15-story apartment tower planned for Monroe Ward parking lot

A conceptual drawing of the 15-story tower being planned. (Courtesy city documents)

A Thalhimer Realty Partners-owned parking lot downtown could be the site of what would be one of the tallest new construction projects in the city in recent years.

Pinecrest, a Chicago-based developer specializing in student housing, has applied for a special-use permit to construct a 15-story apartment tower at 321 W. Grace St. in the Monroe Ward neighborhood.

The roughly half-acre site is currently a surface parking lot owned by Thalhimer, which bought it in early 2019 as part of a $23.5 million deal that included the nearby Towers on Franklin apartments.

A surface parking lot currently stands on the site. (Mike Platania)

Pinecrest CEO Tyler Perlmutter said the Grace Street site and Richmond in general fit the bill of what they look for in prospective markets.

“We’ve been targeting markets where we see very solid enrollment, and where universities continue to invest in their future whether it’s through housing or other academic expenditures,” Perlmutter said.

He added that Pinecrest also was drawn to Monroe Ward and its abundance of surface lots in particular because of the city’s previously stated desire to develop those lots for added density.

Perlmutter declined to comment on whether the firm has the land under contract, and said the project cost has not yet been determined.

The 253,000-square-foot tower would feature about 171 apartment units, with a mix of four-, three, or two-bedrooms. Perlmutter said the rents would be comparable to other nearby new student housing projects.

The 253,000-square-foot tower would feature about 171 apartment units. (Courtesy city documents)

The project would also include 67 parking spaces across two levels of podium structured parking and a 4,100-square-foot space that could be used for retail or amenities.

Hickok Cole is listed as the project’s architect and Preston Lloyd of Williams Mullen is Pinecrest’s counsel in the SUP process.

The land is zoned B-4 Central Business District, which doesn’t have a maximum height restriction but does restrict whether a part of a building can “penetrate an inclined plane originating at the centerline of each abutting street.” If granted, Pinecrest’s SUP would provide relief from that restriction.

Perlmutter said they hope to get the appropriate city approvals by the end of the year.

Pinecrest has completed five such buildings near the likes of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Boise State University and the University of Pittsburgh. And it has its eye out for other Virginia cities anchored by big colleges.

“We’re interested in other universities throughout Virginia,” Perlmutter said. “If the right opportunity came around in Richmond, we’d certainly be interested in looking at it.”

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
7 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
1 month ago

If this new high rise is valued at several tens of millions of dollars and it pays properity taxes at one to two million a year.

Then technically Richmond could put this towards their free GRTC bus service experiment by plunging some of GRTC’s 26 million dollar hole or they could put a extra million dollars a year towards sidewalk repairs.

If Richmond could get 15 to 25 buildings of this size to show up in downtown on exising land it could be possible to have free bus service.

Roger Turner
Roger Turner
1 month ago

Carl not to be sarcastic but isn’t the Bus service free right now? I believe they have stopped collecting funds due to covid five months ago. Prior to that the Pulse has always be “the honor system” as taking fares takes too long which should shock no one that even though ridership exceeded expectations, fare revenue was substantially below estimates. The reality is that fares only cover 14-15% of total operating expenses so if it’s not free already, it’s almost free. Certainly no other business operates with 85% government funding.

Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
1 month ago

They will need to provide more than 67 parking spaces. We continue to add density, remove current parking availability, and decrease overall parking opportunities. Students and young working professionals bring their cars when they live off campus. There is value in providing adequate parking.

I still find it incredibly shortsighted to have built the Pulse line without providing a single surface level parking lot for users. Ridiculous.

Lee Thomas
Lee Thomas
1 month ago
Reply to  Ashley Smith

Except there are plenty of places along the pulse line where there already are both surface level parking lots and garages…? So…what does it matter? (Perhaps what you mean is FREE parking???)

Doug Johnson
Doug Johnson
1 month ago

Shouldn’t everyone just wait until Richmond becomes a ghost town with all of their liberal policies and there will be plenty of vacancy. No need to build new buildings..

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
1 month ago
Reply to  Doug Johnson

San Fransisco’s over priced housing mess was caused by them locking the city at two to three stories tall. Which in turn allows rents to skyrocket unopposed.
San Fransico is currently one of the hardest cities to add new housing to.

What I like about Richmond is that in the case of this building it is it is turning a empty parking lot into apartments and it’s not cutting down anymore trees and producing more tax funds.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
24 days ago
Reply to  Doug Johnson

Hold your breath.