Avenue.

Pre-leasing for the apartments starts this month, with the first units to open to residents in November and full completion anticipated for early next year.

The nearly 500,000-square-foot building includes four floors of apartments above 40,000 square feet of street-frontage retail.

Construction started in mid-2016 and largely has remained on schedule, said Skip Nash, vice president of property management for Gumenick.

“We’ve been delivering townhomes and condos for a while in the community, so the complement of these apartments at Penstock Quarter will help put that mixed-use piece of residential together,” Nash said.

Apartments range from studios to three-bedroom units, with floor plans ranging from 455 to nearly 1,300 square feet. Monthly rents start at just over $1,000.

The five-story, nearly 500,000-square-foot building includes 40,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space fronting surrounding streets, a parking garage on the first two levels and a 1-acre central courtyard above that, with a swimming pool, sundecks and grilling areas enclosed by the upper-level apartments.

Each apartment includes a balcony facing either the courtyard or outward. The majority of the units are one-bedrooms and studios, which property manager Diane Tidwell described as a new product for the area of Henrico.

“We’re excited to test studios in this market,” Tidwell said. “There’s been some strong demand for them in downtown locations, so we’re excited to add them in the Midtown location.”

A rendering of an apartment interior. (Courtesy Gumenick Properties)

Whiting-Turner is building the apartments, which were designed by Richmond-based Commonwealth Architects. Gumenick will manage the property.

Tidwell and Nash would not disclose a construction cost for the building, in keeping with Gumenick’s practice of not releasing such figures.

Meanwhile, construction is likewise progressing on Libbie Mill’s townhomes and condos, collectively called the Neighborhood of Libbie Mill-Midtown.

Of 994 for-sale homes approved for the development, Nash said 56 have been built and only one remains available for purchase. He said another 58 are under construction, 36 of which have been sold.

Gumenick is building the townhomes and condos, which are grouped on the development’s western end. The three-story townhomes range from 1,300 to 2,400 square feet and are priced from $285,000 to $450,000 and up. The condos, housed in four-story buildings, range from 1,500 to 2,400 square feet and are priced from $319,000 to $425,000 and up.

Nash said future phases would include additional residential units and office space. The 80-acre development, which started in 2014 and is slated to take 10 years to complete, is approved for 994 homes, as many as 1,096 apartments and about 160,000 square feet of retail space.

The development includes the 60,000-square-foot, Henrico County-run Libbie Mill Library, as well as commercial tenants such as Shagbark restaurant, a TowneBank branch, offices for Richmond Memorial Health Foundation and insurance company Rutherfoord. Its newest commercial tenant, fitness center 9Round, opened Monday.

Gumenick has been trying to fill the retail anchor space left vacant by gourmet foods store Southern Season and in-house restaurant Southerly, both of which closed in 2016. Nash said he had no updates on a user for the 53,000-square-foot space.

An entity tied to Gumenick filed a lawsuit last year against former Southern Season CEO W. Clay Hamner and CFO Brian Fauver for fraud and more than $350,000 in damages over an agreement tied to the store’s lease. That suit remains active, with the latest federal court filings recorded in April.

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Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson
3 years ago

They are never going to fill the Southern Seasons store as one space; it will have to be split into smaller spaces unless they say want to put in an Aldi or Walmart Neighborhood Market. The space is too small for most traditional big box stores and too large for a small business. And the location is terrible for getting in and out via Staples Mill Road.

Bert Hapablap
Bert Hapablap
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dodson

I agree about sectioning the Southern Seasons store. This development has been kind of a disappointment but hopefully in time it will fill out. It’s certainly an area ripe for growth.

Mary Beth Henry
Mary Beth Henry
3 years ago

They have done a nice job with the aesthetics of this development. Let’s hope the county widens (and extends a right turn lane) Bethlehem Road at Staples Mill Road to accommodate the additional traffic at an already congested intersection. A bike lane would be great as well.

Frank Smith
Frank Smith
3 years ago

Libby Mill is a perfect place for a drive-though Starbucks.

Altaree Draeden
Altaree Draeden
3 years ago

Lumber Liquidators will be leasing the entire Southern Seasons store for their Headquarters.