A local development team with a knack for density and height are at it again with their biggest project yet in Manchester.
CMB Development’s Guy Blundon and Purcell Construction CEO Mark Purcell are moving forward with plans to construct a $75 million, two-tower project at 310 W. Sixth St.
The development’s 344 units would be spread between twin 11-story buildings that will rise next door to the group’s previous project: the 10-story, $40 million River’s Edge at Manchester.
Since it opened in spring 2018, Blundon said River’s Edge has enjoyed a swift lease-up with an occupancy rate now hovering around 96 percent.
“What is happening, as far as rents and leasing is concerned, is absolutely astounding,” Blundon said of River’s Edge. “We’re getting over $2 a square foot on average. If you told me 10 years ago that we’d be getting that much over per square foot in Manchester, I would have called you crazy … but here we are.”
That success is in part what’s driving this newest project, dubbed River’s Edge II.
The group, which also includes Charlottesville developers and investors Keith Woodard and Ludwig Kuttner, is set to purchase the 2.2-acre West Sixth Street site during the first quarter of 2020 for an undisclosed amount, Blundon said.
It most recently was assessed by the city for about $3.5 million, according to city real estate records.
The property is currently owned by City View Tower LLC, an entity tied to Thalhimer Realty Partners and Purcell.
The two towers at River’s Edge II would be connected at the base by a large covered parking garage with two levels of parking for 372 vehicles, Blundon said.
Connected to the buildings’ top levels will be a 2,500-square-foot sky bridge that will double as a party and gathering space, and can be rented out to residents for events. It also will include an outdoor patio area facing the James River and downtown.
“It will have super ceiling heights and fantastic views of the river and the city,” Blundon said. “It will be super splendid.”
Of the 344 apartments, Blundon said about 75 to 80 percent are projected to be one-bedroom units going for market rates. The remaining balance would be two-bedroom units.
Market rents in Manchester are pushing $980 to $1,175 a month for one-bedroom units, while two-bedroom units are fetching upwards of $1,500 a month.
Blundon said the group also is exploring the possibility of merging a few of the units into large penthouses, given the views of the river and downtown skyline.
The main street-level entry to the buildings will include house amenities such as a pool, a leasing center, a fitness and business center, interior and exterior dog walks, and bicycle parking.
Blundon said the group is working with Norfolk Southern Railroad to acquire an unnamed roadway south of the property that would connect the project to Perry Street and serve as the main entry to the buildings.
No commercial spaces are planned for the project.
Regarding the views, Blundon said River’s Edge II was carefully designed to not obstruct the patio view at Legend Brewing Co., which sits south of the development.
Blundon said construction would take roughly 18 months to complete, with a target opening date of summer 2021.
While the site will not require any rezoning, a formal plan of development must still be filed.
“We have informally met with planners about our plans for the project,” Blundon said.
Purcell Construction is the general contractor. Richmond-based Ratio PC in association with Cornerstone Architecture and Interior Design are designing the project; while Claire Shirley of Gradient PC is the site engineer.
River’s Edge II adds to CMB’s growing assortment of apartment projects across the region.
The company has started site work on Shiplock Views, a 180-unit project that will rise beside the existing 51-unit Shiplock Watch apartments in the 2800 block of East Main Street, just east of its intersection with Pear Street.
The group is preparing to go vertical on Commonwealth Green, a $30 million, 240-unit apartment community on 11 acres at 5411 Commonwealth Centre Parkway near the Commonwealth Centre Parkway and Route 288 interchange in Chesterfield.
Summerfield Apartments, a new independent senior living apartment community set to rise on the northern edge of Winterfield Crossing in Chesterfield, also is in the pipeline. Plans call for the construction of about 120 apartments to begin sometime during the first quarter of 2020, Blundon said, with another phase of 120 apartments slated to take shape on the site upon demand.
CMB’s Winterfield at Midlothian apartment development is complete on the eastern edge of the development. He said about 60 of the 238 units remain vacant.
Traffic cones, dirt trucks and fenced-off lots are becoming the norm in Manchester, specifically north of Commerce Road in an area developers are coining upper Manchester — mainly due to the number of tower projects going up.
Richmond-based Lynx Ventures launched construction earlier this year on The Current, a $68 million, two-building office, retail and residential project on a 2-acre surface lot at 400 Hull St.
Work is underway at 111 Hull St., where WVS Cos.’ Jason Vickers-Smith and Richard Souter, along with Fountainhead Properties’ Tom Papa, are building the first phase of their South Falls development. Phase one will include a 14-story, 255-unit apartment building, which Vickers-Smith said would be ready for residential occupancy by 2020, as well as a six-story, 135,000-square-foot office building.
The group also is preparing to break ground on South Falls East, a $50 million project at 3 Manchester Road that will include a seven-story building with 233 apartments and commercial space.
Meanwhile, construction crews continue to plug away at the latest phase of City View Landing, a $25 million addition with 161 apartments and 13,300 square feet of ground-level commercial space.
“You have to marvel at Manchester’s growth these past couple of years,” Blundon said. “It has changed so quickly, and at the moment, it doesn’t appear to be slowing anytime soon.”