After changing hands for the second time in two years, an old Manchester bank building is getting a new life as office space for a local real estate brokerage.
Bloom Real Estate has purchased the former Mechanics and Merchants Bank building at 1129 Hull St. for $890,000.
The 4,800-square-foot space will allow Bloom owner Shana Bloom and her team of four agents to move out of the Gather coworking space in Scott’s Addition.
Bloom said it felt like the time was right to get their own place and some additional brand visibility.
“We operate 100 percent on referral and we don’t spend time or resources on self-promotion, so having visibility was kind of part of the intention,” she said. “We are a small firm but we do a good bit of business in Richmond. It’s a big step for us.”
Most recently home to event venue The Bankuet Place, the 101-year old building sits at the corner for 12th and Hull streets, across from new restaurant Philly Vegan.
Bloom bought the property on Nov. 22. The seller was Chesterfield development firm Jones Homes Custom Building, which had purchased the building during a 2019 auction of properties tied to embattled local businessman Michael Hild. Jones paid $825,000 for the 4,800-square-foot building and it has sat vacant ever since. No plans were ever filed for the property under Jones’ ownership.
A Charlottesville native, Bloom has been working as a residential real estate agent in the Richmond area since 2005. She went independent and started her own brokerage in 2017, representing home buyers and sellers in the Richmond and Charlottesville markets.
Bloom plans to be moved into the building mid-2022, and she said she’s hoping to use historic tax credits to help fund its renovation into office suites and adding rooftop access.
Despite its age, Bloom said the building is in good shape.
“The plan is to lovingly restore what I can of the historic-ness of it,” Bloom said. “It had been on the market for a little while. Honestly, things come across my desk all the time and I think it was really the historic (nature) of it that really caught my attention and the potential it has.”
Some of the other previously auctioned-off Hild properties are also getting new life, including the site of the former Lighthouse Diner at 1228 Hull St. which is now set to become a mixed-use building with 24 apartments.
Hild, meanwhile, awaits a decision by a federal court judge in New York on whether to grant him acquittal or a new trial after he was convicted by a jury for his role in a bond pricing scheme that brought down his Chesterfield-based mortgage company Live Well Financial. Hild’s petition allowed him to wait to be sentenced and he remains free pending the decision.
• BizSense Editor Michael Schwartz contributed to this report.