Developer puts Scott’s Addition apartment project on hold, up for sale

Bonaventure has been planning the buildings since 2020 but has not begun construction. (Images courtesy Northmarq)

In a rare occurrence for one of the city’s hottest neighborhoods, a developer is pumping the brakes on a new apartment project in Scott’s Addition.

Northern Virginia-based Bonaventure has listed for sale the 1.7-acres at 1700 Belleville St. where it had been planning its Scott’s Edge II project.

In addition to the land, the offering includes approved building plans and permits for a 203-apartment mixed-use building. Bonaventure has been planning the project since 2020 but never began work. It bought the land in a series of deals totaling $4.45 million.

Bonaventure CEO Dwight Dunton III said the decision to list the project for sale didn’t necessarily have to do with the broader economic landscape or the potential for a recession this year.

Dwight Dunton

“(The recession and rising interest rates) are happening to everyone,” Dunton said. “It’s just we’re rebalancing our investment portfolio of projects that we have under construction versus other things.

“As we think about our entire investment portfolio, we’re shifting a little bit more of our resources toward acquiring existing assets rather than building from scratch,” he said.

Scott’s Edge II was to be a de facto second phase to Scott’s Edge, a 94-unit building that was one of Scott’s Addition’s earliest historic rehab tax-credit, adaptive reuse projects. Bonaventure bought the original Scott’s Edge in late 2019 for $17.6 million.

Dutton said Bonaventure has about 10 buildings under construction throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast and it owns around 30 more properties that are already completed.

Northmarq’s Wink Ewing, Mike Lowry and Matt Straughan have the listing, which does not include an asking price. The city most recently assessed the land at $2.9 million.

Bonaventure’s offering includes plans for a pair of 6-story apartment buildings.

The highest price tag for land on record in Scott’s Addition on a per-acre basis is currently $4 million, which Capital Square set last year with its $10.8 million deal for N. Chasen & Son’s 2.7 acres along West Marshall and Clay streets, where it’s planning to build 350 apartments.

The highest per-acre price tag the city’s ever seen came last fall when Brooklyn-based Avery Hall Investments paid $5.9 million per acre for the riverfront land in Manchester on which it’s planning to build a pair of apartment towers reaching 16 and 17 stories.

Avery Hall picked up that land from a local development group that, similarly to Bonaventure, had included approved plans and permits in the offering, though Avery Hall wound up not using those plans and designed its own project.

While Bonaventure’s Belleville site hits the market, another project just a block to the south is underway. Thalhimer Realty Partners and John Freeland’s 6-story, 126-unit apartment building at 1508 Belleville St. is now going vertical.

About half of the Bonaventure site was previously home to Ironwood Automotive before its owners sold to the developer and relocated their auto shop a few blocks north to the Westwood area.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
29 days ago

The Richmond 300 plan recommended an extension of Norfolk Street through that property and over the tracks, then under I-195 to Westwood. I assume that this development plan precludes that one, though the expense of such an extension was never practical anyway. There’s another deal coming across the street as well, encompassing the shuffle board center and the Dairy Barn. Any news on that, BizSense? No parking lot or one story flat roof building is safe in ScottsAddition,

William Willis
William Willis
29 days ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

Wait are you saying Tang and Biscuit Shuffle Board and Biscuit and Gravy (old Dairy Bar) might be going away for another development? Both are owned by the same group. Would hate to see either of these close down.

Bruce D Anderson
Bruce D Anderson
29 days ago

Be nice to see the model go out of fashion, but that may be too optimistic. 😉

Last edited 29 days ago by Bruce D Anderson
Wilson Natalie
Wilson Natalie
29 days ago

They overpaid for the complex and should have focused on its many issues rather than directing all attention to the new project/land acquisition. Hated to see Ironwood go, but thankful they got the good end of the stick with that sale!

Peter James
Peter James
29 days ago

Wow – I hate to see this project stall. 😕

Here’s hoping Bonaventure can find a buyer ready to hit the ground running on this set of buildings.

Last edited 29 days ago by Peter James
Julian Utley
Julian Utley
29 days ago

Does the owner’s agreement(s) with their architect and other consultants allow them to sell the design/drawings along with the land?

SEAN WEIR
SEAN WEIR
29 days ago

Glad to hear it’s canceled because that building is extra ugly.