An old Northside postal warehouse soon could make way for more than 200 apartments on Brook Road.
A development team led by Richmond-based general contractor Loughridge & Company Construction Services is slated to construct a nearly $32 million, 224-unit apartment complex at 2009 Brook Road near Virginia Union University’s campus.
The group is seeking a special use permit to rezone the 4.5-acre site from industrial to multifamily residential in order to capitalize on the city’s VUU/Chamberlayne Neighborhood Plan specifying more dense residential uses near the university and the surrounding neighborhood.
Plans call for the existing warehousing facility on a 3.3-acre site at 2009 Brook Road and an adjoining 0.73-acre wooded lot at 2011 Northumberland Ave. to be scrapped.
Rising in its place would be two four-story buildings, according to a site plan filed with the city’s planning and development division. A building along Brook Road would house 118 apartments, while the other building along Roberts Street would include 106.
The properties are owned by W Brook Road LLC, an entity tied to Kimberly Kidd and Dennis Alan Williford Jr. of Charles City. They paid $635,000 to purchase the properties from the U.S. Postal Service in August 2011.
John Waechter, Loughridge’s director of business development, said the property would have one main entryway via Brook Road. He added the building via Roberts Street would be a height-restricted, covered parking entrance for residents.
The project would wrap around the 103-unit Spectrum apartment building at 2017 Brook Road, which was acquired in February 2017 by Mercer Street Partners, a New York-based real estate investment firm, for $11.4 million.
Mercer Street Partners is not affiliated with the Brook Road apartment project.
Construction is slated to begin during summer 2019 and take about 14 months to complete, Waechter said, pending city approval.
The city’s planning commission is slated to take up the request at its Oct. 1 meeting. City Council is set to vote on the matter during its Oct. 8 meeting.
Units at the apartments will be market-rate, Waechter said, with starting rent for a one-bedroom going for about $1,000 a month. The unit mix would consist of 61 studio units, 90 one-bedroom units and 73 two-bedroom apartments.
“We certainly will not discourage students from leasing these units,” Waechter said. “But it’s certainly not a project designed with students in mind. We see this as a place for young professionals, as well as teachers, fire and police responders.”
Aside from staple high-end interior finishes for each unit, other complex amenities include a pocket park at the rear of the property, a two-story clubhouse, pool, fitness center, dog park, onsite residential storage units, a bike maintenance and storage facility, and 268 parking spaces, of which 21 will be covered.
“In designing this project, we and the city thought that it would be important to encourage residents to be outside,” Waechter said. “Adding the pocket park was an important amenity for us to include in this development.”
The apartment project also includes several sidewalk connections, along with bike rack stations throughout the property.
Eventually, if the city decides to adopt a plan to add bike lanes along Brook Road, Waechter said their development will be ready for residents willing to use the pathway to commute downtown.
“We see it as an added amenity, and in designing this project, kept the possibility of such a project in mind,” Waechter said. “From this location, it’s a 10- to 15-minute mountain bike ride into the Central Business District.”
Loughridge & Company will serve as the general contractor of the project, while Virginia Beach-based Cox, Kliewer & Co. is the architect. Kimley Horn is the civil engineer on the project.
Once completed, Newport News-based Drucker & Falk has been secured as the apartments’ primary leasing and management authority.
Developers and investors are finding their way to Northside, with several taking aim along Brook Road and the Chamberlayne Avenue. The 301-unit Canopy at Ginter Park is under construction at 3401 Brook Road.
Waechter said as VCU gobbles up more territory in the Carter and Monroe Ward neighborhoods, investors are looking to Northside – making the area around VUU a more viable option for increased redevelopment, infill and new construction activity.
“We see this as a very ripe opportunity,” Waechter said. “There is a lot of activity happening in this area, and we’re excited about this project.”