Siblings renovating apartments, adding five-story building near Regency

A rendering of the five-story apartment building planned as part of a redevelopment of part of Gateway Apartments. The new building will include ground-floor commercial space. (Image courtesy of Henrico County)

A half century after their father developed it, a brother-and-sister team is leading a multimillion-dollar effort to bring a 1970s-era apartment complex into the 21st century.

Stacy Alexander Albanese

Colony Apartment Homes, led by Steven Alexander and Stacy Alexander Albanese, is in the midst of a renovation of its Gateway Apartments that’s set to culminate with a new five-story building at its main entrance along Parham Road.

The new building will consist of four floors of apartments above about 15,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. It will rise in place of an existing apartment building, clubhouse, pool and tennis court, which will also be replaced with a new clubhouse with a rooftop terrace, pool and reconfigured parking.

The company also is about three-fourths of the way through with renovations of the rest of Gateway’s townhome-style apartments, which are receiving interior refreshes and exterior upgrades including new siding and roofs.

The multipronged effort marks a new chapter for Gateway, which Steven and Stacy’s father – Alexander Alexander – developed and built in the early 1970s. The family patriarch died in 2009, leaving his children to continue the Henrico-based company that manages 1,700 apartments across nine properties in the region, including the nearby Cloisters apartments.

Steven Alexander

Steven Alexander, Colony’s president, said the Gateway enhancements were spurred in part by the redevelopment of the nearby Regency mall, where apartments are being added. He also noted reinvestments in other area properties, such as the laboratory conversion of the former Toys ‘R’ Us store on Quioccasin Road.

“As Regency has come up and down and now up again, we felt like the demographic of Henrico and the Regency corridor was changing and improving. People were coming back to the West End from Short Pump, because of traffic and other things, and there’s been a lot of redevelopment,” Alexander said.

“We’ve maintained the property since it was built, and now it’s aged,” he added. “It’s always rented very well, just because of its location. But after being built in the ’70s, it needed a freshening. We got 40 years out of the 30-year siding.”

For the redevelopment, at 1648 N. Parham Road, Colony secured a provisional-use permit from Henrico County in early March 2020, at the dawn of the pandemic. Alexander said COVID’s impacts and supply chain challenges will require the project to be rebid, leaving its scheduled start up in the air. A development plan for the project goes before the Planning Commission this week.

Plans call for the existing clubhouse and an adjacent 20-unit apartment building to be razed and replaced with the new clubhouse and mixed-use building, which will total 80 apartments. Half of those will be two-bedroom units and the rest split between one-bedrooms and studios.

The townhome-style units are being renovated with new siding and roofs and refreshed interiors. (Photo courtesy Colony Apartment Homes)

The apartments will range in size from 400 square feet for the studios to between 700 and 1,000 square feet for the larger units. Alexander said rents for the new units have not been set but would be higher than the rest of Gateway’s apartments, which rent from $850 to $1,250 a month.

The new building’s ground-floor will include a 1,600-square-foot lobby flanked by two commercial spaces — one 9,700 square feet, and the other 4,700 square feet. Alexander said the spaces would be for “light commercial” uses such as a salon, florist or a foods-to-go business.

The redevelopment would include a new 2,500-square-foot clubhouse, a pool and 82 parking spaces for residents. An additional 40 parking spaces for the commercial users would line the front Parham.

The Gateway Apartments were built in the 1970s. (Michael Schwartz photo)

Alexander put the cost of the redevelopment at $16 million. He said the renovations to the rest of the complex total $2.5 million.

Baskervill designed the new building and clubhouse, and Townes Site Engineering drew up plans for the project. Hirschler attorney Jim Theobald represented Colony in its permit application.

With the loss of 20 units but the addition of 80 with the new building, Gateway’s total unit count would increase from 202 currently to 262. Alexander said Gateway’s existing units are at about 95 percent occupancy.

Renovations were visible at Gateway Apartments this week. (Michael Schwartz photo)

Alexander said the updates will bring the apartments into a new era. He said Gateway, which was built around the time Regency opened, was one of the first “singles-only” rental communities in the area.

“Of course, we can’t do that now, with fair housing and all of that,” Alexander said. “But it was legal way back then and it had a reputation of being the hip, young, professional apartment complex.”

He added, “It’s been around for a long time. I don’t want to say it was a swinging singles place. But in the day, it was very popular.”

A rendering of the five-story apartment building planned as part of a redevelopment of part of Gateway Apartments. The new building will include ground-floor commercial space. (Image courtesy of Henrico County)

A half century after their father developed it, a brother-and-sister team is leading a multimillion-dollar effort to bring a 1970s-era apartment complex into the 21st century.

Stacy Alexander Albanese

Colony Apartment Homes, led by Steven Alexander and Stacy Alexander Albanese, is in the midst of a renovation of its Gateway Apartments that’s set to culminate with a new five-story building at its main entrance along Parham Road.

The new building will consist of four floors of apartments above about 15,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. It will rise in place of an existing apartment building, clubhouse, pool and tennis court, which will also be replaced with a new clubhouse with a rooftop terrace, pool and reconfigured parking.

The company also is about three-fourths of the way through with renovations of the rest of Gateway’s townhome-style apartments, which are receiving interior refreshes and exterior upgrades including new siding and roofs.

The multipronged effort marks a new chapter for Gateway, which Steven and Stacy’s father – Alexander Alexander – developed and built in the early 1970s. The family patriarch died in 2009, leaving his children to continue the Henrico-based company that manages 1,700 apartments across nine properties in the region, including the nearby Cloisters apartments.

Steven Alexander

Steven Alexander, Colony’s president, said the Gateway enhancements were spurred in part by the redevelopment of the nearby Regency mall, where apartments are being added. He also noted reinvestments in other area properties, such as the laboratory conversion of the former Toys ‘R’ Us store on Quioccasin Road.

“As Regency has come up and down and now up again, we felt like the demographic of Henrico and the Regency corridor was changing and improving. People were coming back to the West End from Short Pump, because of traffic and other things, and there’s been a lot of redevelopment,” Alexander said.

“We’ve maintained the property since it was built, and now it’s aged,” he added. “It’s always rented very well, just because of its location. But after being built in the ’70s, it needed a freshening. We got 40 years out of the 30-year siding.”

For the redevelopment, at 1648 N. Parham Road, Colony secured a provisional-use permit from Henrico County in early March 2020, at the dawn of the pandemic. Alexander said COVID’s impacts and supply chain challenges will require the project to be rebid, leaving its scheduled start up in the air. A development plan for the project goes before the Planning Commission this week.

Plans call for the existing clubhouse and an adjacent 20-unit apartment building to be razed and replaced with the new clubhouse and mixed-use building, which will total 80 apartments. Half of those will be two-bedroom units and the rest split between one-bedrooms and studios.

The townhome-style units are being renovated with new siding and roofs and refreshed interiors. (Photo courtesy Colony Apartment Homes)

The apartments will range in size from 400 square feet for the studios to between 700 and 1,000 square feet for the larger units. Alexander said rents for the new units have not been set but would be higher than the rest of Gateway’s apartments, which rent from $850 to $1,250 a month.

The new building’s ground-floor will include a 1,600-square-foot lobby flanked by two commercial spaces — one 9,700 square feet, and the other 4,700 square feet. Alexander said the spaces would be for “light commercial” uses such as a salon, florist or a foods-to-go business.

The redevelopment would include a new 2,500-square-foot clubhouse, a pool and 82 parking spaces for residents. An additional 40 parking spaces for the commercial users would line the front Parham.

The Gateway Apartments were built in the 1970s. (Michael Schwartz photo)

Alexander put the cost of the redevelopment at $16 million. He said the renovations to the rest of the complex total $2.5 million.

Baskervill designed the new building and clubhouse, and Townes Site Engineering drew up plans for the project. Hirschler attorney Jim Theobald represented Colony in its permit application.

With the loss of 20 units but the addition of 80 with the new building, Gateway’s total unit count would increase from 202 currently to 262. Alexander said Gateway’s existing units are at about 95 percent occupancy.

Renovations were visible at Gateway Apartments this week. (Michael Schwartz photo)

Alexander said the updates will bring the apartments into a new era. He said Gateway, which was built around the time Regency opened, was one of the first “singles-only” rental communities in the area.

“Of course, we can’t do that now, with fair housing and all of that,” Alexander said. “But it was legal way back then and it had a reputation of being the hip, young, professional apartment complex.”

He added, “It’s been around for a long time. I don’t want to say it was a swinging singles place. But in the day, it was very popular.”

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Rob hargett
Rob hargett
2 months ago

So glad to see reinvestment in the Regency district. Henrico County made this happen through its support of the Regency redevelopment. It’s great to be a part of this and even better to have a county that offers opportunities for all to grow.

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
2 months ago

I find this a very intersting project that they are replacing 20 units of housing with 80 units and a 2 story building with a 5 story building. I really think this is the future for a lot of old two story apartment buildings in areas with rising rents.

They need to build a section of sidewalk along Parharm Road and Fargo Road and Staring Drive.

James Marsden
James Marsden
2 months ago

Now if we could just get some sidewalks around Regency / Parham corridor, then we’ll be talking!

Connie Nielsen
Connie Nielsen
2 months ago

I am really excited to see Gateway reinvest in its property as the Regency district continue to evolve. Parham Road is a true beltway through the city and with its connectivity it is prime for new investment in housing and the redevelopment of older residential and commercial alike.