Sources: Salomonsky buying Better Housing’s Scott’s Addition hotel

The former Quality Inn & Suites building at 3200 W. Broad St. (Mike Platania)

A local nonprofit has a buyer on the hook for the former hotel building in Scott’s Addition it had hoped to make its flagship redevelopment project.

Better Housing Coalition is under contract to sell the former Quality Inn & Suites building at 3200 W. Broad St. to Richmond developer Louis Salomonsky, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the deal.

BHC CEO Greta Harris confirmed the building is under contract but said she could not confirm or deny Salomonsky is the buyer. She said the deal is slated to close in December.

Salomonsky, who runs Shockoe Bottom-based Historic Housing with business partner David White, would not comment when reached Monday morning.

BHC has been in talks with prospective buyers for months since announcing in February it was weighing its options for the property after resolving a legal dispute with local developer Dominion Diversified Real Estate Group, which had alleged the nonprofit stole its idea to redevelop the six-story, 136,000-square-foot building.

BHC had planned a $42 million mixed-income, mixed-use redevelopment that would hinge on a $7 million capital campaign, which Harris has said lost momentum from the legal dispute.

The building, which has been vandalized in recent months, is under contract. (Mike Platania)

After reaching an undisclosed settlement with Dominion Diversified, Harris said BHC was weighing whether to go forward with the project as previously proposed, pursue a joint venture with a private commercial developer or sell the property and its 3.5 acres, which it purchased in 2016 for $5.9 million.

Harris said BHC has an executed contract to sell the property outright, without any involvement in its development or contingencies requiring housing types or price ranges. It’s unclear whether the building would be redeveloped or razed to make way for new construction.

“It was very difficult, but it was the right business decision,” Harris said. “Because of the notoriety, the huge amount of grant money that was going to be needed to make this (project) work – we just couldn’t hold onto it much longer because it had the potential to harm the organization.”

Adding to BHC’s concerns is a rash of recent break-ins that Harris said emphasize the need for additional housing options in Richmond. She said BHC has worked with city police and area homeless shelters to clear and relocate people – in some cases families with children – from the property on multiple occasions.

“We’re struggling to secure the building,” she said, adding that fencing that was cut has been fixed or replaced, and armed guards are providing overnight security to prevent further break-ins.

“I think it emphasizes that people are desperate for a place to call home,” Harris said, adding that about a dozen people were found and relocated from the building in each sweep.

She said BHC’s income-based rental properties are more than 98 percent occupied and its single-family housing units in development are all presold.

The Scott’s Addition building has been vandalized with graffiti in recent months, marking its stagnancy in contrast to other development in the fast-transitioning neighborhood. The building is across Mactavish Avenue from the redeveloped Sea Dream Leather building that now houses The Highpoint collaborative space.

A couple blocks away, Salomonsky and White are in the midst of constructing Scott’s View, a pair of residential towers with commercial street frontage on 2.5 acres at 1400 Roseneath Road.

Those towers are planned to house 350 apartments with monthly rents ranging from $1,100 for a larger one-bedroom unit.

Rents at the converted Quality Inn were expected to range between $700 and $1,000 a month for a two-bedroom apartment. BHC had targeted the project to serve families with incomes between $28,000 and $58,000 for a two-person household.

Harris said proceeds from the building’s sale would help BHC fund other projects throughout the Richmond area.

Without the hotel building as an option, and with its other properties mostly occupied or sold, Harris said: “We have no more inventory. That’s a tell-tale sign that we have a blossoming affordable housing crisis in our community.”

BHC is redeveloping the Citadel of Hope property in Union Hill into 52 apartments. Other initiatives have included the nearby Church Hill Model Block project.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam

ULI predicted a housing shortage in the region nearly 8 years ago and its placing enormous pressure on affordability. Henrico and Chesterfield have awakened and are increasing allowable densities near major arteries and retail and office nodes. The city is promoting height along the Pulse line. Will the outlying jurisdictions participate?

Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson

The City also needs to up the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust funding. The first homes tied ProjectHomes and Habitat in Randolph are a big start after some small projects but more density and height mean little when we are talking all 1 and 2 two bedroom rentals and a family of 4-7 people.

Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam

Yes, point well taken. Large working class families feel the squeeze the worst even in a healthy economy. There’s a move afoot in the new administration to create more affordable housing for families, and that will not be solved with tall apartment buildings of micro units. Somehow new communities of townhouses must be built without creating another round of Section 8 ghettos.

Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith

Fascinating how this scum developer is allowed to continue tainting our City even after being found guilty of bribery and serving in federal prison. Slum lords gonna slum lord. And we, apparently, won’t bat an eye.

John Lindner
John Lindner

It’s a shame for the community that these affordable units won’t be developed by BHC. There will never be enough tax money for the city to buy its way out of this situation. Richmond needs to change it’s regulations to include affordable housing as a mandatory part of large developments. Even a modest requirement, like one of every 20 units be affordable would make a dent in the problem and would still allow developers to make a healthy profit.

Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson

Welcome VA John! Dillon Rule state and we have no authority to make it mandatory. General Assembly would have to allow it by charter change for us or state law authorization to us and other localities. That is not happening anytime soon.