90-unit condo development planned off Lombardy St. in Carver

The warehouse building along Lombardy Street, built in 1900 as a lumber mill, would be demolished to make way for the project. (Photos by Jonathan Spiers)

A homebuilder that’s been more active in Richmond’s suburbs is turning its eye squarely on the city’s Carver neighborhood, where it is planning an infill project with dozens of condos along a stretch of Lombardy Street that’s getting popular with developers.

Reston-based Stanley Martin Homes is looking to build 90 of its “two-over-two”-style condos on three parcels totaling about as many acres at North Lombardy and West Moore streets.

The properties – on both sides of Moore Street along the east side of Lombardy – are just north of the nearby Sugar Shack donut shop and on the south side of the interstate, across from Virginia Union University.

Stanley Martin, whose local output often has included the two-over-two-style condos – two-level units stacked on top of each other within four-story buildings – has applied for a special-use permit to develop the properties. Tentatively named “Carver Square,” the project would fill the partly improved parcels at 1480 and 1500 W. Moore St., and at 1027 N. Lombardy St.

The property at 1027 N. Lombardy St., viewed from Moore Street.

The company closed on the 1027 site on Monday, paying $3.9 million, according to an announcement from Divaris Real Estate, which brokered the deal. One South Commercial’s Lory Markham and Ann Schweitzer represented the seller.

Stanley Martin is under contract to purchase the Moore Street properties pending permit approval, said Jeremy Swink, the company’s vice president of land for the region.

Swink said an existing SUP for the 1027 site would be replaced with the new permit to ensure a cohesive development. The existing permit – for a project called Sylvia Place – called for 46 townhomes, four of which have been built at the corner of Lombardy and Moore.

Those buildings would be demolished to make way for Carver Square, as would a century-old industrial building and other structures on the Moore Street properties. The industrial building, which abuts Lombardy and totals 37,000 square feet, was built in 1900 as a lumber mill and most recently housed Argus Steel Products, now in Ashland.

The company has been holding community meetings on the project, and Swink said it has received productive feedback from the Carver Civic Association. It’s working with Roth Jackson attorneys Andrew Condlin and Mark Kronenthal on the public outreach and its permit application to the city.

Local firm Koontz Bryant Johnson Williams drew up the plans and is handling engineering work.

The application is in the queue to be reviewed by the Planning Commission, though Swink said he doesn’t know when the project would go before the board. He said a time frame for the project would depend on that process playing out.

Land under contract

Swink said a lack of inventory of new for-sale homes in the area drew the company there, where it initially planned to pick up and complete the Sylvia Place SUP. He said that approach changed when the company put a contract on the Moore Street site, which had been listed for sale by Commonwealth Commercial.

The Moore Street property abuts Interstate 64-95, visible in the background.

Commonwealth’s Ben Bruni and Ryan Fanelli have the Moore Street listing, representing property owner John Bottger, who previously owned Argus Steel. Bottger, who was at the property Wednesday, said he sold the business to its employees two years ago and leased the property to them until they moved to sell it off.

Bottger said other property owners through the years have included furniture company Heilig-Meyers and chemicals company Albemarle Corp.

Property records show 1480 Moore St. was last purchased in 2009 for $40,000, while 1500 last changed hands in 1998 with no amount listed. The 2.2 acres that make up 1480 and 1500 most recently were assessed by the city at $815,000 collectively.

Divaris agents Read Goode and Cheryle Toy are representing Stanley Martin in its offer on those properties and also handled the transaction for 1027 N. Lombardy, which was owned by Sylvia Place Properties LLC. The 1.1-acre parcel was last purchased in 2015 for $2.36 million and most recently was assessed at $1.11 million.

Carver Square would be Stanley Martin’s second project in the city. It also is building three-story townhomes at Stony Point Landing, a 59-unit development filling about 5 acres behind Stony Point Shopping Center.

Stanley Martin’s other projects in the area have largely been in neighboring Henrico County, where it is developing hundreds of condos between West Broad Landing, on the site of the former Lawrence Dodge dealership, and the nearby Wistar Glen on Wistar Road.

Other projects include its two-over-two condos at Saunders Station at Broad Hill Centre, near Short Pump; Lakeside Landing, a 126-home development beside the Brook Run shopping center; and the recently approved “ReTreat at One” development, planned for 500 homes off Brook Road.

Different look

Renderings of the Carver Square condos. (Submitted rendering)

While Carver Square would include a similar condo product in some of those projects, Swink said the development would feature a slightly different look with facades tailored to the more-urban setting.

“The idea is the same, but it’s elevated differently,” Swink said. “Each project we do is a little bit unique in terms of our townhouse-style condominium units, and Carver Square is no exception.”

Swink said the designs have been adjusted and modified based on feedback from the community and the Carver Civic Association, whose president, Jerome Legions, said it welcomes Carver Square in concept.

A site map of Carver Square. (Submitted)

“The addition of Carver Square … will solidify Carver as the community with the most diverse housing stock,” Legions said in an email Wednesday.

“As a community, we are excited to have more homeowners in Carver. Carver Civic Association appreciates the Stanley Martin team for listening to the community’s concerns and addressing them, as well as incorporating our suggestions into the design of the complex,” he said.

Carver Square comes as the city just approved another project set to increase density along the Lombardy corridor. Last week, City Council approved plans for a 12-story residential tower at the corner of Lombardy and Broad Street.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
8 months ago

It would be very interesting to see who Stanley Martin projects as the buyer demographically as this may be the largest for-sale community to be built in the urban core in many years. Its exciting because it’s just what the city needs.

Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson
8 months ago

They are demolishing like 5 years town homes to make way for a projects that I assure you they are going to get some serious push back from Carver residents and specifically Hartshorn community. I think infill is good but this might be a litle too dense for this area.

Charles Frankenhoff
Charles Frankenhoff
8 months ago
Reply to  Michael Dodson

I think it’s a fine location for that. But more importantly, see above, Jerome Legions things it’s fine, and the Carver Civic Association is supporting it.

I commend the company for taking Jerome’s input

Bruce Anderson
Bruce Anderson
8 months ago

This is a very noisy site, up against the highway like that. They’ll need to design a special wall to mitigate it. There’s a Polycrete house up in Ashland right along the RR tracks that’s utterly silent even when trains pass. We were in there the other day (owner’s designing an addition) and it even surprised us when the noiseless train rolled by.

Paul Hammond
Paul Hammond
8 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Anderson

Ashland Coffee and Tea is right next to the tracks and you barely notice a train passing by during a show.

Matt Faris
Matt Faris
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul Hammond

@Paul: But that doesn’t promote the Polycrete product!