Work starts on apartments atop Shockoe’s Buffalo Wild Wings

A rendering of the redesigned apartments planned above part of Fulton Hill Properties’ Canal Crossing complex. (City of Richmond document images)

Correction: The cost of the addition is projected at $7.7 million. An earlier version of this story reported a smaller figure that represented only one part of the project. 

With a redesigned look and the approval of Richmond’s Commission of Architectural Review, a project that will add dozens of apartments above part of the Canal Crossing complex in the Shockoe area is getting underway.

Fulton Hill Properties, which developed and owns the two-building complex along 15th Street between Cary and Dock streets, has started work on a two-story addition atop the former tobacco warehouse that houses Buffalo Wild Wings.

The addition will house 44 studio apartments ranging from about 560 to 800 square feet. The units will include balconies and enclose a central courtyard with walkways and a glass atrium.

Work is underway on the roof of the former tobacco warehouse that now houses a Buffalo Wild Wings. (Jonathan Spiers photo)

Redesigned since the project was first submitted to CAR in early 2019, the apartments are set to feature a more metallic-looking façade than the multi-colored appearance originally proposed. The change is one of several that were made in response to feedback from CAR over the course of three review sessions.

Where the previous façade appeared to work off the appearance of the taller Canal Crossing building at the corner of 15th and Dock, the approved façade more closely resembles the warehouse building below, with a rust red pop of color intended to match nearby brick buildings, according to presentations that were given to CAR.

The addition of apartments above established commercial buildings is not new to Fulton Hill. The firm, led by developer Margaret Freund, undertook a similar project when it added 12 apartments on top of the Glavé & Holmes Architecture building at 21st and Main streets, expanding Fulton Hills’ adjacent Haxall View apartments.

A comparable Fulton Hill project added 12 apartments above the Glavé & Holmes Architecture building a few blocks away. (BizSense file photo)

“It’s like free land if you can put apartments on it and you already own it,” Freund said Tuesday, adding that the project benefits from more than 300 parking spaces that Fulton Hill owns adjacent to the building.

Margaret Freund

“I think mixed-use is really beneficial when you have parking, because you have daytime and nighttime parkers,” she said.

Freund put the project cost at $7.7 million. A building permit lists the contractor as DCMC Consulting LLC, an entity registered to Michael Allshouse Sr., Fulton Hill’s vice president of construction.

Poole & Poole Architecture designed the addition. Speight Marshall Francis is the structural engineer, and ONeil Engineering Services is handling mechanical, electrical and plumbing work. Roth Jackson attorney Jennifer Mullen represented Fulton Hill in its requests to CAR.

According to meeting minutes, CAR’s members remained divided over the project’s design, ultimately voting 4-2 to approve the project with conditions such as simplified materials on the exterior. Some commissioners repeated requests for a greater setback from the existing building, but Freund told the commission that doing so would take away from the central courtyard amenity.

The project will include an 1,100-square-foot clubroom and 860-square-foot fitness room, along with the apartments, which will be split with 22 units on each floor, plans show. Freund said the construction will include a rooftop meeting space and two outdoor meeting rooms for Canal Crossing’s office tenants, who would also have access to the fitness room.

The new construction will include a rooftop meeting space for Canal Crossing’s office tenants. (Image courtesy Fulton Hill Properties)

Describing the apartments as “workforce housing,” Freund said rents would be determined closer to the project’s completion, which she anticipates within 12 months.

“Rents around there have already surpassed what I modeled them at before COVID,” Freund said. “They’ll fit the parameters of workforce housing, because there’s not that many of them. They’re not big units. I think they will provide some good workforce housing.”

Freund also noted the site’s proximity to the Pulse rapid-transit bus line, the train lines through Main Street Station, and the canal walk. The site is also adjacent to the Virginia Capital Trail.

Fencing for the project was erected around the building in recent weeks.

Freund developed Canal Crossing in 2002, rehabbing the two-story former warehouse and connecting it via an atrium to the neighboring five-story building, which dates back to 1916 and was one of several buildings formerly owned by Philip Morris.

The apartments addition is the latest project for Fulton Hill, which in recent years wrapped up its $40 million Artisan Hill development. In addition to Canal Crossing and Haxall View, Freund’s historic rehabs over three decades in the city include the Bottoms Up Pizza building, the former Flood Zone/Have a Nice Day Café building, the Lava Lofts apartments and the Lady Byrd Hat building.

Meanwhile, Freund, who now resides at Artisan Hill and also keeps a home in Colorado, recently sold her longtime residence overlooking Libby Hill Park. The $1.4 million sale tied for fifth place among the region’s priciest residential real estate sales in February.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
24 days ago

Margaret has a knack for finding the development opportunity that others look past. Take these two examples for instance: why build apartments that require 1st floor retail or office when you can buy that existing use and build apartments above it? Who else has been doing that? The two conversions of the Lady Hat were remarkable, first as a night club, then as high end cool office space. Her Fulton Hill development has been a tremendous addition to the East side of the City. The woman has a knack for urban development.

Michael P Morgan-Dodson
Michael P Morgan-Dodson
23 days ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

Well she also a stopped redevelopment of the last section of the old Reynolds factory by her Lady Byrd building and if I recall her proposal for City Stadium crashed and burned hard. It has not all been a bed of roses and groups of humming birds around her ideas.

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
24 days ago

Anyone lose a building? I think you dropped It. I found it. It’s on top of this one.

Brian Glass
Brian Glass
23 days ago

Margaret Freund is creativity in Richmond has been superb from the time she converted the school in Fulton Hill to the latest project. Bruce Milam is spot on regarding his comments.