A year ago, Yogi Singh called his shot.
He went out on a limb last June, declaring that the Richmond apartment market may have been approaching a peak. He decided to test that theory by listing his firm’s newly built development at 3900 Monument Ave. for sale just as construction was completed.
It turns out he may not have been too far off the mark.
Singh and his investor group last week sold their 15-unit apartment building for $4.85 million. That’s $323,000 per unit. The deal was recorded May 23.
The buyer was B.R.J. Virginia LLC, a group run by Charlottesville-area resident Susan Ould and her husband. It adds to their existing Richmond holdings.
Singh’s group bought the half-acre property for $640,000 in June 2017, when it housed an aging medical office building. He said they then pumped under $3 million into building the modern-design apartments.
They enlisted broker Charles Wentworth of Colliers International to field prospective buyers.
“We had strong interest and also had really competitive refinance options in front of us,” Singh said. “Frankly, before Susan stepped up to the plate, we were thinking of refinancing. It wasn’t an asset we were afraid to hold on to.”
He said offers came in from all over the East Coast and that even they were surprised at the price tag in the end. At $323,000 per door, while on a smaller scale, the deal eclipsed that of the 339-unit Flats at West Broad Village that sold in March for $224,000 per door and the $221,000 unit price fetched by James River at Stony Point last fall.
“It’s a strong reflection on the Richmond market,” Singh said of the price tag, adding that attorney Elizabeth Carr of Williams Mullen worked the deal on their behalf.
Factoring into the sales price, he said, was the fact that all the units are two-bedroom with balconies and offer an optional parking space. And the location was a factor, with walkability to Scott’s Addition and the Museum District.
Susan Ould said the deal is a 1031 exchange, prompted by the sale of another of her firm’s properties in Charlottesville.
It adds to Ould’s Richmond holdings, which also include the 50-unit Lava Lofts in Church Hill and the 30-unit Railroad Y Lofts in Shockoe Bottom. Her company paid $8.27 million and $4.57 million, respectively, for those properties in 2014.
“We wanted to have all our properties in Richmond,” Ould said. “It’s better for our business and our staff to have everything in one place.”
Ould said they don’t have any plans for the Monument property for now, other than to manage it as is. She said the building’s 15 units are fully leased and rent for an average of around $2,000 per month.
“We’re just trying to get to know the building better and get to know the residents,” she said.
With the sale behind them, Singh’s group now looks ahead to its next project in Scott’s Addition. They’re planning to redevelop an old office building at 3117 W. Clay St. into modern office space. They paid $1.26 million in January for the two-story, 11,200-square-foot building and one-third acre.
Singh said they are still in the design phase and are contemplating adding more square footage to the building.
As for whether he was right about the Monument deal and whether he’s getting out as the market is peaking, Singh said only time will tell.
“I don’t have a crystal ball,” he said.