Correction: Rental rates for the apartments range from $1,300 to $3,400 a month, according to Ascend RVA’s website, which presents the rents per bed, not per unit. The original story did not reflect the per-bed calculations.
What once was a gas station at Broad and Lombardy streets is now on track to become home to 168 apartments in a 12-story tower taking shape near VCU.
A new addition to the city skyline west of downtown, the $26 million building at the intersection’s northwest corner is on schedule for completion this August, wrapping up construction that got underway last spring.
Called Ascend RVA, the market-rate apartments are the first in Richmond for The Opus Group, a development firm out of Minnesota. Totaling 241,000 square feet, the U-shaped building fills the roughly 0.3-acre site of the former Sunoco gas station at 1600 W. Broad St., beside the Lowe’s Home Improvement store and across Lombardy from Foot Locker.
In the works since mid-2019, the project is the first along that stretch of Broad to take full advantage of the 12-story heights allowed under the city’s TOD-1 Transit-Oriented Nodal zoning district, which was extended to the corridor last year. The project was proposed and approved a year before that, with the understanding that the zoning was on its way as called for in the city’s Pulse Corridor Plan.
Ranging from studio units to four-bedroom floorplans, the apartments will be furnished and range in size from about 450 to 1,500 square feet, with rents from $1,300 to $3,400 a month, according to the building’s website.
The site markets the units as “student living,” noting their proximity to VCU, but Opus VP Ben Angelo said the apartments will be open to all renters.
“While students are our primary target demographic for marketing and leasing … we welcome non-students to enjoy the experience of living at Ascend RVA as well,” Angelo said. “We feel confident that the product we deliver has a level of luxury and sophistication that appeals to a broader demographic beyond just students.”
Located on the GRTC Pulse rapid transit bus line, the building will feature an outdoor terrace with a pool overlooking Broad, and a second-floor indoor-outdoor area above ground-floor retail space totaling 3,500 square feet.
Other amenities include a fitness center and lounge areas, and 82 parking spaces are planned in a one-level basement garage and at street level.
Opus designed the apartments and the building, which will feature a façade consisting primarily of metal, aluminum and glass. The building’s street-level base will feature concrete and brick.
Alabama-based Rabren General Contractors is the builder on the project, and Draper Aden Associates is handling engineering services. Opus also worked with Richmond-based Markham Planning and Roth Jackson attorney Andy Condlin to secure project approvals.
Opus purchased the site for $2.9 million in October 2020. A city permit put the building’s construction cost at $26.1 million.
The building is just up the street from another new-construction project taking shape along Lombardy. A block north, Stanley Martin Homes has started work on Carver Square, a 90-unit condo complex across from Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School.