With approval from the Richmond City Council in hand, a local venture capitalist is moving ahead with plans for a new office building in the Westhampton neighborhood.
The council voted Monday to approve a special-use permit for 5605 Grove Ave., where Brock Saunders is planning to build a two-story office building.
Saunders, a partner at venture capital firm Summit Action Fund, said this is his first time developing land, and he’s doing it in the neighborhood in which he lives.
He bought the property for $1.26 million and began planning the office building last year, but said the building has gone through a few design iterations since then.
“It took a long time and it wasn’t easy, but I think the project is better as a result of it,” Saunders said. “I’m not sure I want to do it again any time soon. Development’s one of those things where you’ll never make everybody happy, but I think we got to a good place.”
At 11,000 square feet, the office building will be primarily occupied by Saunders’ firm as well as his brother Paul’s hedge fund, Hutch Capital. About 2,000 square feet will be available for lease.
The next step is to select a general contractor and lender, Saunders said, and begin demolishing the 49-year-old house on the property that was home to Kim Faison Antiques for decades. Fultz & Singh Architects is the architect.
“Our hope is to occupy the building early fall of next year,” Saunders said.
While he’s not rushing to develop more of the neighborhood, Saunders said he thinks others will be.
“This area is in the early innings of what I think is going to be significant redevelopment. It’s really important it’s done the right way and we don’t lose the charm of the neighborhood in this process,” Saunders said.
“I love this neighborhood. There’s a reason we looked all over the city and chose Westhampton to put our office.”