Planning Commission backs projects south of the river and in Shockoe Bottom

The old Southern States silos would be razed to make way for a proposed mixed-use development up to 20 stories tall. (BizSense file)

Three planned projects — two south of the river and one in Shockoe Bottom — moved forward in the city on Monday.

The city’s Planning Commission voted to recommend rezoning the Southern States silos site at 2-4 Manchester Road and a surface lot at 1801 E. Main St. in Shockoe Bottom. The commission also recommended granting a special-use permit at 1005 Westover Hills Blvd.

Hourigan Development is planning to raze the vacant silos to make way for a mixed-use development that could include residential, office or hotel uses.

The exact uses of the building, which could reach up to 20 stories and span close to 600,000 square feet, have not been determined.

But at Monday’s meeting, Hourigan’s counsel Preston Lloyd of Williams Mullen said they’ve received “great interest (in the project) but can’t go forward with deliberations without zoning in place.”

Included in Hourigan’s rezoning application is a proffer that the development firm would make a series of roadway and infrastructure improvements to increase access to 2-4 Manchester Road.

The proffer states those improvements would have to be completed prior to receiving a certificate of occupancy for the project, but Brian Copple, a manager at the city’s Department of Public Works, said DPW suggests the proffer be changed so that the improvements be made before receiving a building permit.

“There’s a risk that we’re not in agreement on any of the infrastructure improvements and they’re requesting for a (certificate of occupancy) and we have a bridge to nowhere,” Copple said. “We want to make sure these get done prior to receiving any sort of building permit.”

Planning Commission Chairman Rodney Poole responded saying, “If you force them to do these improvements prior to obtaining a building permit, you’re just pretty much guaranteeing this project won’t get built.”

After nearly an hour of deliberation, the Planning Commission voted to recommend approving the rezoning request.

A rendering of the mixed-use building that would rise at 1005 Westover Hills Blvd. Either apartments or condos would sit above ground-floor commercial space. (Courtesy of city documents)

Also on the Southside, developer Zach Kennedy’s request for a special-use permit at 1005 Westover Hills Blvd. also received the Planning Commission’s blessing.

Kennedy and his wife Danielle purchased the triangular, 0.25-acre lot that is currently green space in late 2019 for $72,000, and are seeking to build a three-story building with ground floor commercial space below 12 dwelling units above it.

“So what we are attempting to create is a hub for the neighborhood where people can walk, possibly have an office to rent, and have a restaurant on the first floor where neighbors can enjoy the commercial aspect of that area,” Kennedy said.

Lastly, the commission also approved a rezoning request for a surface lot at 1801 E. Main St. in Shockoe Bottom.

This half-acre surface lot in Shockoe Bottom sold for nearly three times its assessed value. (BizSense file)

The half-acre lot sold for $1.87 million last fall to Samuel Spiritos, a Northern Virginia-based attorney with Shulman Rogers who’s also dabbled in development himself.

Spiritos, along with developer Thomas Gravely, are seeking to rezone the lot to TOD-1 Transit-Oriented Nodal District. Their exact plans for the parcel have not been revealed, though their counsel, Hirschler’s Rob Benaicha, said at Monday’s meeting that they’re planning a “high-quality mixed-use project” and that they’re in the early stages of designing it.

“They’re very excited about Richmond. They’ve been studying it for six years,” Benaicha said.

They included a proffer in their rezoning application that would limit the building’s height to 11 stories, one fewer than what TOD-1 allows.

“Twelve is a number that is daunting for many people, but we believe 11 is all the density that we need to make a successful development at this site,” Benaicha said.

The 12-story height limit did not seem to daunt Commissioner Vik Murthy, who said he’d be fine approving the request without the 11-story proffer.

“As I look at the city, and I continue to push this, we’re restricted by how much real estate we have. We need to maximize that real estate when we have the opportunity to break ground on it,” Murthy said.

All three matters are now scheduled to be heard by the City Council at its May 24 meeting.

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Jackson Joyner
Jackson Joyner
5 months ago

Great to see more new projects in Westover Hills. That neighborhood is an undervalued gem in our city!

Peter James
Peter James
5 months ago
Reply to  Jackson Joyner

I grew up a mile west of Westover Hills – I’m thrilled to see a new project in my old stomping grounds!

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
5 months ago

I have long said that Manchester will be the biggest area of growth — because there are very few NIMBYs (though they better tear down those silos before someone decides that all those old silos and tanks are Historic Fabric that can’t protect itself!!!) and people period to get in the way. Now, what I would hope for is a better-looking FRONT than the usual work that is done here — these buildings will be by everyone, one, and two — they will have good viewscapes, so, they can charge more for the space — why not make it first… Read more »