A $2.9 million deal has a Minneapolis-based developer ready to dig into a sizeable apartment project on West Broad.
The Opus Group last week purchased 1600 W. Broad St., a quarter-acre site on which the company plans to erect a 12-story, 168-unit building with ground-floor retail space.
The seller in the deal was Noephel Inc., an entity registered to Midlothian’s Shakil Rehman. The property was most recently assessed by the city at $598,000.
A recently-closed Sunoco gas station and convenience store currently sit on the site, and will be razed soon, said Ben Angelo, senior director of real estate at Opus.
“You’ll start to see real changes over the next couple of weeks but you probably won’t see vertical improvement for a few months. That’s because we’ve got to dig a big hole for parking,” Angelo said, referencing the project’s underground parking deck totaling 77 spaces.
Opus’ plans for the project were approved about a month before the pandemic hit Richmond.
Alabama-based Rabren General Contractors will handle construction on the project, and Angelo said they’re anticipating hiring around 15 to 20 subcontractors, all of whom will be Richmond-based.
Despite the economic reckoning that has followed, Angelo said Opus always believed in the deal and wanted to keep moving forward on the project, the total cost of which he declined to disclose.
“It was a little uneasy from mid-March through July just: A) trying to keep the deal together, and B) making sure we still had a lot of confidence in the opportunity to develop in Richmond,” he said. “It was probably late July or early August where we felt comfortable enough to move forward.”
Angelo said Opus, with a portfolio of roughly 200 projects completed nationwide, would consider future projects in the Richmond region if the right opportunity arose.
“Given the nature of where we’re at and what the world’s going through, we’re in ‘Take it one step at a time’ mode,” he said.
While Opus is preparing to add retail space to the neighborhood on the tower’s ground floor, another 11,000-square-foot space across North Lombardy recently became available.
The Dollar Tree at 1510 W. Broad St. closed in recent months and is now listed as available for lease, with Thalhimer’s Alex Wotring as the listing agent. Dollar Tree had operated there for over 10 years.