After a few years off, Josh Bilder is ready to build again.
The local developer behind Sterling Bilder LLC is back for his latest project in Church Hill, this time planning to convert a vacant building at 2211 Jefferson Ave. into a mixed-use project.
Located at the intersection of East Clay Street and Jefferson Avenue, the project is in familiar territory for Bilder. Two of his more prominent projects are the renovation of the nearby East End Theater into 22 apartments above restaurant Liberty Public House, and Patrick Henry Square, another mixed-use conversion, this one of a former auto garage.
Bilder said he’s using the Jefferson Avenue project as a reentry into the game.
“It’s in the very beginning stages,” Bilder said. “I’m excited to get this one started.”
A 900-square-foot commercial structure currently stands on the land, though it’s been vacant for decades, Bilder said. He said he believes it had once been a long-time candy store before becoming a laundromat.
“We’ll try to save as much as we can, but the building is severely deteriorated,” he said. “We’re saving some architectural elements of the building but most of it will be taken down.”
In its place will rise a two-story commercial space, and behind that a three-story townhome is planned. Bilder said the townhome might also include a commercial element on the ground floor, noting potential office uses. The project will span a total of around 3,900 square feet.
City records show Bilder bought the 0.07-acre parcel for $59,000 in 2013. After nearly 10 years, Bilder said momentum in the neighborhood as well as in the city helped motivate him to act on the project.
“I just saw what’s going on in the rest of the neighborhood, and I consider this project a gateway to Church Hill,” he said. “And with the culture of the city, it’s much more pro-development than it was in the past.”
Brooklyn-based Sebastian Quinn Building Workshop is the project’s architect. Bilder said he’s hoping to begin work this fall.
“I’m going to take a dive on this one and hopefully do some more in the future,” he said.
A few blocks east, work continues on Matt Jarreau and Daniil Kleyman’s mixed-use project at 2416 Jefferson Ave., which will bring 21 apartments plus commercial space occupied by a noodle bar, ice cream shop and more.