Developer drops $7M for Manchester block

A new seven-story apartment is planned for an entire block in Manchester. (Google Maps)

Another city block in Manchester has changed hands.

The Beach Co. last month paid $7 million for the Thurston Spring Services site, an entire city block bound by Commerce Road and West Seventh, Perry and McDonough streets, where the South Carolina-based developer is planning a six-story, 263-unit apartment building.

Beach Co.’s development manager Tim Cotter said in an email that the firm is currently working through the plan of development approval process and hopes to begin construction on the 1.8-acre plot in summer 2023.

A drawing of the planned six-story building at 326 W. 7th St. (City documents)

Meanwhile, Thurston Spring Services, which has operated a suspension-focused auto shop on the Manchester property for decades, looks to be relocating to a new facility at 1307 Willis Road in Chesterfield that it leased in September.

The Thurston family wasn’t available for comment by press time.

The sale closed Dec. 16. The six parcels that make up the plot – 300, 314 and 326 W. Seventh St., 701 and 719 Perry St., and 311 Commerce Road – were most recently assessed by the city at a combined $2.4 million.

Bruce Milam of Bruce Commercial Realty and Chip Louthan of Commonwealth Commercial had the listing.

Thurston owned the majority of the block, with the exception being 326 W. Seventh St., which was owned by an entity tied to the Condyles family.

When Beach Co. breaks ground next year on the new project, it will also be wrapping up its first Richmond development: Eddy on the James, a 221-unit apartment building at 700 Semmes Ave. It started work on that in 2020.

The $7 million price tag on the Thurston site comes out to $3.9 million per acre. A new city record for per-acre price was recently set at 301 W. Sixth St., just two blocks north of the Thurston site. In October Brooklyn-based Avery Hall Investments paid $5.9 million per acre for the site on which it’s planning to build a pair of residential towers reaching 16 and 17 stories.

A new seven-story apartment is planned for an entire block in Manchester. (Google Maps)

Another city block in Manchester has changed hands.

The Beach Co. last month paid $7 million for the Thurston Spring Services site, an entire city block bound by Commerce Road and West Seventh, Perry and McDonough streets, where the South Carolina-based developer is planning a six-story, 263-unit apartment building.

Beach Co.’s development manager Tim Cotter said in an email that the firm is currently working through the plan of development approval process and hopes to begin construction on the 1.8-acre plot in summer 2023.

A drawing of the planned six-story building at 326 W. 7th St. (City documents)

Meanwhile, Thurston Spring Services, which has operated a suspension-focused auto shop on the Manchester property for decades, looks to be relocating to a new facility at 1307 Willis Road in Chesterfield that it leased in September.

The Thurston family wasn’t available for comment by press time.

The sale closed Dec. 16. The six parcels that make up the plot – 300, 314 and 326 W. Seventh St., 701 and 719 Perry St., and 311 Commerce Road – were most recently assessed by the city at a combined $2.4 million.

Bruce Milam of Bruce Commercial Realty and Chip Louthan of Commonwealth Commercial had the listing.

Thurston owned the majority of the block, with the exception being 326 W. Seventh St., which was owned by an entity tied to the Condyles family.

When Beach Co. breaks ground next year on the new project, it will also be wrapping up its first Richmond development: Eddy on the James, a 221-unit apartment building at 700 Semmes Ave. It started work on that in 2020.

The $7 million price tag on the Thurston site comes out to $3.9 million per acre. A new city record for per-acre price was recently set at 301 W. Sixth St., just two blocks north of the Thurston site. In October Brooklyn-based Avery Hall Investments paid $5.9 million per acre for the site on which it’s planning to build a pair of residential towers reaching 16 and 17 stories.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
1 month ago

These 260 apartment units, added to the Eddy and the proposal on 6th Street, will put about a 1000 units within 100 feet of Legends Restaurant. That’s about 1400 new thirsty customers looking for a burger and a cold beer, not counting their friends who’ll likely accompany them. It appears that business is about to pick up dramatically on the Legends deck. Real estate is all about location and Legends has got it!

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
1 month ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

Who knows, in a few years, the best business decision may be to sell out or do one of those NYC selling of Air Rights even.

Charles Frankenhoff
Charles Frankenhoff
1 month ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

congratulations Bruce! I’m amazed how expensive Manchester land has become.

Ramone Antonio
Ramone Antonio
1 month ago

Out of pure excitement, I wish most of these buildings started construction already. I can’t wait for a real grocery store to open up in this area. Along with real restaurants and activities.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
1 month ago
Reply to  Ramone Antonio

You get enough people of a certain income level in the area, it will no doubt happen in some form or another. In downtown Petersburg, people have long hoped for some kind of grocery they could walk to, not understanding the business requirements that make such a low margin business viable. A big part of the issue is that there are food lions and walmarts a short driving distance away and, like Manchester, no one is going to drive past these places just to get grocery essentials in a dense time consuming urban environment (unless it is a farmers market… Read more »

Ramone Antonio
Ramone Antonio
9 days ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

I agree to that as well to the farmers market idea. Or even something similar to a smaller Willow Lawn in the area of Old Manchester. It has a ton of unused potential space for a fuel station, parks and etc to draw individuals to this area. With a potential of thousands living here having things to be as convenient as a gas station/wawa would be huge here.

Brian Glass
Brian Glass
1 month ago

I’m still puzzled about where all of these renters shop for groceries. There has to be a tipping point when one of the supermarket chains comes to the table.

Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian Glass

The opportunity may be on Semmes Avenue next to the UPS buildings. Three acres of undeveloped land there between Semmes and McDonough.

Charles Frankenhoff
Charles Frankenhoff
1 month ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

what about the old grocery store the Hilds owned?

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
1 month ago

Still tied up, he has to be sentenced before they can force a sale on his properties

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian Glass

Serious question: What about the effect of grocery deliveries and the like, or even curbside pickup of grocery?
Have these services lowered the need for a grocery store in an area?
Also, as far as needing to “compete” with Scotts–there is something to be said for living in one place and playing in another, and its a straight shot down the toll road to get to Scotts, the Hamilton Street ramp is almost made for that.

Barry Greene
Barry Greene
1 month ago

Missed opportunity for retail here. One of the issues that Manchester will run into is the lack of diversity in things to do and spend their money. ATM, there’s no entertainment in Manchester, just F&B. You can’t compete with Scotts like this.

Erik Colley
Erik Colley
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Greene

It will get there though. First bring the people and simoultaniously give them all the shops, F&B, and fun things to do, etc. I would love to see some store fronts on the street floors of all of these apartment buildings going up though.

Michael P Morgan-Dodson
Michael P Morgan-Dodson
1 month ago
Reply to  Erik Colley

Speaking of F& B places interestingly Odyssey Fish closed at Hatch after less than 9 months open. And before their new location opened on Three Chopt.

Paul D. Mashack
Paul D. Mashack
1 month ago

In my opinion, Manchester is endager of becoming a Southside version of Short Pump— minus the grocery stores.