After years of seemingly sitting on its holdings in the neighborhood, Douglas Development is starting work on the first of what it says will be more projects to come along a stretch of East Broad Street that’s seeing a recent surge in development activity.
D.C.-based Douglas is underway on a pair of building rehabs at 200 and 201 E. Broad St. that between them will house a total of 19 apartments above ground-floor commercial spaces.
The projects are a significant step forward for Douglas, which has gathered over a dozen properties in the neighborhood since the mid-2000s. Biggest among them is the former Central National Bank building at 219 E. Broad St., which it converted into apartments in an historic tax-credit rehab that wrapped up around 2016. But the firm sat on many of its other properties around Broad Street in the years since.
Douglas Asset Manager Cindy King said the work at 200 and 201 E. Broad St., across the street from each other, marks the beginning of the firm putting its Broad Street plans in motion.
“Our plan is to revitalize all of our assets on Broad Street. This is the kickoff,” King said.
She added, “Broad Street was always part of the plan, (but) we’ve had a couple other projects in the mix. It’s time to get this thing going. We’re excited about it.”
Some of those other projects include Douglas’s apartment conversions of the former Stumpf Hotel at 728 E. Main St. and the former Virginia Department of Environmental Quality building at 629 E. Main St. Douglas also recently spent a total of $7.7 million to acquire the former Massad House Hotel and Tiffanie’s Manor assisted living facility, also downtown.
Douglas purchased 200 and 201 E. Broad St. in 2007 for $1.8 million from late local businessman Samuel Liniado. Clay Market had operated at 200 E. Broad St. for over a decade before closing around 2019, while 201 E. Broad had been home to Liniado’s Harper’s Department Store and The Linen Mart for over 70 years, from 1933 to 2006, per an obituary. The 201 building’s been mostly vacant since.
King said the apartments at 201 E. Broad will be an even mix of one- and two-bedroom units, and the ground floor commercial space will be about 5,800 square feet.
Across the street at the former Clay Market building, Douglas is planning 11 apartments, 10 of which will be one-bedroom units with one two-bedroom. In addition to about 2,800 square feet of commercial space fronting Broad, King said that project will also have three office suites totaling about 2,000 square feet facing North Second Street.
King said those smaller offices will be available for anyone to rent, but that they may also be an option for building residents who’d like a home office.
ADO Architects is the designer for both projects, and L.F. Jennings is the general contractor. Divaris’s Brett McNamee, Ali McCrickard and Jimmy Cunneen are listing the commercial spaces.
King said they hope to have both projects completed by the first quarter of 2023.
Douglas’s projects add to other rehabs underway along the corridor.
Two blocks west, at 10 E. Broad St., Landmark Property Investment and Louis Adams recently kicked off work on the former Jefferson Loan and pawn shop building. Landmark co-founder Pinson Neal said in an email they’re turning the three-story, 17,000-square-foot building into 16 apartments above 3,000 feet of commercial space.
Neal said The Yellow Room Inc. is the project’s designer and L.F. Jennings is the general contractor.
It’s a slightly smaller renovation project than the one Landmark is working on at 909 E. Main St. downtown, where, along with The Wilton Cos., it’s going to renovate the Mutual Building into 170 apartments.
Also along Broad, local development firm The Monument Cos. recently began work at 109 E. Broad St., which is being renovated into eight apartments with commercial space.
Monument Cos. recently filed plans for the building that show an historic tax-credit renovation of the three-story, 7,200-square-foot building into eight apartments and ground-floor commercial space. An entity tied to Monument bought the building last July for $540,000, city records show.
It’s unclear what the breakdown of the apartments will be. Monument principal Chris Johnson wasn’t available for comment by press time. Monument’s other work in Richmond includes Cary Street Station in the Fan and The Riviere on Semmes.
Activity along Broad Street hasn’t been limited to residential projects. Hampton Roads-based restaurateur Juan Carillo is making a play into the Arts District, as has Common House with its oyster bar and restaurant Birdie’s.
And in the same block as Douglas’s projects, at 211 E. Broad St., Lory Markham and Walter Parks are converting the building that once housed Colonial Hairgoods Co. into nine apartments and a commercial space. It backs up to a building on the Grace Street side of the block that Markham and Michelle and Tom Rosman converted into apartments and two commercial storefronts.
Douglas’s King said the momentum in the neighborhood has company officials feeling optimistic.
“We’re seeing more activity on Broad, and there’s a lot of it,” King said. “We definitely want to do our part and keep Broad Street moving in the right direction.”