International Mission Board plans 263 apartments by Monument Ave. HQ

The parking lot at Monument Avenue and Hamilton Street. Proposed apartments would also replace an existing office building, visible to the right. The Argon Apartments are to the left. (Jonathan Spiers photos)

A global missionary group headquartered in Richmond is looking to get in on the city’s apartment boom.

International Mission Board, along with an out-of-town developer, is planning a 263-unit apartment complex on land it owns across Hamilton Street from its headquarters at 3806 Monument Ave.

The pair of five-story buildings would fill a surface parking lot at 3700 Monument Ave. and replace an existing three-story office building at 1301A N. Hamilton St. Both properties have been under IMB ownership for decades.

Renderings of how the apartments and parking deck would appear from Hamilton Street.

IMB is working with Silver Hills Development, an Ohio-based firm listed on the plans as both developer and owner. IMB would sell the land for the project, spokesperson Julie McGowan said.

“We are selling that property just because we don’t use it any longer,” McGowan said.

IMB is applying for a special-use permit for the development, which is allowed by existing zoning but would be restricted by design requirements due to the site’s narrow shape, according to an application filed with the city.

Totaling 2.4 acres, the two-parcel site borders the west side of the Interstate 195 expressway and Hamilton Street on-ramp.

Plans show the two buildings would enclose central courtyards and flank a structured parking deck with access off Hamilton at its intersection with West Grace Street. The deck would total 390 parking spaces.

: A site plan shows the two apartment buildings flanking a central parking deck. (Images courtesy City of Richmond)

The buildings would house 236 one-bedroom units and 27 two-bedrooms, with sizes ranging from about 590 to 1,060 square feet. Apartments would be furnished with washer-and-dryer units and include balconies, walk-in closets and open-style floorplans. The plans do not specify rents for the apartments, which are referred to in the documents as Silverhills at Monument Ave.

The courtyard of the building closest to Monument would include a pool, and a lobby and clubhouse for the complex would be accessed via the main entry off Hamilton. The clubhouse would include a fitness center, workspace and business center. The complex also would have 11 short-term and 65 long-term bicycle parking spaces, along with a bike repair station.

Ohio-based Dimit Architects is designing the apartments, and Timmons Group drew up site plans and is the landscape architect. Plans also list Edwards Communities, an Ohio-based builder that works with property manager Drucker + Falk.

Mark Baker with Richmond-based Baker Development Resources is handling the permit application, which is scheduled to go before the city Planning Commission on June 7.

IMB’s headquarters on Monument Avenue.

IMB, formerly called the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, has been based in its Monument Avenue building for over a half century. City property records show it’s owned that building since at least the mid-1950s.

It purchased the parking lot at 3700 Monument in 1977 for $255,000. The three-story office building, which was built in 1981 and totals 17,600 square feet, was bought in 1986 for $2.29 million. The city most recently assessed those parcels at $1.04 million and $2.89 million, respectively.

IMB also owns a parking lot behind its headquarters at 3800 W. Grace St., which it picked up in 1965 for $250,000. It’s now assessed at $829,000 and isn’t involved in the apartment project.

Tenants in the office building include refugee services group International Rescue Committee, law firm Berkeley, Curry & Cook, and Gulf Life Insurance Co., among others.

The three-story office building on Hamilton was built in the early 1980s.

The project site is directly across Monument from Georgetown Apartments, a 192-unit townhome community lining Hamilton and the expressway. Also nearby is the 66-unit Argon Apartments, a former office building redeveloped by Chris Harrison’s C.A. Harrison Cos.

Across the expressway, Sarah and Mary Krumbein redeveloped a former office building on Thompson Street into the 26-unit Century Flats apartments. And just west of IMB, Yogi Singh led the development team behind 3900 Monument, a new-construction building totaling 15 apartments.

IMB isn’t the first faith-based group to free up land it owns for residential development.

A few blocks north, United Methodist Family Services is leasing part of its Broad Street campus to Spy Rock Real Estate, which is developing a hotel and two mixed-use buildings there.

And farther north in Ginter Park, Union Presbyterian Seminary sold 15 acres of its Westwood Tract for Canopy at Ginter Park, a 301-unit apartment complex by Bristol Development Group. Earlier this year, local firm Capital Square purchased the apartments for $83.75 million.

Note: This story has been updated with information from IMB received after deadline.

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charles Frankenhoff
charles Frankenhoff
5 months ago

I don’t oppose this development, I’d rather it than surface parking lots, but I hope it has better architecture than the pictures above.

It would be nice if it didn’t look like a medium cheap motel.

Bob Law
Bob Law
5 months ago

Can you give me some examples of good, modern apartment architecture, whether in Richmond or elsewhere? I don’t disagree with you, but it seems like all new build apartment buildings look like this, and I struggle to envision something better.

Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob Law

Yeah does anybody know anyone because architects have decided to give up on designing apartment buildings; they just copy each other!

Great info location and so good to see the parking lot turned into useful space it would be nice if the international mission board would work with the buyer to have some set aside affordable housing units.

sara marie
sara marie
2 months ago
Reply to  Michael Dodson

fun read and images here: Berlin’s Architecture is Mixture of Old and New by Laurel Ives from Mansion Global which covers global real estate market

Don O'Keefe
Don O'Keefe
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob Law

It is extremely hard to find good apartment architecture in Richmond and in the US generally. The apartments in Manchester being developed by Lynx look mech better than average. Part of the problem is the large percentage of project budget that goes into parking facilities. Structured parking eats up lots of money. If you have surface parking, then the building has parking in front of it, which also looks bad. In most of the world there is less of an emphasis on driving so architects can spend money on the building. Some European architects like David Chipperfield make lovely apartment… Read more »

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob Law

I think one example is the Solomonsky building shown yesterday. That building has a definite bottom, middle and top. Having those treatments really helps. at the very least having different arches in the first floor and some interesting roof variations would really help this building.

Alan Hastings
Alan Hastings
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob Law

It’s better in a house in the suburbs outside the blighted city of Richmond

Justin Fritch
Justin Fritch
5 months ago
Reply to  Alan Hastings

You may be in the wrong place. This publication is for Richmond VIRGINIA, not one of the other similarly named cities.

charles Frankenhoff
charles Frankenhoff
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob Law

I could, I have seen them, but I’d absolutely have to hunt. You are right that most look like this. And it’s for a reason, it’s cheaper.

Don O'Keefe
Don O'Keefe
5 months ago

I’m also positive about adding many apartments on this site, but I find your question interesting. One thing that strikes me about this and many other buildings is that it appears to be apologizing for what it is. It is a long building that is trying to break itself up to appear like many short buildings. If they had built a big apartment building in 1900, they would not have just made it look like a big apartment building without all of the handwringing. We live in an era of self-doubt. But this is also the outcome of citizen review… Read more »

karl hott
karl hott
5 months ago

Splendid. Nondescript apartment buildings are well suited adjacent to freeways.

Rory Francisco
Rory Francisco
5 months ago

Good for the IMB. I live in a single-family home in this neighborhood and am a big proponent of higher density, as long as at least some of the apartments will be designated “affordable housing.” The Malvern Gardens/Sauer’s Gardens area is the most convenient location anywhere in Richmond. Just a block from I-195 and walkable to the Fan, Carytown and Willow Lawn. A closer GRTC Pulse stop would be icing on the cake.

Peter James
Peter James
5 months ago

This is a fantastic win for the neighborhood and for RVA in general. This is a terrific use of the space and gobbling up of a surface lot in favor of density is exactly what the city needs. I’m thrilled to see this project and hope ground will be broken sooner rather than later.

Alan Hastings
Alan Hastings
5 months ago

And not mentioning rent PRICES tells me that these will be anything but low income, once again gentrifying the area to attract millennial hipsters on bicycles who preen that they’re looking out for the poor and downtrodden, while living hypocrisy-filled lives that show themselves concerned with nothing but their segregation from anyone Brown, in an area where no one living outside this area will ever go aagain, or come near the BLM and ANTIFA encampments now permanently in place on the once beautiful Monument Avenue

Justin Fritch
Justin Fritch
5 months ago
Reply to  Alan Hastings

Gentrifying the Near West End.. That is a new one.