70-unit addition, new homes planned as part of senior apartments renovation near Church Hill

The former Bacon School building at 815 N. 35th St. was converted to senior housing in the mid-1990s. (Photo courtesy of City of Richmond)

As it prepares to renovate one former school it converted to senior housing in the Church Hill area, a local real estate group is looking to more than double the size of a similarly converted property it manages just a few blocks away.

Plans have been filed for a 70-unit addition to the Bacon Retirement Community in the city’s Chimborazo area. The addition, which would be tied to a renovation of the building at 815 N. 35th St., would bring Bacon’s total unit count to 129 income-based apartments.

The three-story addition would extend off the building’s northeast corner, enclosing the main entrance and parking area off of O Street. A requested special-use permit to allow the project would also reconfigure the parking and access, and add eight new townhomes and three detached homes beside the existing one- and three-story building.

Louis Salomonsky

Behind the proposal is Louis Salomonsky, who redeveloped the former city school in the mid-1990s and manages the property’s ownership entity, Bacon Housing LP. The property is managed by Main Street Realty, the leasing and property management arm of the Historic Housing development firm Salomonsky founded with business partner David White.

Main Street Realty also manages the nearby Bowler Retirement Community, which Salomonsky likewise redeveloped and is planning to renovate. While that project doesn’t involve an addition to the building, it similarly includes new townhomes to be built on part of the property, with Daniil Kleyman’s Evolve Development lined up to build those homes.

Kleyman, who himself is planning more than 100 apartments a few blocks south, said he isn’t involved in the Bacon project.

Brian White, who runs Main Street Realty, declined to comment on the project before it’s heard by the City Council. The case was scheduled to go before the council last week but was amended and continued for three months.

The Planning Commission had previously recommended approval. Nearby property owners and the Church Hill Central Civic Association had expressed concerns about the project’s density and potential variability through the approval process, as well as the number of income-based units and preservation of greenspace.

Plans submitted to the city show the addition would involve an adjacent 0.3-acre parcel at 823 N. 36th St. that is under the same ownership. The two parcels, totaling about 3.5 acres, were purchased in the mid-1990s for $312,000 combined. The city most recently assessed the parcels at $2.4 million.

The 59 existing units would be renovated with new interior finishes, and the parking would be reconfigured with 57 spaces between the buildings and O Street. The plans state that exterior finishes and other aspects of the project would be finalized with city staff following approval of the permit.

A site plan shows the 70-unit addition off the northeast corner of the existing building, with eight new townhomes and three detached home lots on the south side of the property. (City documents)

The new townhomes would be grouped in two sets of four and front an existing alley, which would be improved. The three detached homes would be accessed off 37th Street. The plans state that one of the detached homes is earmarked as income-based housing, while the rest would be market-rate.

Salomonsky’s SWA Architects is designing the project. Mark Kronenthal, a local attorney with Roth Jackson, is providing representation to the city.

The Bacon School project would add to a surge of activity from Salomonsky in recent months. Site work is underway on the 12-story apartment tower he’s developing at the former Weiman’s Bakery property in Shockoe Bottom. He’s also floating a residential tower at Gaskins Road and Patterson Avenue in western Henrico County.

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Don O'Keefe
Don O'Keefe
13 days ago

A dreadful and unimaginative site plan with lots of parking exposed to the street.

Jeffrey P Miller
Jeffrey P Miller
13 days ago

These are seniors that live here, they need what green space they can get and this looks like it totally squeezes them in. It also puts those big, beautiful trees along the border of the park in serious danger, and that park needs the shade/natural border there. The surrounding neighborhood, except for the senior apts., is single-family homes. Bonkers for the council to allow this guy to squeeze seniors to cram in more units when the infrastructure is stretched as thin as it is, it’s out of character with the surrounding neighborhood, and it removes ever-dwindling and irreplaceable green space.

Bob Jenkins
Bob Jenkins
13 days ago

Amazing! Loving all the improvements being made around Richmond – more great news