Another chunk of Eck real estate empire sells to local buyer for $6M

The largest Eck building to sell so far is the Social Security building at 1834 W. Cary St. The office building fetched $2.9 million. (Mike Platania photo)

A bigger deal is still pending, but a small piece of the Eck family real estate portfolio has been snagged by a local investor.

Nine properties along West Main and Cary streets — highlighted by the 15,000-square-foot Social Security Administration office building at 1834 W. Cary St. — sold last week for a total of $5.9 million.

Praveen Gupta, a Henrico-based investor, bought the properties from Eck Enterprises, the family business of the late Edgar Eck Jr., who redeveloped dozens of buildings in the Fan in the 1980s.

The deal included 1715, 1719, 1723 and 1727 W. Main St., as well as 1504, 1518, 1520, 1603 and 1834 W. Cary St.

The Ecks’ 150-plus property portfolio hit the market earlier this year and the bulk remains under contract to be sold to a single mystery buyer.

Commonwealth Commercial’s Kit Tyler, who has the listing with colleague Nash Warren, confirmed this week that most of the Eck portfolio remains under contract and scheduled to close by the end of 2021.

Gupta closed on his deal on Oct. 14, city records show. In addition to the Social Security building, most of the properties Gupta acquired are either mixed-use or multi-family apartments.

Gupta was part of a group of unnamed investors that bought the Social Security building, but he said he’s the sole owner of the other eight buildings.

The Social Security building sold for $2.9 million. The other eight buildings Gupta bought went for $3 million combined and were most recently assessed by the city at a combined $3.7 million.

Gupta said in an interview Monday that he began investing more in real estate in recent years, and got into the Richmond market last spring when he bought a 16-unit mixed-use building at 711 W. Broad St. for $3.4 million.

“Lately, I’ve been more focused on the Richmond area and I’m buying multi-family or commercial properties,” Gupta said. “The other properties I have aren’t in the Richmond area, but they are in Virginia.”

He added that the eight-building sale was part of a 1031 exchange.

Gupta said all of the leases on the Eck buildings have carried over in the sale. He’s not planning to make any changes to the buildings in the near-term but eventually hopes to upgrade some of their utilities.

“Long-term my goals are to make it more sustainable, in terms of having solar panels and more renewable forms of energy in these buildings,” Gupta said. “The Social Security building is using a vast amount of energy, and that all is coming from Dominion (Energy).”

Gupta said he currently has no other deals on the horizon but is still in the market for more real estate in town.

“We will definitely be looking for some good deals out there,” he said.

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