Shamin sells Mutual Building for $13M to local buyers for apartment conversion

This 13-story Mutual Building downtown fetched nearly as many millions of dollars as its height in stories. The buyers plan to covert the office tower into apartments. (Mike Platania photos)

When Shamin Hotels bought the Mutual Building at 909 E. Main St. in 2014, CEO Neil Amin said he envisioned eventually converting the historic office tower into a hotel.

But changes brought on by 2020 have led to a change of plans — and a hefty return on Shamin’s initial investment.

Last month, Shamin sold the 13-story building for $12.8 million to a joint partnership of local real estate firms Landmark Property Services and The Wilton Cos. The new owners are planning to convert the 152,000-square-foot office building into 170 apartments with ground-floor retail space.

The building is named for the Mutual Assurance Society of Virginia, which built it in 1905. Shamin Hotels had purchased it at auction in 2014 for $3.27 million, and it was most recently assessed by the city at $3.72 million.

Amin said the company put it on the market shortly after law firm Christian & Barton, the building’s last large tenant, announced this fall that it’ll be leaving in favor of the James Center.

“We were approached by a few (prospective buyers) as soon as people found out Christian & Barton was leaving,” Amin said. “I think the highest and best use is apartments. We’re confident they’re going to make it a tremendous place to live.”

Wilton and Landmark each have a 50 percent stake in the LLC that purchased the building. Pinson Neal, who co-founded Landmark with Judy Olive and Brian Chase, said the two firms have been working together for years but this marks the first time they are developing something together.

The building is named for the Mutual Assurance Society of Virginia, which built it in 1905.

“I think the building itself is a Richmond landmark, and I think it’ll be a great asset to downtown as apartments,” Neal said.

The 170 apartments will be a mix of studio and one- and two-bedroom market-rate units, and the ground floor’s commercial space will total about 4,000 square feet.

“(The building) comes with 160 parking spaces right next door in a parking deck. That made a big difference in the overall viability of the property,” Neal said.

Neal said they’re planning to use historic tax credits to help fund the conversion, which is scheduled to begin in spring 2021.

JLL’s Jimmy Appich and Gareth Jones represented Shamin in the deal, and One South Commercial’s Tom Rosman and Justin Sledd represented Wilton and Landmark.

The change of plans from hotel to apartments is similar to another downtown office building just a few blocks west on East Main.

Douglas Development had been planning to convert the former Virginia Department of Environmental Quality building at 629 E. Main St. into a dual-branded Hyatt hotel, however over the summer the D.C.-based developer changed course and decided instead to turn the building into 189 apartments.

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rob hargett
rob hargett
5 months ago

nice work Neil! and good luck Pinson-we always liked this building and you are doing RVA a service by bringing it back

Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
5 months ago

This a beautiful building and will make a great new addition to the City as residential living. They don’t make them like this anymore. Congrats to OneSouth and JLL for bringing this deal together.

Justin Sledd
Justin Sledd
5 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

Thanks Bruce!

Chris Terrell
Chris Terrell
5 months ago

I worked in this building for ten years starting in 2005. It’s a beautiful old building that will benefit from a complete redo, especially the antiquated heating and air systems. Lots of great memories there.

Nancy H. Overstreet
Nancy H. Overstreet
4 months ago
Reply to  Chris Terrell

I started to work for Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen in this building in 1954. Worked there until they moved to West End. Traveler’s Insurance had the entire floor above us. It was a beautiful old building.