A group of seasoned developers is stepping on the accelerator in a reinvention of a former Southside car dealership property.
The Monument Cos.’ Chris Johnson and Tom Dickey, along with Howard Kellman of The Edison Co., have switched gears from their original plan to redevelop the former Muse Buick site property at 1414 Semmes Ave. in phases and is instead looking to complete the entire project in one fell swoop.
Dubbed the Riviera at Semmes – named for Buick’s luxury vehicle once sold at the Muse dealership – the $25 million project will bring 190 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments to the 2.7-acre city block bounded by Semmes Avenue, West 13th, West 15th and McDonough streets. It’s expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
Johnson and Dickey said the group had plans to phase in the project, starting with the redevelopment of several historic structures on the site. But a hot streak in regional apartment leasing, and the promise of a new restaurant debuting on the site, prompted the group to move expeditiously on the entire project.
“It’s been a really strong leasing season in Richmond,” Johnson said.
Kellman said the group is finalizing a lease with an undisclosed restaurant tenant to take over the one-story, 1,325-square-foot building at the corner of Semmes Avenue and West 14th Street.
“We do have an interested, experienced tenant who has shown great interest … in adding another restaurant,” Kellman said. “They own multiple, multiple restaurants.”
Johnson said the group has filed an amendment to its original application with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to take the corner building from residential to commercial.
Remaining plans call for two new apartment buildings to rise on the site: A five-story, 66-unit, L-shaped structure near the corner of McDonough and West 15th streets at 1429 McDonough St., and a five-story, 83-unit building set to front West 14th Street at 400 W. 14th St. on the property.
Dickey said the Riviera at Semmes’ amenity package, which includes a pool, fitness center and leasing office, will be constructed into its future apartment building at 1429 McDonough St.
Rents for its 152 one-bedroom units will range from $999 to $1,409 a month, Johnson said, adding its 32 two-bedroom apartments will rent for between $1,309 and $1,700 a month. Its five three-bedroom apartments will rent from $1,740 to about $2,100 a month.
The group bought the Muse site last winter for $3.1 million. It sits at the Semmes and Cowardin Avenue intersection, which is having some of the most intense multifamily development in metro Richmond.
Across Semmes Avenue from the Riviera at Semmes redevelopment, Alabama-based LIV Development is building a seven-building, 289-unit community on 15 contiguous parcels totaling about 7.3 acres near the Lee Bridge at 1400 Railroad Ave.
Richmond-based Harper & Associates has cleared out several old warehouses at 1802 Semmes Ave. to ready the site for a mix of 106 townhomes and about 4 acres of commercial space.
Meanwhile, Ohio-based Brickhaus Partners is planning to construct its $40 million RiverHaus development that will bring 21 for-sale townhomes and up to 140 apartments to a 2.2-acre tract on the west side of Cowardin Avenue at the southern end of the Robert E. Lee Bridge.