20-story apartment tower, 6-story office building planned for Southern States silos site

A rendering of the planned redevelopment project to replace Manchester’s Southern States silos, with the 20-story apartment tower to the east. (Image courtesy of Hourigan Development)

A clearer view of the plan to replace Manchester’s Southern States silos has come to light and it includes the tallest new-construction residential building the city has seen in recent years.

Hourigan Development is aiming to build a 20-story apartment tower as well as a 6-story office building at 2-4 Manchester Road.

The 65-year-old silos that currently stand on the 2.2-acre site would be razed to make way for the project. Hourigan has been working on the planning since summer 2020, but details on the project’s exact usage have remained scant until now.

“We really spent a lot of time getting the design right, understanding the market, and trying to make sure we’re filling the right niche. We think we are,” said Mark Hourigan, the firm’s founder and CEO.

Joseph Marchetti III, president of development at Hourigan, said they had mixed-use in mind from the start.

“From early conceptuals, the plan was always to try to create a site that had energy around it all throughout the day,” Marchetti said. “I think what we’ve been able to come up with here, from a design standpoint, is going to create a nice vibrancy.”

The apartment tower would include about 290 units, many of which would be one-bedroom totaling between around 750 to 850 square feet. Amenities would include a rooftop pool and bar, coworking spaces and an outdoor terrace.

At 20 stories, Hourigan’s tower would be taller than some other planned high-rises in the neighborhood, including Avery Hall’s planned pair of 17-story apartment towers to the west and the 14-story South Falls I tower from Fountainhead Real Estate Development and WVS Cos. to the east.

The Southern States silos have been vacant for years. (Mike Platania photo)

The apartments would be flanked by a 130,000-square-foot office building that would also include 11,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.

In lieu of standard wood or steel framing, the office building is planned to be built with cross-laminated timber, a type of framing that uses pieces of lumber glued together. Hourigan said they used CLT for Apex Plaza, a 265,000-square-foot office building in Charlottesville they recently completed. He credits the aesthetic and sustainability perks of CLT in helping get that project over 90 percent leased.

“As a tenant, you can leave as much of that structure exposed as you want. The building itself has this warmth – you see the wood columns, wood beams, the wood ceiling above because it’s the floor of the structure above,” Hourigan said. “Office use is not going away, it just may be repositioned slightly. What we are seeing is a real draw to sustainable offices like (those made with) CLT.”

Marchetti said they’ve received interest in the early days of marketing the office space but are not ready to announce any tenants yet. JLL has the listing on the office space.

As for the commercial space, Marchetti said he could envision similar uses as the restaurants and retailers that have been popping up in recent years along the Hull Street corridor.

Kahler Slater is the project’s architect and Timmons Group the engineer. Hourigan’s in-house construction arm will be the general contractor.

Over the summer the property was transferred to an entity that includes Hourigan. Last summer the City Council approved a rezoning request for the project, and Marchetti said their site plan is currently under review with the city.

Demolition on the silos, which have sat dormant for years, will begin later this year as Hourigan looks to go vertical in the second quarter of 2023.

Of the silos, Hourigan said, “There really is no practical or aesthetic reason you’d want to try and reuse those, versus trying to create a new look on the skyline and move Richmond further along its development path.”

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
12 days ago

The Manchester skyline is picking up some momentum.Everyday a new project emerges.I’m still awaiting the final design and construction starting date for the 26 story CoStar tower on the North Bank of the James.

Mark White
Mark White
12 days ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

Yeah…I cant wait for that to go vertical as well. More importantly for me…I’m curious as to what’s going to be the future of the empty Dominion lot…now that we have a 20 story residential here, I’m hoping someone gets smart and use that empty lot for a 30+ story residential tower.

Last edited 12 days ago by Mark White
Will Willis
Will Willis
12 days ago

I hope they extend the flood wall walk from it’s current termination point all the way across 14th street/Hull street to the end of the wall to the west. Maybe even pave it or brick it with some nice street lamps on it would be amazing to have that in front of all those developments as an activity/scenic walking. Example like Tampa River Walk, Chicago’s River Walk, Savanah River Walk in front of the JW Marriot. Then find someone to restore the canal on the Manchester side to mimic the canal walk on the north side then finally book end… Read more »

Barry Greene
Barry Greene
12 days ago
Reply to  Will Willis

This is the true potential of our riverfront. I’d like to add that the canal could see San Antonio level’s of tourism if mirrored correctly. OKC also has an incredible canal to model after.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
12 days ago
Reply to  Will Willis

It would be great if they placed any parking deck between the building and the flood wall with a plaza connected to the flood wall walk on top. Essentially creating a riverfront plaza.

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
11 days ago
Reply to  David Humphrey

Yes, this is the lack of creativity I speak of in other comments. The space between the flood wall and building is useless… Focus the building on the Canal at the lower levels, activate the canal, like the afore mentioned examples. Developer wins, they have leasable space on the lower level, and active canal and a parking structure, hidden from view. (there is no flood wall walk on top, the wall is about 24″ thick here), but the deck roof top can contain a plaza, pool, etc…

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
11 days ago
Reply to  Will Willis

Just an FYI, the flood wall walk does extend past 14th street/Hull, and in fact all the way to Maury/Brander, which than links to Ancrrows landing, and is part of the Slave trail, I highly recommend it. Could it use improvement yes. Should it take precedent from locations you suggest, yes. The canal on south side, has the opportunity to be much better than the north side, but only if thoughtful developers, or strong guidance/regulation from the City enables it. The development opportunities in Manchester along the canal are much greater than north but are disappearing quickly, with lack of… Read more »

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
12 days ago

The new buildings look nice, but It’s a shame the lack of imagination. Those Silos are an icon on the skyline. Driving south on 95, they welcome you to the “Southern States” No need to reimagine the skyline, just add to it, not take it down. Lots of options a google search away…https://www.enr.com/articles/43225-renovationrestoration-merit-neighborhood-silos-adaptive-reuse-classroom-building

Justin Reynolds
Justin Reynolds
12 days ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

“There really is no practical or aesthetic reason you’d want to try and reuse those, versus trying to create a new look on the skyline and move Richmond further along its development path.” I couldn’t have said it any better.

Julian Stein
Julian Stein
12 days ago

They could have done an adaptive reuse of the silos and incorporated it into the office building. They told their architect to find as many right angles as they could to make a building. It just looks like an office park in northern Virginia. If they’re spending 50-65ms they have more flexibility with the design.

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
12 days ago

Don’t get me wrong, I like the building designed… but just because the unimaginative developer/designer states they cant find a reason doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist… I just gave a strong aesthetic reason… Millions of drivers see this silo as a gateway to the south as they drive on 95s… an announcement you have arrived. It’s a nod to the historically industrial use of the neighborhood. Practical reasons are have been found by many others as re-use for apartments/condos, Use them as the vertical circulation element in a new high rise added to it. You can have both.

Eric Viking
Eric Viking
12 days ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

Driven past these silos over 100 times going south on I-95 and not once did I see the silos as a “welcome” to the south…or the southern states.

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
12 days ago
Reply to  Eric Viking

I appreciate your observation. I’ve driven past these 1000 times and always feel like I’ve reached the beginning of the south. A gateway – outside of the sphere of NOVA, and the Northeast and entered an area more connected to a southern culture.

Ralph Marerro
Ralph Marerro
11 days ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

By the time you get to Richmond you’re already over 100 miles deep into the south. These silos should be relocated further north.

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
11 days ago
Reply to  Ralph Marerro

Have you been to Northern Virginia… not much southern about that… Also, technically the Mason Dixon line is the demarcation, which is about 195 miles by car.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
11 days ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

The new Mason Dixon line is now in Petersburg — you can order “Half-Sweet Tea” at certain Restaurants there, so people have the option to be somewhat healthy. There’s even a Thai place.

But, the city is still littered with people trying to keep the past alive!! Hooray!!

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
11 days ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

It’s not an attractive gateway — it makes the “South” look ugly and obsolete.

Next these people will be saying we need to save the Historic Sewage Treatment plant.

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
11 days ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

Currently yes. Take a quick google search there are some fantastic very well done examples. Just needs some imagination, which is lacking here. https://inhabitat.com/abandoned-grain-elevator-transformed-into-a-bustling-mixed-use-space-in-baltimore/

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
10 days ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

Oh, I see — sure, you spend enough money, whatever is interesting can be made a feature of a much larger building — okay, that is possible, and even desirable if there are features that are interesting enough and can be used with utility — that’s all true — imagine what could be done with the Collusium in Rome for example. Question is: are there enough interesting features in the RICHMOND silos (there are wide distinctions and, as I have stated elsewhere, certain cities like Buffalo have much more history and importance as “Mill Cities” than Richmond and hence have… Read more »

Lee Thomas
Lee Thomas
12 days ago

Adaptive reuse offers the chance to create something interesting and more unique while preserving a bit of the history of the neighborhood. The finished product will almost automatically look better than the abandoned structure it reuses. Look up Silo Point in Baltimore, or just Google “Grain Elevator Conversion” or Grain Silo Apartments” – there’s a chance to make something with far more character than another glass box.

(I always thought the outside of these things could make an amazing rock climbing wall/facility, lol, but I doubt that’s anywhere near the highest and best use)

Justin W Ranson
Justin W Ranson
12 days ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

Ugly isn’t a strong enough term for the eyesore that is those silos, and the area surrounding them. We can’t just keep stuff because it’s old enough to qualify for social security. Some things are better off gone.

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
12 days ago

Your lack of imagination and vision beyond the current condition is blinding you.

Ryan Wood
Ryan Wood
12 days ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

Va isn’t the south bud. Cross over to NC and you have arrived. These silos are an eyesore to the city.

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
11 days ago
Reply to  Ryan Wood

Technically chief, the Mason Dixon is the demarcation line. I’d advise not telling native Richmonder’s they aren’t in the south.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
11 days ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

Actually, it is my experience that many native Richmonders are not exactly proud of the appelation — but there are many who are not from the South that like thinking of it as the South. Then, there are those many who WISH it was “still” the “South” but lament that it is no longer. The South is funny — Certainly the M-D line is totally irrelevant — Chevy Chase MD??? Certainly Baltimore has southern HISTORY, but even during the age of John Wilkes Booth’s famous father the area was rather ambivalent to slavery and resembled in many ways an ambitious… Read more »

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
11 days ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

Actually my experience is the opposite. Many Marylanders will protest your observation as wood many Richmonders. Many are very proud of their southern heritage, restaurants proudly serve variations of southern food, the recent battle over the monuments and southern culture are still at the forefront. It is evolving? Yes and for the better as is much of the south.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
10 days ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

I think an honest and comprehensive assessment would be that there is an increasing diversity of sentiments and I will not give weight to any subjective preferences (esp since I am sympathetic to the good I see in ALL of them) but rather what I tend to hear about in the Richmond metro proper which tends to be increasingly not concordant with Mencken’s Sahara of the Bozart — which can be most charitably described as a sort of Zen-like complacency when it is not deluded with ideas of baseless superiority (such as the idea that Jefferson was a great architect… Read more »

Ralph Marerro
Ralph Marerro
4 days ago
Reply to  Ryan Wood

Don’t know anyone with a thinking-size brain who wouldn’t consider Richmond or anywhere in Va below the Rapp, “the south”. North Carolina is the more modern state and if that is a metric for anything useful here, it’s less southern than Virginia.

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
12 days ago

This 20 story building looks cool this will at least bring in several hundred thousand plus dollars in tax revenue for the city.

But I’m also glad Richmond is getting some 20 story tall buildings rather then dozens of those boring 5 story apartment buildings.

I think they should use steel and concrete for the building due to it being so close to the river due to humidly and flooding and fires and termites. and beavers.

Justin W Ranson
Justin W Ranson
12 days ago

The process used in making cross laminated timber makes it less susceptible to warping and swelling because of humidity. They’re using it in Austin TX and their average yearly humidity levels are way worse than RVA.

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
12 days ago
  • The average annual percentage of humidity is: 67% for Austin TX
  • The average annual percentage of humidity is: 70% for Richmond

Also Richmond humidity varies by 17%, compared to 7%. Variation is worse than a stable humidity condition. That being said, Laminated lumber is not an issue.

Last edited 12 days ago by Brett Themore
Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
11 days ago

Beavers! Thanks for that; made me smile.

Yes, I also lament the “Five story sameness” and, yes, as you imply there is literally a structural reason for this — code lets you do a lot with wood up to a certain point and steel has been expensive and often difficult to procure recently.

Angela Worris
Angela Worris
12 days ago

This glass window concept for the new design will be a danger to all the bird species on the river. Will there be something in place on all these windows to avoid vast amounts of bird strikes. Time to really consider the landscape of nature on the river. Thank you.

Susan Mossem
Susan Mossem
12 days ago
Reply to  Angela Worris

Some years ago I watched a show on PBS/VPM, I believe, regarding the reduction of bird deaths from flying into glass windows on skyscrapers,… One of the Max Planck Institute’s research centers in Germany created glass pane prototypes with some sort of internal filaments that mimicked spider webs. Supposedly, birds can detect spider webs when in flight and tend to avoid them. I have no idea if these panes have been manufactured and used in Germany or Europe, but it is certainly a wonderful idea to prevent bird deaths.

Flora Valdes-Dapena
Flora Valdes-Dapena
12 days ago

Beautiful. Love mass timber; excited to see more of it in the city. My only concerns with this are how they plan to connect it to the rest of the neighborhood, especially in terms of pedestrian access. I would also love to see fewer “luxury” amenities and more larger units; that’s what Richmond needs right now. I’m glad I don’t see any mention of a big, stupid parking garage though!

Last edited 12 days ago by Flora Valdes-Dapena
Lee Thomas
Lee Thomas
12 days ago

I can’t fathom why people overpay to live in an apartment building with a gym and some sort of club room/event space when you can get an equally nice apartment without a gym and get a membership at a much better gym for less money. I think the city would be a better place if developers were encouraged to make amenities ground floor and/or open to the paying public. I.e. Have a full service gym as part of the commercial component of the building, rather than a limited gym that few residents will use but everyone will have to overpay… Read more »

Last edited 12 days ago by Lee Thomas
Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
11 days ago
Reply to  Lee Thomas

Those type gyms are coming very soon to Richmond

Justin Fritch
Justin Fritch
11 days ago

The amenities are not typically adding much to the cost of the individual units but are built to help justify the cost of the overall development to the occupant. Adding a few square feet per unit typically adds significantly more cost per unit.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
11 days ago
Reply to  Justin Fritch

That was going to be my guess — cheaper to up the finish than up the space…

Stuart Thomas
Stuart Thomas
8 days ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

I think Flora and I are talking about overlapping but differen things. My comment is more about public space/shared use amenities. As far as I’m concerned, developers can put in stainless steel appliances and granite countertops or whatever people will pay a premium for – fine, whatever. But the shared amenities actually create a sort of gatekept private community away from the city at large. Putting in shared use amenities as a business proposition where everyone can use them for a price, making parking decks open to the paying public, etc. would contribute more to the city as a whole.… Read more »

John Lindner
John Lindner
12 days ago

Tall is good. But tall and interesting is better.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
11 days ago
Reply to  John Lindner

Yep! But interesting is DANGEROUS since not everyone likes many species of interesting — esp in places like Richmond!!` Richmond’s motto has long been “Safe” and when the building is not safely boring, and is sold as some form of “Contemporary” it is always some third rate example of something now out-of-fashion — like the Contemporary Museum of Space Debris —- one of the first things I was told upon moving here from a guy who grew up in NOVA was that Richmond was outright hostile to unique and innovative, and even contemporary — he lamented the closing of an… Read more »

Ricky Taylor
Ricky Taylor
11 days ago

Another 20-story building! Why not 45-story building?

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
11 days ago
Reply to  Ricky Taylor

Patience…. But, yes — I have been saying for almost 20 years now that SOMEONE should take a chance and buy a highly visible site and build THE iconic Richmond bldg —- not only would it be THE bldg that was seen and talked about from the busiest interstate in the USA, halfway, but you also would get an eyeful of it compared to, say, Philly. And it would also long DEFINE the skyline and maybe challenge others to think more impressively. I remember in the early 90s when Louis Vuitton was building a tower it had some cool features… Read more »