Manchester beckons: Neighborhood’s development stock rose in 2020

A rendering of the proposed $350 million Southside casino complex. (Courtesy of Pamunkey Indian Tribe)

Scott’s Addition may have grabbed more attention in recent years when it came to real estate development, but Manchester stole the show in 2020.

The Southside neighborhood saw more development action and investment this year than just about any other area of the region.

Here’s a run-down of what you missed and what’s to come:

Thousands of new apartments in the works

The year opened with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe announcing that it’s considering a $350 million casino and resort on the outskirts of Manchester. There’s still a lot of municipal red tape to get through before such a vision could come to life, but that hasn’t stopped the tribe from assembling land in the area, including a $4 million deal for 12 acres on Gordon Avenue.

The old Southern States silos would be razed to make way for a new building. (BizSense file)

Another major project that came to light in 2020 was the planned redevelopment of the Southern States silos site. Hourigan Development is looking to raze the vacant, riverfront silos to make way for a new building that could reach 16 stories and total nearly 600,000 square feet.

Right near the Manchester Bridge, Brent Graves is working on a mixed-use project at 201 W. Commerce Road that’s likely to reach over a dozen stories high and would add 250 apartments. Below all those apartments would be a 25,000-square-foot commercial space that’s already caught the eye of a grocery tenant.

A rendering of The Box, an apartment building planned for Decatur Street. (City documents)

Veteran Manchester developers stayed busy as well. Tom Papa filed plans for The Box, a 118-apartment mixed-use building on Decatur Street, while Robin Miller and Dan Gecker got to work on a 75-unit project near the intersection of Porter Street and Commerce Road.

The neighborhood also caught the eye of some new-to-market developers. South Carolina-based The Beach Co. filed plans for a 6-story mixed-use building that would add 230 apartments on a piece of Semmes Avenue near Legend Brewing.

Maryland-based Haris Design & Construction Co. has two projects in the works for Hull Street. Haris bought the former Lighthouse Diner at auction from embattled businessman Michael Hild and is working on building 24 apartments above ground-floor retail space on the site. A block away, Haris is planning to replace a garage and vacant site at 1114 Hull St. with 85 apartments.

Work also kicked into high gear on The Current, a project from Lynx Ventures that’s adding hundreds of apartments along with office and retail space across two buildings on Hull Street. This fall, the development inked a big restaurant tenant in Hatch Local, a planned food hall.

Deals closed

Real estate in Manchester continued to fetch a premium in 2020, with multiple deals eclipsing eight figures.

The 2.2-acre site at 700 Cowardin Ave. sold for $4.15 million. (BizSense file)

One of the bigger deals came at the start of the year when Green Leaf Medical of Virginia’s new cannabis processing facility sold to a West Coast REIT for nearly $12 million. The facility opened just weeks ago.

The Perry Place apartments were one of Manchester’s earlier apartment rehab projects in 2009, and in November they sold to a D.C.-buyer for $11.4 million.

A new high price was set for Manchester on a per-acre basis when two acres at 301 W. Sixth St. sold for nearly $9 million. The site will eventually house River’s Edge II, a twin 11-story tower, 344-unit project from local developers Mark Purcell, Guy Blundon, Keith Woodard and Ludwig Kuttner.

Blundon, Purcell and Woodard also spent $4.1 million for a similarly-sized parcel on Cowardin Avenue near the Lee Bridge. Plans for that site have not been filed.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
9 months ago

Manchester is popping. Take either the Lee, Manchester or Mayo Bridges across the James and you’ll see the explosive growth. The 270 unit Jamestown Apartments of LIV Dev are finalizing work on Semmes Avenue and right behind it Monument Construction has topped out another 200 units as The Renaissance”. MGT has created a 5 story canyon down the length of Hull Street with the Overlook Apartments and Port RVA is readying its second phase of “micros” across the street. And Papa is planning another Tower at the Mayo Bridge. Those are just ones you didnt mention in the article! About… Read more »

Hoss McCoy
Hoss McCoy
9 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

More ugly cookie cutter apartments that will be overpriced 700 sqft boxes, joy

charles Frankenhoff
charles Frankenhoff
9 months ago
Reply to  Hoss McCoy

It’s housing. And they aren’t overpriced if people rent them, by definition. Something people often seem to lose track of .

I do wish people would spend some effort on making these building less ugly, though.

Last edited 9 months ago by charles Frankenhoff
Kay Christensen
Kay Christensen
9 months ago

Such an ugly area…

Peter James
Peter James
9 months ago

No – 10 years ago it was an ugly area. Now? It’s becoming Richmond’s version of Brooklyn. I’m loving everything happening in old Dog Town.

Kay Christensen
Kay Christensen
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter James

Good luck with that…are you blind? There are many pretty neighborhoods in RVA- this one ain’t on the list.

Ken Miller
Ken Miller
8 months ago

^^^someone sounds a little salty….^^^ It’s always good to turn those “ugly” neighborhoods to more thriving communities. On the other hand the price of living will skyrocket unfortunately

Last edited 8 months ago by Ken Miller