Thalhimer, N.C. developer plan apartments across from The Diamond

A rendering of the planned apartment building, looking northwest along Arthur Ashe Boulevard. (City documents)

Another Thalhimer-owned property is being teed up for new development — and this time an out-of-town firm is involved in the deal.

Thalhimer Realty Partners and Charlotte-based Crescent Communities have submitted plans for a seven-story apartment building to rise on the former Wesco Distribution site at 2902 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd.

Dubbed in plans as “Novel Scott’s Addition,” the new 83,000-square-foot building would add 272 apartments across from The Diamond.

The project would be the first in the Richmond region for Crescent Communities, a North Carolina development firm whose portfolio spans the country and includes dozens of multifamily, mixed-use, office and industrial projects. The firm is not affiliated with locally-based Crescent Preservation & Development Co.

The former Wesco Distribution warehouse would be demolished to make way for apartments. (Mike Platania photo)

TRP acquired the 3.2-acre Wesco site in late 2019 and had it rezoned in the spring. Wesco, an electrical supply company, has since moved its local headquarters to Ashland.

Crescent is listed as the developer of the project, and TRP as the owner, though it’s unclear whether Crescent would purchase the land from TRP. Crescent representatives as well as TRP principal Matt Raggi declined to comment for this story.

Per its website, Crescent brands all of its multifamily projects under the “Novel” name. Plans show that the building would be entirely residential and without a commercial element, similar to a six-story, 126-unit apartment project TRP is working on along Belleville Street in Scott’s Addition’s historic district.

Amenities at Novel Scott’s Addition would include a pool, multiple courtyards and a 362-space parking garage. Tysons-based architect KTGY is the project’s designer, and local firm Kimley-Horn is its engineer.

An aerial view of the Wesco Distribution site, facing south. Arthur Ashe Boulevard is to the left. (City documents)

The Novel proposal continues an especially busy few months for TRP.

In late August it bought a warehouse not far from the Novel site at 1717 Rhoadmiller St. and 2510 Hermitage Road for $2 million. Later that month it filed plans for a 271-unit mixed-use building to rise on a surface lot at 423 Hull St. in Manchester, and in June it spent $2.75 million on 3.5 acres of land along Chamberlayne Avenue in Northside.

By the end of the year the city is expected to issue a long-awaited request for proposals to redevelop The Diamond and the land surrounding it, but other major changes along Arthur Ashe Boulevard are already in motion.

To the north of the Novel site, TRP is planning a retail and restaurant project, “Scott’s Walk” at 3064 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd, and on the other side of the train tracks Bow Tie Partners is mulling its options for the 17-acre plot of land surrounding its movie theater. Once eyed by The Cordish Cos. for a casino, the land is now being considered for other entertainment projects.

 Across Leigh Street from Bow Tie, D.C. developers Level 2 Development and SJG Properties recently spent $12.5 million on just over 3 acres at 1117-1209 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. where they’re planning an $80 million mixed-use project.

 

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
25 days ago

The elephant in the City living room is the redevelopment of the 65 acres of city owned land where the Diamond sits. The success of these smaller sites will bring in a bevy of outside treasure chests in the form of national developers to place their bids. The City will have a great opportunity to make a statement but it needs to ramp up its efficiencies in plan review and permitting to make it possible. The recent a tax assessment bump will provide an additional $43 million annually to the city coffers. Will the city provide the wages and the… Read more »

Scott S Gravitt
Scott S Gravitt
25 days ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

If a statement is to be made for the area, something will have to be done about the Greyhound Bus Station that sits right next to this propoasl and directly across from The Diamond.

Jordon Smith
Jordon Smith
25 days ago

Agreed, that area could be prime space for a development that fits everything else to come.. i suggest moving it near Main Street Station as that could possible become a future travel hub.

Peter James
Peter James
25 days ago
Reply to  Jordon Smith

There was at one time (a long time ago, if I recall) baked into several of the city’s master plans the concept of developing a multi-modal transit/transportation hub, using Main Street Station as the focal point. I believe the old train shed was supposed to be converted/modified to include the interstate bus station (Greyhound, at the time Trailways, etc.) on ground level, plus an integrated GRTC hub that would — in general — connect express routes from the suburbs and, in particular, connect in specifically designated express bus service to and from the airport. The idea of combining Amtrak, interstate… Read more »

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
25 days ago
Reply to  Peter James

I’m not sure, with the way that neighborhood has developed, the neighbors want a bunch of buses there any more.

From what I have seen driving down Broad, PULSE looks like a failure to me.

Peter James
Peter James
24 days ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

The neighborhood continues to evolve, particularly with a 12-story residential building slated to rise at 17th and Franklin and plans for an 11-story apartment building at 18th and E. Main. Given what renovations have already taken place at Main Street Station, I think that ship (a multi-modal transit hub) has long since sailed and that it’s not likely we’ll see one, especially considering that the city is committed to putting a GRTC hub either right in City Center or immediately adjacent to it. I do think, however, it might be advantageous to relo the Greyhound station out of Scott’s Addition… Read more »

Last edited 24 days ago by Peter James
Justin Fritch
Justin Fritch
24 days ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

I have noticed you keep harping on the Pulse line being a failure when that could not be further from the truth. Just prior to the pandemic, GRTC was in the process of ordering more, and larger buses (articulated) due to the need for more capacity on the line as ridership exceeded expectations. As a frequent user, I can assure you those busses would get packed between 25th St. and Allison St. stations during peak hours. This currently unusual period of time with low commuting, nationwide driver shortages, and purposeful discouragement of using mass transit is not a good representation… Read more »

Peter James
Peter James
24 days ago
Reply to  Justin Fritch

Well said. I agree 100%.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
21 days ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

Shawn-Pre pandemic it was very successful, with ridership greatly surpassing expectations.

And since all these new buildings are going in without the traditionally allotted amount of parking spaces the choice to either make the Pulse work or crash and burn, parking space wise.

John Lindner
John Lindner
25 days ago

I’m curious about the grade on this lot. Presently, it slopes downhill significantly as you approach the railroad bridge, but this rendering shows the lot as even with the street. Do they intend to bring it up to street level?

Matt Crane
Matt Crane
25 days ago

Ironic that they dub themselves “Novel” when these development are anything but. The lack of imagination here is cause for concern for anyone invested in the strong cultural equity in Richmond that is rapidly being watered down with these egregious transgressions upon taste and style.

Peter James
Peter James
25 days ago
Reply to  Matt Crane

I must respectfully disagree with this position on a number of levels. First and foremost, “Novel” is becoming an increasingly recognized national-level name for residential projects in a fairly exclusive yet nationally well-known list of cities. Crescent has built similar projects in Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Orlando, Phoenix, and Washington D.C. To put Richmond’s name among these cities on Crescent’s portfolio automatically is a boost to RVA’s name and reputation at least within certain segments of the national business community. The importance of having RVA’s name listed with these other cities cannot be understated in terms of what it will… Read more »

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
25 days ago
Reply to  Matt Crane

Richmond actually has a long history of building boring buildings — there are some awesome neighborhoods, yes, but even some of them have very plain-jane buildings for the time.

Peter James
Peter James
24 days ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

That’s any city, though – not just Richmond. Chicago is considered to have some of the most spectacular and varied ranges of architecture of any major city in the country and I can tell you there are PLENTY of stinkers/yawners that have been built in the Windy City. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – and what one architect finds awesome another might not. It is what it is. And let’s not forget the alliterative architecture axiom – “form follows function”. If cities sat around with the powers that be arguing and haranguing about how this or that… Read more »

Last edited 24 days ago by Peter James
Justin W Ranson
Justin W Ranson
25 days ago

Where are the people who will live here meant to shop? Commercial development has to rise along with residential, especially if Richmond really wants to reduce car travel. This area is not exactly pedestrian-friendly.

Last edited 25 days ago by Justin W Ranson
Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
25 days ago

I suspect any plan for the 65 acres will incorporate a grocery store, probably as part of a mixed use building. It can’t be all apartments! Spyrock has shown how to use acreage for commercial and residential uses successfully within Scotts Addition. There’s a Wegmans incorporated into one of the huge residential developments in downtown DC and a full size grocery store underneath an apartment building in Falls Church. It’ll happen here.

Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson
25 days ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

A Wegmans??? That is as bad as the planners that floated the idea of an Ikea at the location. DC is getting a Wegmans in Northwest off Wisconsin Ave. The average household income in Cleveland Park is about $200,000 and the average single family home that is closer to Wisconsin Avenue is over $1.5M (average for the entire neighborhood is just under $1M). And DC is much, much more dense than RVA. Please tell me what SpyRock is planning at the Ella off Broad. I see lots of housing tenants have moved in but not a single retail space has… Read more »

Justin Fritch
Justin Fritch
25 days ago
Reply to  Michael Dodson

*Three restaurants. The recently closed Conch Republic is being filled by Island Shrimp Co.

Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson
25 days ago
Reply to  Justin Fritch

I heard rumors however was not sure it opened but even the Rockets Landing web page does not list in that restaurant.

Justin Fritch
Justin Fritch
24 days ago
Reply to  Michael Dodson

The Conch Republic owners confirmed it themselves as well as this publication. They just closed a couple weeks ago so it may take some time.

https://conchrepublicrocketts.com/

Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson
24 days ago
Reply to  Justin Fritch

I hope it does open but FYI the owners of Rockett’s Landing and that space make NO mention on the website for the development. http://rockettsvillage.com/restaurants

Justin Fritch
Justin Fritch
24 days ago
Reply to  Michael Dodson

Usually that site is slow to update in the first place so I am surprised to even see Conch removed. I imagine they will not add it until open.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
25 days ago
Reply to  Michael Dodson

I’m upvoting this comment Michael — as much as I love Wegman’s I think that the area is already over grocered (Whole Foods now walking distance away; Kroger tucked back there too)

And Wegman’s would be competing with ITSELF —- I have asked myself where a next Wegman’s would make sense and all I can come up with is…. ?????? (maybe Chester?)

Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson
24 days ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

Shawn those are my thoughts. We are oversaturated with grocery stores. I mean I could see Aldi considering a move or maybe (just maybe) Trader’s Joes coming into try and steal the Aldi customers. I remember all the clapping when a city staffer said places like Ikea where eyeing the Blvd site…..sure they are. I just hope BowTie survives. The parking lot even on cheap Tuesday and Saturday evening seem to be sparsely used.

charles Frankenhoff
charles Frankenhoff
21 days ago

There are a lot of grocery stores near the diamond. Not exactly a lack

Justin Fritch
Justin Fritch
21 days ago

I can only think of ALDI. Wholefood’s is a bit of a walk for most Scott’s Addition residents and for future Diamond residents. Kroger and Lidl are even further.

Something located around Arthur Ashe Center could support these rapidly growing neighborhoods as well as provide a better option for Ginter Park and other Northside neighborhoods. There is not a Trader Joe’s or Wegmen’s any where near by (or Food Lion but they seem out of place here). Given the central location with direct highway access for commuters, a destination grocer seems supportable.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
25 days ago

Whoa!