A recently redeveloped Arts District property has its commercial spaces filled out, and now it’s under new ownership.
Last month James River Housing Partners purchased 20-22 E. Broad St. for $3.15 million. The 17,000-square-foot building features 17 apartments above about 3,000 square feet of commercial space near the intersection of East Broad and North First streets.
The seller was Justin Paley’s Catalyst Development, which kicked off a rehab on the property in 2017. Paley said he felt it was a good deal for both parties.
“We’re happy to see these guys continue to invest in the neighborhood,” Paley said. “We believe in that area and think it’s going to do well long-term.”
James River Housing got busy after its founding in 2017, spending nearly $5 million to get into Shockoe Bottom and the Arts District. Last summer it spent an additional $5 million for a 24-home portfolio mostly in the Fan.
James River Housing co-founder Ali Semir said they were drawn to the 20-22 E. Broad St. building in part because of the success they’ve seen in the neighborhood with the Simon Cycle building they bought in 2018.
“It’s a well-built property and fits into our portfolio nicely,” Semir said. “I think we offered a value proposition of being able to close quickly. We were able to get in under contract pretty quickly and we ran 100 miles per hour in between Thanksgiving and Christmas to close.”
Real Property Management owner Ralph Reahard was also a partner in the most recent deal, which closed Dec. 22. Reahard represented himself and Semir in the deal, while One South Commercial’s Lory Markham, Tom Rosman and Justin Sledd represented the seller. The building was most recently assessed at $2.92 million, per city property records.
Both commercial leases carried over in the sale, Semir said. The Someday Shop, a home goods and decor shop, operates at 22 E. Broad St., and the local office of D.C.-based architecture firm Hickok Cole recently signed on to put its office next door at 20 E. Broad St.
“Both tenants add to the neighborhood. That was a big selling point to us,” Reahard said. “They’re really good commercial tenants, which are tough to find these days.”
Semir and Reahard said they’re similarly not planning any major changes to the building’s residential units, which were over 90 percent leased at closing time.
“There isn’t much work that’s needed. We’d upgrade if and when the time comes, but for now it stands on its own,” Semir said.
Reahard said across their other properties, rent delinquencies have remained low in recent months thanks in part to federal and state relief programs.
“We’ve been within 2 percent of our normal numbers. The VHDA grants and federal subsidies with rent and mortgage relief programs have helped out,” Reahard said. “We have been able to tap into some of that grant money to help folks that have been laid off or unable to pay rent.”
Since closing on the Broad Street property, James River Housing is now looking to acquire a few more properties this year. “But we’re very particular,” Semir said.
Added Reahard: “We’re not in any rush, but we do like single-family home portfolios and see upside there. I think a lot of longtime landlords are ready to sell … and take advantage in the run up on residential properties.”
The building next door to James River Housing’s newest property is set to get a major facelift. SNP Properties is preparing to convert 24 E. Broad St. into 10 apartments above ground floor retail.