Duke Dodson has added to his holdings in the Arts District.
His Dodson Development Group last week purchased The Atrium on Broad mixed-use building for $4.8 million.
Located at 115 E. Broad St., the three-story building includes 42 apartments and a 3,100-square-foot ground floor office space.
Formerly known as the Jefferson Bank building, the Atrium was redeveloped nearly 10 years ago by local attorney and developer Barry Wilton. Dodson’s property management division had been managing the building for Wilton in recent years, a relationship Dodson said helped lead to the deal.
“We had been managing it for Wilton for about three years while we’ve been developing properties in the Arts District. Barry has decided to sell his properties to focus on other things,” Dodson said, noting that while it’s happened before, he doesn’t often buy buildings that his firm manages.
Despite some buildings remaining boarded up following the summer’s protests and COVID dampening the neighborhood’s usually busy sidewalks, Dodson said he’s still high on the Arts District long-term.
“I know it’s been a tough year for the Arts District, obviously with COVID and social unrest. Broad Street’s kind of been the epicenter of all that, and COVID’s hurt downtown,” Dodson said. “But long term we’re still very bullish on the Arts District and Broad Street, and we want to keep doing projects there.”
The deal for The Atrium closed Feb. 5 and includes a 0.1-acre parking lot at 26 E. Grace St. The building and lot were most recently assessed by the city at a combined $4.96 million.
Dodson said the lot will continue to be used as resident parking for The Atrium, whose percent occupancy rate is in the high 90s.
Changes are in store for the apartments, though. Dodson said the building has an unfinished basement that’s set to get a gym, lounge and work area.
“What’s cool about the Arts District is there are these old historic buildings, but most of them are small and they don’t have amenities. Then you have other buildings coming to town like The Penny (SNP Properties’ new apartment building at 2 W. Marshall St.) with a pool and other amenities,” Dodson said.
“We can’t do a pool here but we can certainly add what we can and make the living experience better.”
The Atrium’s commercial space is currently vacant and being listed as available for lease. D.C.-based law firm Innovista Law had formerly leased the space for its short-lived local office.
Looking ahead through 2021, Dodson said a lot of his focus will go toward a $25 million mixed-use project in Colonial Beach, Virginia. Last fall Dodson announced plans for a multi-phase development that’ll add townhomes, a hotel, office and retail space in the small town on the Northern Neck.
Dodson said they’re set to close on more of the land needed for the project this spring, and that the first phase’s groundbreaking should follow shortly after.