Making further inroads in Petersburg, a Henrico-based real estate investor has struck another deal in a market he first entered about a year ago.
Gagan Marwaha and his Marwaha Investments bought the Cameron Lofts building at 325 Brown St. in Petersburg for $4.4 million in a deal that closed last month.
The 80,000-square-foot, three-story building features 33 one- and two-bedroom apartments as well as about 26,000 square feet of office space. Current office tenants include the Metropolitan Business League and Commonwealth Catholic Charities.
Marwaha said he plans to spend about $500,000 to add a 9,500-square-foot event venue and an additional 4,500 square feet of office space in unfinished portions of the existing building.
Marwaha credited Beverly Bailey at Re/Max Commonwealth and Tom Rosman of One South Realty with introducing him to the idea of investing in Petersburg. In the course of researching the market, Marwaha also had conversations with Dave McCormick, Petersburg developer and owner of Trapezium Brewing Co., who sold him on the idea.
“He really opened up my eyes to Petersburg. I was hesitant to invest in Petersburg, but he was kind enough to explain his vision to me,” Marwaha said of McCormack. “In the period of 12 months I have done many acquisitions and I plan to acquire more.”
Marwaha said he’s spent $15 million to-date to acquire an undisclosed number of apartment buildings, among them Old Towne Flats at 230 N. Sycamore St. and Plaza at Bank Street at 25 W. Bank St. He said he has more deals pending.
“It’s an up-and-coming area. A lot of big investors don’t know about it yet so you’re still getting decent deals there. The city is very invested in growing the economy. You might have a casino, you have a lot of pharmaceutical companies there, you have Fort Lee there,” he said.
Cameron Building LLC, a partnership between Tom Wilkinson, Rosman, Ron Hunt and Bill Wood, was the seller in the deal. The group bought the former Brown & Williamson Tobacco facility for $600,000 in 2010.
The building was most recently valued at $5.4 million according to Petersburg online property records, which didn’t reflect the deal as of Monday.
Closer to home, Marwaha scooped up Chesterfield office buildings at 2500 Pocoshock Place and 2505 Pocoshock Place in a combined deal that closed in November. He spent $2.4 million to buy the properties.
Bon Secours Chesterfield Family Medicine is currently the only tenant at 2500 Pocoshock Place, which is a 27,000-square-foot building. Bon Secours leases 14,000 square feet, but Marwaha said talks are underway to expand the health system’s square footage in the building.
Six office users occupy the building at 2505 Pocoshock Place, which is 12,000 square feet and has several vacancies, Marwaha said.
Marwaha plans to invest about $500,000 on improvements to the exteriors and common areas of the buildings.
“I’m not a guy who flips. I’m a guy who buys. My strategy has always been to buy and hold,” he said. “These are long-term investments for me.”
Marwaha said he favors properties in need of a tune up, which he can invest in and manage himself. He described his portfolio as “sizable” and consisting of single-family, townhome, multi-family, mixed-use and office, though he declined to go into further specifics. His holdings are in Henrico, Chesterfield, Richmond, Williamsburg and Petersburg.
Not far from Cameron Lofts, McCormick’s Waukeshaw Development recently bought a former luggage factory for $3 million.
Petersburg seems to finally be heating up
Petersburg is so well situated on I95 and is close to major population centers. Its downtown has amazing bones and history and I am happy to see it starting to take off. It is a hidden gem. They just need to tear down that big hotel off I95 as it detracts from the potential of Petersburg.