After years of leasing space for its Richmond operations, a Virginia Beach-based subcontractor has become its own landlord in the city.
Ocean Drywall recently purchased 3309 W. Leigh St. for $1.17 million. The company has been using a roughly 5,000-square-foot building on the land as office and warehouse space for the last year and a half.
Founded in 1997 by Tony Gower Sr., Ocean Drywall has been working in the Richmond region since the early 2000s, providing drywall for local projects such as the Altria Theater, Gateway Plaza and the new General Assembly building. In 2015 Gower sold the business to his children, Tony Jr. and Sheila.
The younger Tony said they’re trying to build Ocean Drywall’s business in Central Virginia, and that Richmond felt like a good hub to do that.
“It’s usually developer after developer buying land in Scott’s Addition. I understand the cost per square foot per area and what stuff’s going for,” Gower said. “The opportunity (to buy the building) presented itself so we jumped on it.”
City records show the sale closed Sept. 1 and that the quarter-acre parcel was most recently assessed at $903,000. The Gowers bought the building through an affiliated entity, Ocean Property Holdings.
The seller in the deal was an entity tied to Marc Allocca, a vice president at Colliers International and Outer Banks-based lawyer M. Peebles Harrison.
Ocean Drywall and its local staff of about 35 will continue to operate out of the building, but Gower said that they’re keeping their options open for the future.
“There could be other stuff down the road where we could redevelop it. We’re not ruling that out but our plan is to have this office up here and really try to grow the Richmond and Central Virginia market,” Gower said. “But we could outgrow the space in four or five years, you never know.”
Tony Gower Sr. continues to own Ocean Construction Services, a general contracting firm that’s separate from the drywall business.
While the deal carried one of the smaller price tags seen in Scott’s Addition in recent years, sales in the neighborhood have continued to trend upward in cost, particularly as out-of-town buyers arrive.
A block to the south Hem + Spire, a North Carolina-based developer, bought the mixed-use MacTavish Flats apartments in August for nearly $11 million.