Two months after entering the market with a seven-figure deal for property in the suburbs, an Alabama-based apartment developer is zeroing in on Manchester for what’s shaping up to be one of the largest multifamily developments proposed in the neighborhood in recent years.
LIV Development has purchased 15 contiguous parcels totaling 7.3 acres near the Lee Bridge for about $8.2 million, said Bruce Milam, a broker with Harrison & Bates who represented LIV in the purchase.
The transaction, which comes out to about $1.2 million an acre, closed May 17, Milam said. The 15 parcels most recently were assessed by the city at a combined $8.1 million, according to property records.
Located at 1401 Railroad Ave., the site was primarily owned by prolific Manchester developers Robin Miller and Dan Gecker through their firm, Urban Development Associates. The remaining 1.2 acres was owned by a trust belonging to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.
Urban Development Associates acquired the parcels in 2006 as part of a large land deal with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The groups listed the properties for sale about four years ago for about $8 million.
LIV is working with city planners on a development coined Riverview Apartments. Plans call for about 270 apartments across seven buildings, including a five-story building constructed over a podium to allow for parking below. Two four-story buildings would front mostly West 14th Street, and four rows of three-story townhome buildings totaling 15 units would border the development with frontage and access along Railroad Avenue and West 13th Street.
The project also would extend 13th and 14th streets to Railroad Avenue and would include off-street parking and sidewalks, including access to nearby Buttermilk Trail.
The project would be the firm’s first development in Richmond. It paid about $6 million in March for its Cosby Village Apartments project, a 305-unit development in Chesterfield County on 9.3 acres at 15500 Cosby Village Ave., near the Village Square Parkway and Otterdale Road intersection in the Woodlake area.
LIV’s other holdings consist of apartment communities in several metro areas in the Carolinas, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Texas.
One site leads to another
Milam said LIV was in the area last year to scope out property in Chesterfield for Cosby Village when, after putting that site under contract, the firm asked about other locations in the region.
“They fell in love with it,” Milam said of the Manchester tracts, which LIV placed under contract last spring.
Richmond-based KBS has been secured as the project’s general contractor, while local land-use consultant Lory Markham is working with LIV on its development application.
A construction timeline and initial investment amount for Riverview Apartments was not released. Michael Ramsey, LIV’s director of development, did not immediately return a call for comment Monday afternoon.
The proposed development adds more heat to the busy Cowardin and Semmes avenues intersection in an area of South Richmond with mounting multifamily unit counts.
Across from LIV’s site, work is underway on the former Muse Buick property at 1414 Semmes Ave. The Monument Cos.’ Chris Johnson and Tom Dickey, along with Howard Kellman of The Edison Co., paid $3.1 million in February for the property that ultimately will house 180 apartments and commercial space.
Richmond-based Harper & Associates has cleared out several metal warehouses at 1802 Semmes Ave. to make way for its mix of 106 townhomes and commercial space. Also, Ohio-based Brickhaus Partners remains under contract to purchase a 2.2-acre tract on the west side of Cowardin Avenue at the southern end of the bridge for a multifamily development.
Meanwhile, the former Citgo gas station at 418 Cowardin Ave. that had captured the attention of a potential Wawa development remains on the market.