A local real estate firm has grabbed more property around The Diamond as it continues to place a bet on the future of the surrounding neighborhood.
Thalhimer Realty Partners, the investment and development arm of Thalhimer, last month purchased the Wesco Distribution site at 2902 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. for $3.75 million, city property records show.
The 3.2-acre property sits across Boulevard West from the Greyhound bus station and is within view of the baseball stadium across North Arthur Ashe Boulevard.
The property, which includes a 36,000-square-foot warehouse, most recently was assessed by the city for $2.6 million, according to city real estate records.
Matt Raggi, a principal with TRP, said in an email Thursday that the firm purchased the property from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Wesco International, an electrical supply distribution company. Wesco has owned the building since it was constructed in 1973 as part of the firm’s Mid-Atlantic distribution operation.
Raggi said Wesco has signed a lease and will remain in the building for the “next few years, maybe longer,” as TRP monitors development activity in the vicinity.
In the meantime, the property will remain a warehouse.
“We view the building itself as a very efficient warehouse building with good interstate access in an area of town that has seen many of the traditional warehouses get redeveloped for other uses or knocked down,” Raggi stated. “Inventory is limited and demand continues to be pretty strong, so we’re content to keep the warehouse for the foreseeable future even beyond Wesco’s tenancy.”
But the firm is not ruling out redeveloping the site, particularly if the neighborhood’s long-discussed development potential comes to fruition.
“If The Diamond and surrounding land gets redeveloped in the future, of course that will impact the longer-term development of the site and the larger size of the property will give us some flexibility on those development options if the time comes,” Raggi said.
Discussions of a baseball stadium-anchored transformation of the neighborhood, including the city-owned 60 acres around The Diamond, have been going on for years. They got more serious beginning about two years ago.
The Virginia General Assembly in 2018 gave the departments of Alcoholic Beverage Control and General Services the green light to construct a new ABC headquarters in Hanover County on property owned by Bill Goodwin’s Riverstone Properties near the intersection of Pole Green Road and Interstate 295.
The move, which is anticipated to begin next year, would free up ABC’s current 20 acres of property near The Diamond at 2901 Hermitage Road as a potential site for a new stadium to replace The Diamond.
Gov. Ralph Northam also has given VCU the right of first refusal to purchase the ABC site in his proposed budget to be considered in the upcoming session.
Last spring, VCU President Michael Rao discussed a potential location for a new baseball stadium to replace The Diamond with the school’s Board of Visitors — although Rao’s presentation at the time did not offer any specifics about the university’s timeline or plans for the site.
In the meantime, the Wesco deal is Thalhimer’s second such bet on the neighborhood in 18 months. In June 2018, the firm purchased the nearly 6-acre Pet Dairy property at 1501-1507 Robin Hood Road for $5.5 million.
It’s also been making other nearby investments in and around Scott’s Addition. It is currently preparing to construct a two-story, 8,500-square-foot Fresenius Kidney Care Center at 3407 W. Broad St., which it purchased in July 2018 for $831,000.