After sitting vacant for a year, a landmark property in the Museum District is now being planned for an apartment conversion.
Local development firm SNP Properties has filed plans to renovate the former Saint Gertrude High School campus at 3215 Stuart Ave. into apartments.
Plans show that SNP intends to keep the 69,000-square-foot former school building’s footprint intact and renovate its interior into 38 apartments. Some new construction is planned, as SNP is also planning to build a pair of two-story townhomes on a vacant plot at 311 Tilden St.
Since the land is zoned for single-family residential use, SNP is seeking a special-use permit to allow for the project.
SNP principal Eric Phipps confirmed that his firm has the land under contract but declined to comment further. SNP filed for its special-use permit earlier this month.
At roughly 2.2 acres, the land covers about half of a city block and was most recently assessed by the city at a combined $9.8 million. Saint Gertrude’s had operated in the building for decades until 2021, when it moved to Benedictine College Preparatory’s campus in Goochland.
The Benedictine Sisters of Virginia, a monastery affiliated with Saint Gertrude’s, has owned the land since 1913, the same year the building was constructed. BSV prioress Sister Joanna Burley said she has mixed emotions about the building’s sale and redevelopment.
“We’re very happy that (SNP Properties) is aware of the history of the Sisters and Saint Gertrude’s High School in Richmond and that it’ll be a renovation rather than a complete teardown,” Burley said.
“It’s a good deal, it really is. We’re sad, I have to say that, we’re immeasurably sad that the school as it traditionally has been will no longer exist. But the school in essence continues and a good portion of the proceeds of the sale will be used to support Saint Gertrude’s out in Goochland.”
Burley said the land deal is scheduled to close this fall. Colliers International’s Rebecca Barricklow and Joe Marchetti have the listing.
Of the 38 planned units, 17 would have two bedrooms, 16 would have three bedrooms and five would be one-bedroom units. The development would have 53 parking spaces accessible through the building’s rear alleyway.
SNP has enlisted Lory Markham of Markham Planning as representation in the entitlement process. The developer also tapped historic preservation firm Sadler & Whitehead as a consultant as it works with the Department of Historic Resources for tax credits. Markham Planning and Sadler & Whitehead are quite familiar already, as they both recently moved into the same Art Deco building in Monroe Ward.
Fultz & Singh Architects is listed as the project’s designer and Gradient PC is its civil engineer. It’s unclear when the matter will be heard by the city’s Planning Commission.
While SNP Properties has plenty of new-construction projects like The Penny in Jackson Ward and The Summit in Scott’s Addition, it’s shown a recent appetite for renovations.
In the Arts District it recently converted 24 E. Broad St. into a mixed-use building with 10 apartments and ground-floor commercial space. Down the street SNP converted a once fire-damaged building at 11 W. Broad St. into a restaurant space now occupied by Juan’s Cantina and Rooftop.
One of SNP’s bigger recent deals was its acquisition of the LaDiff building in Shockoe Slip for $10.5 million. SNP has said it’s eyeing a mixed-use conversion of that building, though details haven’t been disclosed. LaDiff, meanwhile, is heading to South Richmond for its new headquarters.
Schools have awkward spaces in them that can impede conversion to residential. Done creatively though, some interesting spaces can be turned that are never produced in normal construction. I look forward to seeing the end result here in my neighborhood. Lee School Lofts is back on the market and I wonder if it’s ready for an upgrade to condo conversion. The land next door to it is beIng readied for luxury townhouses, perhaps among the most expensive in the MDA. This community continues to evolve.
I am sad as it seems EVERY conversion, every new construction in the city is primarily residential and maybe at 5-10% or less in total square footage at each site is not. I know it is what the “market” can support but we are land locked. The City is becoming a bedroom community for workers at sites in Henrico and Chesterfield with and with less and less of the amenities that make it so walkable; we are pushing out the elements that make our neighborhoods truly mixed use.
This property is in the middle of a neighborhood and it’s not a good example of where we would want to see mixed use development. This conversion to apartments should be celebrated and not picked apart as lacking something, because it’s layout doesn’t lend itself to much aside from residential without being torn down. For true mixed use, look at what is happening along Broad St as we see more and more large apartments built with ground level retail/restaurants. I’m hopeful for there to be more of that long-term, and expecting a change overnight isn’t realistic. Once we have more… Read more »
Bravo Justin. Yes, for those who like mixed use, I remain convinced that Broad Street is the future. It has long been my (snarky) opinion that the only reason why so much has been going on in Scotts Add and Manchester is that it was cheap and not filled with complainers. But with Scotts Addition now overpriced, people will look to what is already there waiting in the Broad street area. Heck, if there is enough interest, there COULD eventually be a DC-ification of the broad street corridor — with the front areas of the building kept and higher rears… Read more »
An excellent adaptive reuse of the property!
Not nearly enough parking for that many tenants!