An unbuilt infill apartment project that’s been years in the making near Virginia Union University is being shopped around to firms that could take the development vertical.
The site of the planned Brook Road Apartments, a 224-unit complex that received city approval last year, has been put up for sale with an undisclosed asking price.
JLL broker Danny Holly is marketing the listing, which he said he’s had for about six months. Holly said the property owner, a Varina-based entity called W Brook Road LLC, has been fielding interest from potential developers off and on since it secured permit approval with assistance from local contracting firm Loughridge & Co.
Holly said the project, estimated at nearly $32 million, has received considerable interest and that a deal could get done in the next couple months.
“We’ve had a fair amount of activity and been very pleased,” he said. “The process has been slowed down due to the current COVID effect, but we still have some activity and hopefully we’ll have something to report in the next 60 days.”
Loughridge represented the property owner in obtaining a special-use permit and had been lined up to serve as general contractor for the project, which also involved Virginia Beach-based architect Cox, Kliewer & Co.; civil engineer Kimley Horn; and Newport News-based property manager Drucker & Falk.
It’s unclear whether any or all of those firms would remain involved if the property is sold. John Waechter, Loughridge’s business development director, said that team could very well remain in play, but he said those decisions have yet to be made as the property owner is exploring all of its options.
Those options include selling the property outright or building the project themselves. Holly said the owner is not a developer and is looking for a firm to take on the project.
Plans call for two four-story garden-style apartment buildings along Brook Road and Roberts Street. Totaling 185,000 square feet, those buildings would replace a U.S. Postal Service warehouse on the 4.5-acre site, which consists of two parcels at 2009 Brook Road and 2011 Northumberland Ave.
The site lines the north side of the neighboring post office and wraps around the adjacent Spectrum apartments, a 103-unit complex at 2017 Brook Road. The site also is near the former Budget Inn of Richmond motel at Brook and Lombardy streets, where VUU is planning an expansion of its campus.
The JLL listing states the project would be built in 2021, and Holly said that timeframe remains a goal, despite slowdowns that have been seen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The listing does not specify an asking price, which is available by request.
“If everything goes well, hopefully we’ll be back to normal by the time a building like this would be delivered. Once they finish with permitting and construction, we’re still down the road a while before residents would start moving in,” he said.
Holly said challenges presented by social distancing guidelines and working remotely have factored into the process, with previously simple tasks such as document signing sometimes taking longer than expected.
“Little issues like that even have an effect on timing,” he said. “It’s really just how it’s affecting lending and development, and how financial institutions are looking at projects like this. It’s just a new way of doing business.”