VCU’s first physical stake in the city’s East End is taking shape.
The university’s new Health Hub at 25th is under construction at 1330 N. 25th St. and the intersection with Nine Mile Road. PF&A is the architect.
The 5,600-square-foot facility will offer health screenings, nutrition counseling, behavioral health support, chronic disease management and health education, as well as community gathering spaces. Teams of VCU faculty and students will participate in programming and outreach to neighborhood residents.
“We are a listening ear about what is happening in that community and how we can support some of those needs,” said Natalie Pennywell, recently hired as the hub’s director.
The new center is expected to open in March 2019 and will be housed in a larger mixed-use development that includes commercial space and apartments. That larger project is backed by Steven Markel, local businessman and vice chairman of Henrico-based Markel Corp.
The new VCU facility is being constructed on a nearly 2-acre parcel owned by Church Hill North Holdings LLC, which is tied to Markel.
The VCU development joins other recent ventures brought to the surrounding acreage by Markel. He is funding a culinary institute to be operated by Reynolds Community and the Market @ 25th grocery store, both of which are under construction. The Market @ 25th, is set to open in winter 2019.
“It’s more of a philanthropic thing. I don’t expect to really make money from this,” Markel said. “I wanted to give revitalization to an area that has received no real investment or development in a long time.”
Markel said Hourigan Construction and Capstone Construction are the contractors on the larger mixed-use building, while architecture has been handled by Freeman Morgan, New York-based O’Neill McVoy Architecture and Richmond-based BCWH.
Sheryl Garland, chief of health impact at VCU, said the hub is a new type of facility for VCU.
“It’s a little different from the way we functioned in the past. A lot of our activities emanated from our core campuses,” she said. “Now we are taking a step that says, ‘We really want to be not in, but a part of the community.’ It’s a new model.”
A few blocks east is Bon Secours’ Center for Healthy Living Sarah Garland Jones Center at 2600 Nine Mile Road, which opened in summer 2017.