Former Grove Ave. assisted living facility to make way for 260-unit development

A 6-story building is planned to rise along Grove Avenue between Thompson Street and Interstate 195. (Images courtesy of city documents)

The site of a vacant assisted living facility in the Museum District is being targeted for the highest-density project the neighborhood has seen in recent years.

Georgia-based Flournoy Development Group is planning to build a 6-story, 260-unit apartment building at 3600 Grove Ave., according to plans filed with the city.

The 2.2-acre site is where Windsor Senior Living once operated for years offering assisted living and memory care. The building and business’ owner, Utah-based J. Fisher Cos., halted operations at the facility last year for repairs, while also fielding offers for the property.

It appears the repairs never began, and the property has been left unattended. A notice from the city’s Department of Planning & Development Review dated July 2022 is currently affixed to the building’s door, citing environmental code violations including obstruction of nearby sidewalks due to overgrown weeds.

A site plan for the project, which includes a nearly 400-spot parking deck to the north.

However, at some point Flournoy came calling. The development group now has the land under contract for purchase and is planning to raze the 60-bed facility for new construction.

Flournoy was founded in 1967 and counts over 230 projects in its portfolio, all of which are in the Southeast and Sun Belt regions. The Windsor project is its first in Richmond.

Flournoy vice president Tom Burr said in an email the company is “thrilled” to have the opportunity to plan and develop a Class A community in the Museum District.

The Grove Avenue project would include 189 one-bedroom units, 59 two-bedrooms and 12 studio apartments. It’s also set to include ground-floor space that could be used as either an amenity for residents or commercial space.

Plans also show a six-story, 390-space parking deck, courtyard, pool and rooftop lounge. Georgia-based Dynamik Design is the project’s architect.

Since halting operations, the senior living facility has fallen into disrepair. (Mike Platania photo)

Flournoy is seeking a special-use permit for the project. It is represented in the process by Mark Kronenthal of law firm Roth Jackson, who confirmed Flournoy has the land under contract. The land was most recently assessed by the city at $4.5 million.

Kronenthal said the project is in the early stages and that he and his client are looking forward to working with the city and Museum District Association on it. Included in Flournoy’s SUP application is a traffic impact study conducted by Timmons Group over the summer.

Flournoy’s SUP request is not yet listed on the Planning Commission agenda.

Elsewhere in the Museum District, Richmond-based SNP Properties’ request to redevelop the former Saint Gertrude’s campus at 3215 Stuart Ave. is scheduled to be heard by the Planning Commission at its Oct. 3 meeting. That project would see the former school buildings converted into 39 apartments.

A 6-story building is planned to rise along Grove Avenue between Thompson Street and Interstate 195. (Images courtesy of city documents)

The site of a vacant assisted living facility in the Museum District is being targeted for the highest-density project the neighborhood has seen in recent years.

Georgia-based Flournoy Development Group is planning to build a 6-story, 260-unit apartment building at 3600 Grove Ave., according to plans filed with the city.

The 2.2-acre site is where Windsor Senior Living once operated for years offering assisted living and memory care. The building and business’ owner, Utah-based J. Fisher Cos., halted operations at the facility last year for repairs, while also fielding offers for the property.

It appears the repairs never began, and the property has been left unattended. A notice from the city’s Department of Planning & Development Review dated July 2022 is currently affixed to the building’s door, citing environmental code violations including obstruction of nearby sidewalks due to overgrown weeds.

A site plan for the project, which includes a nearly 400-spot parking deck to the north.

However, at some point Flournoy came calling. The development group now has the land under contract for purchase and is planning to raze the 60-bed facility for new construction.

Flournoy was founded in 1967 and counts over 230 projects in its portfolio, all of which are in the Southeast and Sun Belt regions. The Windsor project is its first in Richmond.

Flournoy vice president Tom Burr said in an email the company is “thrilled” to have the opportunity to plan and develop a Class A community in the Museum District.

The Grove Avenue project would include 189 one-bedroom units, 59 two-bedrooms and 12 studio apartments. It’s also set to include ground-floor space that could be used as either an amenity for residents or commercial space.

Plans also show a six-story, 390-space parking deck, courtyard, pool and rooftop lounge. Georgia-based Dynamik Design is the project’s architect.

Since halting operations, the senior living facility has fallen into disrepair. (Mike Platania photo)

Flournoy is seeking a special-use permit for the project. It is represented in the process by Mark Kronenthal of law firm Roth Jackson, who confirmed Flournoy has the land under contract. The land was most recently assessed by the city at $4.5 million.

Kronenthal said the project is in the early stages and that he and his client are looking forward to working with the city and Museum District Association on it. Included in Flournoy’s SUP application is a traffic impact study conducted by Timmons Group over the summer.

Flournoy’s SUP request is not yet listed on the Planning Commission agenda.

Elsewhere in the Museum District, Richmond-based SNP Properties’ request to redevelop the former Saint Gertrude’s campus at 3215 Stuart Ave. is scheduled to be heard by the Planning Commission at its Oct. 3 meeting. That project would see the former school buildings converted into 39 apartments.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
2 months ago

Its time something is done on that site and this is a very attractive elevation. As a neighbor, I find the large parking deck to be a very attractive feature. I wish success for Flournoy. What’s become of the proposed hotel on the north side of the Floyd Avenue ramp facing Thompson Street. That appears to have disappeared without a whisper.

Justin Reynolds
Justin Reynolds
2 months ago

This is a great project to grow the residential population in an area that has little to no developable land left and where apartment demand is high. This property has never been well maintained the past 20 years and I’m hopeful this will change that while bringing in new life.

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
2 months ago

Glad to see something happing here. Like the design, and incorporation of a parking deck but wow, this is way out of the underlying zoning. R-48 limits 50% lot coverage and open space requirements, requires setbacks, and a 35′ max height. This appears to have virtually full lot coverage, no, or minimal setbacks, and almost double the height. It appears to completely ignore the neighborhood character and zoning. Great windfall for the developer if they can get it through.

Peter James
Peter James
2 months ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

“…appears to completely ignore the neigborhood character and zoning…” Respectfully, how so? No more so than Humphrey Calder or the Emmanual Baptist Church farther north on Thompson or the retail/shopping establishments farther south toward Carytown. The strip of properties along the west side of Thompson Street isn’t suitable for single-family detached housing (that some old-school folks might consider more “in character” with the neighborhood) if for no other reason than the entire stretch abuts the I-195 expressway. Zoning regs can be adapted and approval of the SUP should be a no-brainer. I see nothing inappropriate in the design or placement… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Peter James
Brett Themore
Brett Themore
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter James

“How so” you ask? As I stated above, but with the math figured out for you… the new construction (75′) is twice as high as allowed by zoning (35′) (note it’s not the current character but zoning) Existing zoning limits a lot coverage of 50%, the new appears to be closer to +75% coverage. Setback appear to have similar overreach. Nolli map much? The question here is should zoning be this significantly changed via the SUP use. Doubling the height and killing open space and setbacks is an egregious use of the SUP process. The special use as defined by… Read more »

Peter James
Peter James
2 months ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

First – thanks for actually presenting facts to support your position and not falling back on personal attacks against someone who has a different opinion (and a vastly different desired outcome) than you have. Very refreshing on these forums! 👍 Second: to your assertion that multi-family “high-density” development CAN occur on this site. I’m asking earnestly: at what parameters? What would satisfy your view of how a developer could build on this site? Re: profit motive: you do realize that this is a free-market, capitalist ecomomy, yes? And if a project is not worth the investment necessary to build, particularly… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Peter James
Brett Themore
Brett Themore
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter James

By the parameters set forth in the sites existing zoning (Division 9 Setion 30-416.1 – R-48 Multi Family residential.) This zoning is specifically for multi family and also allows Day Nurseries which was the existing use. It can be 35′ high (bonus height for setback) and 50% open space and 50% lot coverage, 25′ front yard, 15′ side and rear yards, are the highlights. Agreed, free market, that is why they asked to ignore the legal zoning with which they purchased the property, i mean why not, right, it’s minimal investment, maximum gains. However, it’s not a law free market,… Read more »

Boz Boschen
Boz Boschen
2 months ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

Brett, there was a presentation in the last planning commission meeting about “district level rezoning” by the city, which would highlight and illustrate the unique characteristics of each neighborhood and establish clear norms for by-right construction under new zoning. The timing wasn’t clear on when that process would kick off, but it makes sense given the open discussions around parking restrictions, short-term rentals, and accessory dwelling units. The Museum District is an oddity in being a historic district without the City Old & Historic protections, but instead a design overlay guideline that the Urban Design Committee oversees. The district wrote… Read more »

David M Gammino
David M Gammino
2 months ago

That is pretty insane density and scale for that neighborhood-and I say that as a developer.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
2 months ago

It’s amazing what can be done when you go up a little and don’t do surface parking.

Polgar Concertado
Polgar Concertado
2 months ago

I am all for the density – especially with the creative way they are masking the parking deck. The design looks really good, but doesn’t seem to be a fit the location – at all.

Justin Fritch
Justin Fritch
2 months ago

but doesn’t seem to be a fit the location – at all.

How so? The location is surrounded by a sunken highway, a decent sized apartment complex, and outdated office buildings.

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
2 months ago
Reply to  Justin Fritch

“How so” you ask, really?…see my note above, drive the area or use google maps street view. The adjacent neighborhood generally meets the underlying zoning or is under the zoning. Many are 1 story and have over 50% open space. I’m not sure how this 6 story, no open space, no setback development can be seen as fitting? But than again this is a business/developer/realtor/sales focused forum, so…

Justin Fritch
Justin Fritch
2 months ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

As a resident in the area, I am quite aware of the mostly 2 story single-family attached homes East and West of this strip, however, the land-use of the I-195 corridor has long been denser multi-family housing and commercial/office-space, especially both North and South of this site. If anything, this is creating better cohesion with the rest of the strip and helping to isolate the scar of I-195 from neighboring homes along Thompson.

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
2 months ago
Reply to  Justin Fritch

As a resident too, I assume you know zoning limits heights to 35′. No issues with dense multi-family, just stay within the lines we all agreed too when we purchased our properties. Note. The properties north/south all have significantly more open space compared with the new and are within the zoning regulations. SUP should be sought “In instances where it has been determined that underlying zoning regulations cannot be met, a special use permit may be granted by City Council to provide relief from zoning regulations.” A multi family dense building can be done within existing zoning, just not as… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Brett Themore
David Humphrey
David Humphrey
2 months ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

“No issues with dense multi-family, just stay within the lines we all agreed too when we purchased our properties.” If everything stayed the same zoning as when others bought surrounding property then everything would still be farmland. There is a reason that the process to change it includes public comment. You may comment, but it does not automatically have to stay the same.

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
2 months ago
Reply to  David Humphrey

Zoning was done in this area well after farmland, well after buildings were built. Try again. You do however support my argument. Change the zoning if it needs changed and do so within a neighborhood with thought. These one off SUPs set a precedent. Now every property owner should expect this kind of development rights on their property, I’ve seen it happen. That kind of density across every property would easily overwhelm services/infrastructure. Rezoning was a big push in the Richmond 300 plan and is happening in some parts of the city.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
2 months ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

It would still be farmland if the people who owned farmland next to where you live protested and said “It was zoned for farmland when I moved here.” But I guess it was ok to change the zoning at some point to build your property because you weren’t living there then and weren’t affected by the change. Nothing stays the same forever. The barn door to the SUP process being used this way was thrown open years and years ago. Likely well before you lived in that area. The precedence has already been set and that is partly why they… Read more »

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
2 months ago
Reply to  David Humphrey

Farmers protest quite a bit when a farm is lost and up zoned to sprawl. Zoning of farm land to a higher use is done in large areas in congruence with a masterplan and and in consideration of other larger growth in the area. Moved here 23 years ago, the SUP was much more restrained even 10 years ago. This is one of the more egregious ones I’ve seen. The ones I’ve done, and seen typically closely follow the masterplan (this one doesn’t), and solve a few particular difficulties in existing zoning, not used to just make a bigger project.… Read more »

Justin Reynolds
Justin Reynolds
2 months ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

“Open space” and complaining about SUPs are pretty typical of NIMBYs and they’re why we have today’s housing shortage. Most of our best old architecture in major cities was built before “open space” was a concept and it’s why todays architecture is mostly bland. I want more density in the area because it’ll help improve our housing shortage and it’ll lead to more property taxes. To say our infrastructure cannot support this development is crazy. Grove is 4 lanes right, Thompson is 3 lanes, and everyone who lives here would be within a few blocks of 4 grocery stores and… Read more »

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
2 months ago

Sorry, but open space is required by law… i.e. the zoning ordinance, just here simply asking that they play by the same rules I have to play by. This can still be a multi family, still dense, still converting from a non-residential use to a residential use, just a development closer to the legal zoning requirements. It would still be helping taxes and the housing crisis. NIMBY is far from why we have a housing crisis. Lastly to say that “open space” is the cause of bland architecture is in no way a logical argument. Some of the best architecture… Read more »

David Garvey
David Garvey
2 months ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

Although this proposal is more intense than the adjacent neighborhood, the site seems appropriate for a six story residential building considering that it is adjacent to 195 and located on the edge of the Museum District. It will also provide a transition and buffer between 195 and the adjacent neighborhood, which is relatively dense with two and three story apartment buildings and row houses. The city should also consider rezoning this part of the Museum District (between North Thomson Street and 195) for 6 story residential buildings. This area is appropriate for denser residential development, as it is within walking… Read more »

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
2 months ago
Reply to  David Garvey

Im fine with higher density, and if there were a site this is it. It can be higher density, and still meet most of the zoning regs. I agree 100% on affordable housing. I feel every construction over x size should be required to provide 5%-10% affordable hosing. As it stands, affordable hosing is continuing to be centralized in a crescent from northeast, around to the south east portions of the city, and god forbid in the county, where service work abounds. We continue to concentrate poverty, ignoring the lessons from the 60’s. This crescent area has the least number… Read more »

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
2 months ago

I really like how this will not cut down virgin forest or cover farm land. I think if they redid the sidewalks around it with 8 to 10 foot wide landscaped sidewalks it would look very good.

Flora Valdes-Dapena
Flora Valdes-Dapena
2 months ago

Here’s hoping the parking minimum is removed before they finalize the design! Would hate to see too much of that extremely confined space taken up by car storage. I’m excited to see more density in the Museum District.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
2 months ago

No parking means more need for public transit

Steven Gooch
Steven Gooch
2 months ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

Or more cars hunting for street parking in the neighborhood.

Christian Hutter
Christian Hutter
2 months ago

Maybe they could put more green space instead? What’s exciting about more density?

Brett Themore
Brett Themore
2 months ago

The zoning for this site requires 50% open space (Green space) and limits height to 35′. This proposal seeks to bypass that through the Special Use process. This would significantly increase the owners and developers value and profit on this site. Potentially, at the expense of the neighborhood character. Density generally increases tax revenue to the City and profits to the owners/developers.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
2 months ago
Reply to  Brett Themore

” neighborhood character” doesn’t keep the rain off young renter’s heads.

Luke Wells
Luke Wells
2 months ago

Car parking, not “storage,” is an issue. Currently, garages in alleys are being torn down to make way for housing. We don’t want to get to the point we need parking permits. We are already “dense,” we don’t need to go vertical, that would overshadow the character of our neighborhood and its architecture. With density comes crime.

Last edited 2 months ago by Luke Wells
Ed Christina
Ed Christina
2 months ago
Reply to  Luke Wells

With density comes crime.” So you’re saying Scotts Addition has more crime than the area around what used to be Jefferson Davis Highway?

Jackson Joyner
Jackson Joyner
2 months ago

So, you would rather have the cars on the street or on surface lots? I’m glad you are not in charge.

Luke Wells
Luke Wells
2 months ago

Just what we need, a 90 foot tall building and 520 cars, 130 of them parking on the street since there is parking only for 390 in its deck.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
2 months ago
Reply to  Luke Wells

Where do you get 520 cars? With only a limited number of two bedroom units I’m sure not all the units will need 2 cars.

Justin Dooley
Justin Dooley
2 months ago

My first thought is the traffic on Thompson is already terrible with narrow through lanes, short turn lanes, and poor signaling. Further North, the triangle where Kensington meets Patterson isn’t great either. No chance the city has plans to make improvements to that stretch any time soon. Looks like a nice project though.

Justin Reynolds
Justin Reynolds
2 months ago
Reply to  Justin Dooley

The only vehicle entrance and exit is off Grove Ave, and how is it terrible on Thompson? It gets busy at rush hour but for being in an urban neighborhood, it’s under capacity.

Justin Dooley
Justin Dooley
2 months ago

Specifically when driving north, drivers using the left lane to pass don’t realize the left lane terminates into a left turn only lane at grove so their options are to slam the brakes or swerve by the turning car in the right lane which is barely wide enough for a Yaris. Southbound isn’t much better. I suppose the new development wouldn’t add so many new car trips to make it that much worse.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
2 months ago

Actually there is an entrance/exit from the parking garage shown on Thompson.

Justin W Ranson
Justin W Ranson
2 months ago

It’s pretty clear the zoning in this area should be updated to the current reality. It abuts I-195, and the city proper is encroaching as it is, Just because a property is zoned a certain way doesn’t mean it should always stay that way in perpetuity, barring, of course, property marked specifically for conservation.

Boz Boschen
Boz Boschen
2 months ago

Justin, the whole neighborhood has a design overlay put into place in 1996: https://www.rva.gov/sites/default/files/Planning/PDFDocuments/PlanningPreservation/UDC/West%20of%20the%20Boulevard%20Design%20Guidelines.pdf. When the West of the Boulevard neighborhood was recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, all of the original structures were deemed significant contributions to the character. New construction is required to be viewed against the context of what’s existing, as outlined in the guidelines. I mentioned in a separate comment that in their last meeting the planning commission had a presentation on proposed rezoning at the district/neighborhood level to try to cut down on these issues and provide clearer guidance on the goals for… Read more »