$53M mixed-use project proposed for Cobb Lumber site off Hermitage Road

The Cobb Lumber complex on Hermitage Road, just north of the railroad crossing. (Jonathan Spiers photos)

As a major mixed-use development gets rolling nearby, the longtime home of a Richmond lumber company along Hermitage Road is being floated for a $53 million project that could provide a new home for a local construction firm.

Breeden Investment Properties, an affiliate of Virginia Beach-based The Breeden Co., is looking to redevelop the Cobb Lumber site at 2300 Hermitage Road with a mixed-use building that potentially could house a new corporate office for Richmond-based subsidiary Breeden Construction.

Plans filed with the city earlier this year show the triangular-shaped, 2.2-acre property would be filled with a six-story building with 153 apartments and office space above a ground-level parking garage. A rendering of the building shows signage for Breeden Construction and a rooftop space overlooking Hermitage.

A rendering of the proposed mixed-use building, which would include apartments and office space above a parking garage. (Courtesy of City of Richmond)

Breeden is under contract to purchase the property, which last sold in 1990 for $260,000, according to city property records. The city most recently assessed the property at $1.42 million.

Cobb Lumber President Steven Clifton confirmed that the property is under contract. He did not comment further when reached Tuesday.

Built in 1900, the cluster of warehouses and industrial buildings are next door to the Richmond Ambulance Authority property at 2400 Hermitage Road. Breeden’s development would include a sliver of that property that the authority is not using, according to the plans, which note that Breeden has made an offer to buy that 0.17-acre sliver from the city.

A site map shows the portion of the Richmond Ambulance Authority property that would be part of the project. (Courtesy of City of Richmond)

On Monday, the Richmond Planning Commission passed a resolution declaring the city’s intent to rezone the authority property to TOD-1, the Transit-Oriented Nodal District that now includes the Cobb property after an area-wide rezoning adopted last month for the so-called “Greater Scott’s Addition” area. That rezoning left the authority property zoned B-7 Mixed-Use Business.

Breeden had previously filed a rezoning application seeking the TOD zoning for the Cobb site. The application, which is no longer being processed by city planning staff in light of the area-wide rezoning, includes an overview of the development, which it describes as a $53 million investment by Breeden.

The office portion of the building would be large enough to accommodate 126 employees, while the rest of the upper floors would be filled with the apartments. Units would range in size from 750 to 1,400 square feet and include 58 one-bedroom, 68 two-bedroom and 27 three-bedroom floorplans.

The cluster of warehouses and industrial buildings currently on the site would be razed.

Amenities would be located on the second floor, and the ground-floor garage would total 153 parking spaces, with an additional 17 spaces outside the building. The plans also show a dog park on the site.

Humphreys & Partners Architects, a Dallas-based firm, is behind the building’s design, and Richmond-based Timmons Group drew up site plans for the project. Hirschler attorney Robert Benaicha filed the plans for Breeden, which would operate and manage the building.

Breeden representatives did not comment on the project when reached Tuesday, and a call to Benaicha was not returned.

StyleCraft Homes’ The Outpost at Brewers Row condos are among the developments underway around Hardywood Craft Park Brewery.

The project would rise just a block from the so-called “Hardywood village” development that’s underway around the brewery at Ownby Lane and Overbrook Road. Spy Rock Real Estate Group and Crescent Preservation & Development Co. are behind that development, which will add nearly 200 apartments, dozens of townhomes and over 20,000 square feet of commercial space to the area.

If it relocates to Hermitage, the move would be the second in two years for Breeden Construction, which last year took space in the Glen Forest Office Park in western Henrico. The company’s current projects around town include a group of apartment rehabs that recently got underway. It’s also done two projects with Spy Rock: The Scout at Scott’s Addition, and the Ella development in front of the UMFS campus.

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charles Frankenhoff
charles Frankenhoff
1 month ago

This looks like a good project in a good place. The old buildings are nice but not so dramatically so that I will miss them.

Trevor Dickerson
Trevor Dickerson
1 month ago

I feel like they could easily incorporate the beautiful brick building on the corner into the development if they wanted. It would be very fitting with the character of the surrounding neighborhood and the reuse of other buildings like Todd Lofts.

charles Frankenhoff
charles Frankenhoff
30 days ago

That would be a good thing indeed, but easily might overstate it.

Derek Woolwine
Derek Woolwine
1 month ago

Sucks they aren’t incorporating the old buildings.

Trevor Dickerson
Trevor Dickerson
1 month ago
Reply to  Derek Woolwine

They should be. I’m going to send them an email and ask about the possibility on behalf of the board of Scott’s Addition.

Roger Turner
Roger Turner
1 month ago

I really wish that as I have read Bizsense the last few years I had kept a running tally of how many apartment deals have been announced in Richmond that have yet to come out of the ground. I have no doubt we can absorb the growth in the long run but my gosh it seems like every week there are two new 200-400 unit projects announced (and some even larger). There have to be 40 plus in planning that have yet to break ground. It’s great to see the market so hot but if all these come to fruition… Read more »

Justin Ranson
Justin Ranson
30 days ago
Reply to  Roger Turner

I was just thinking the same thing. So many proposed projects don’t go anywhere.

charles Frankenhoff
charles Frankenhoff
30 days ago
Reply to  Roger Turner

I think the vacancy rate in Richmond remains really low, though that would make a great article.

A lot of these proposals won’t happen of course. I’d be surprised if 80% come through. but who knows…

Roger Turner
Roger Turner
29 days ago

Yes my son just tried to find a new apartment and they were very scarce. I am wondering however it the “eviction moratorium” is partially to blame. It would be interesting to have a building owners perspective if that is a current problem or not? I have not studied the policy enough to know if any and everyone can evade eviction or if you have to prove how covid has impacted your ability to pay?

charles Frankenhoff
charles Frankenhoff
26 days ago
Reply to  Roger Turner

The eviction moratorium is affecting a lot of people, but not evenly across the market. It’s generally small landlords who rent to the poor who are getting put out of business

Zach Thomas
Zach Thomas
27 days ago

Every Richmond apartment building in the last decade looks like it was spit out by some sort of App where you enter the dimensions and it generates a rendering… except that everyone just uses the free trial that only comes with this one style of building. Come on guys, make those in-app purchases! Unlock the next level!

charles Frankenhoff
charles Frankenhoff
26 days ago
Reply to  Zach Thomas

funny. Not untrue. But it’s nationwide, not just Richmond. A combination of what’s happened to the profession of architecture, and of zoning. Which drives the financials, which drives the developers.

But the concept above is far from the worst. I agree it would be even better if they kept some of the existing structures and incorporated them

Melissa Savenko
Melissa Savenko
26 days ago
Reply to  Zach Thomas

Good design doesn’t have to be expensive. But it seems most developers aren’t interested in good design, just easy development. It’s too bad. And not great for the City long term. Here’s where we are evaluating the architecture- “Well, it’s not TERRIBLE.” Damned by faint praise indeed.