In a change of course in light of the pandemic, a local hotelier has gone back to the drawing board with its plan to redevelop a former Broad Street hotel, coming back with a new plan for a mix of retail and apartments, including corporate housing.
KM Hotels has submitted revised plans with Henrico County for the former Akaza Hotel property at 6531 W. Broad St., which it purchased pre-pandemic for $4.6 million with plans to overhaul the site with two new hotels and a 50,000-square-foot office building.
Plans now call for 250 apartments – 78 of those designated as furnished corporate units for local businesses needing to house out-of-town employees – along with a parking garage and new commercial building fronting Broad Street.
Mayur Patel, KM Hotels’ president and chief operating officer, said the change was made in light of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on the hospitality industry, among other market considerations.
“We were going to do a hotel, and obviously because of COVID and all the new (hotel) supply coming into the area, we decided not to,” he said.
The new project, to be called Studios at 6531, would be the company’s first venture into apartment development, Patel said.
“The usage is better. I also know that the county is in support of it,” he said. “We had been talking about this for over a year during COVID, and it just took a long time to get here.”
The three-phased development would start with a conversion of the existing six-story hotel structure into the corporate apartments. The building was originally planned to become a 100-room Quinta Inn & Suites Hotel when adjoining structures on the site were razed last year.
A second phase would add a new seven- and eight-story building totaling 172 traditional apartments at the western end of the linear-shaped site. The 6.6-acre site lines the southern side of Altria’s corporate campus at Reynolds Crossing and is adjacent to apartment communities to the west and a Home Depot to the south.
The final phase would add a new three-story garage and a three-story commercial building fronting Broad Street. The commercial building would include space for retail and other business uses with outdoor patios along the street side.
Plans show a patio, walking path and lawn area beside the taller building, which would reach seven stories on the western end beside Betty Lane and eight stories on the eastern side. Other amenities shown include a pet recreation area beside the corporate apartments building; a pool, greenhouse and basketball between that building and the parking garage; and a playground beside the commercial building.
A cost estimate and timeline for the development was not available Monday, and the plans did not specify unit sizes or rental ranges for the apartments. Patel did not have those details on-hand when reached Monday.
The project would require zoning approval and a provisional-use permit from the county. Local attorney Andy Condlin with Roth Jackson Gibbons Condlin is representing KM in those requests, which are scheduled to go before the Planning Commission Oct. 14.
In its report, county planning staff said it has concerns about the timing of the commercial component of the development, as well as frontage improvements along Broad, building heights and other details. Staff is recommending deferral to give KM time to address those concerns.
Glen Allen-based NBJ Architecture is designing the project, and HG Design Studio is handling landscape design and drew up site plans.