Residential infills planned for two gaps in Museum District

2818 Monument Ave 1

The three-story apartment building planned at 2818 Monument Ave. (City documents)

Two of the few empty lots to be found in the largely built-out Museum District are being eyed for residential infill developments.

On Monument Avenue, a vacant lot on the north side of the street mid-block between Sheppard Street and Arthur Ashe Boulevard is being proposed for a three-story, eight-unit apartment building by local developer Lewis Little of Siwel Renovations LP.

The LP purchased the parcel at 2818 Monument Ave. for $335,000 last year. It had been listed four years earlier as part of a portfolio sale consisting of a dozen properties that were owned by Willard Mason Jr. The city assessed the 0.09-acre property at $156,000.

Lewis is seeking a special-use permit to construct an 11,300-square-foot building with a half-basement and three floors above. The building’s height would be in line with its neighbors on both sides, according to an SUP application filed with the city.

Plans call for a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, with two units per floor, each facing and accessed from either the street or the alley. The one-bedrooms would be on and below the first floor, and the two-bedrooms would fill the top two floors.

Each unit would total about 1,400 square feet of heated space, and the above-ground units would include balconies. Appich Architects is designing the building.

Little, whose local developments include the Lolita’s restaurant building in Carytown, declined to comment on the Monument Avenue project before it goes to the Planning Commission and City Council.

The SUP request was introduced at council’s Sept. 11 meeting and is scheduled to go before the commission Oct. 2. The project received conditional approval from the city’s Commission of Architectural Review (CAR) in January.

3317 Monument Ave Rear 1

A rendering of the six attached homes planned at 3317 Monument Ave. Rear. (City documents)

About four blocks west, Powell Family LC is proposing six single-family attached homes with garages at 3317 Monument Ave. Rear, a 0.3-acre lot in the middle of the block between Monument and Franklin Street to the north and south, and between Roseneath Road and Tilden Street to the west and east.

The three-story homes would fill the site and replace an existing garage structure. Conceptual renderings show the top floors of the homes would be recessed and include terraces facing the east side of the lot. The rear two-car garages would face the west side of the property with access from an existing alley.

The LC purchased the property in 2004 for $35,000, property records show. The entity is tied to Mark Powell, an associate broker with Henrico-based Homes ‘N Land.

Powell deferred comment to Leroy Chiles, a fellow real estate agent who he said is heading up the project. Chiles said it would be a few months before they would be ready to discuss the project for an article.

The project requires an SUP, an application for which was filed in March by Baker Development Resources. Principal Mark Baker said his firm has responded to an initial round of comments from city agencies and will be discussing the project further with the community. A second round of reviews got underway this month, and the case has yet to be scheduled for commission or council review.

Baker said the project does not require CAR approval because the site is not located in one of the city’s Old and Historic Districts. The site is included in the Monument Avenue Historic District listed on state and national registers.

Architecture Design Office is the architect on the homes, which would range from 2,400 to 2,600 square feet in size. Each would total three bedrooms above ground-floor living and dining areas.

A comparable infill project is in the works elsewhere in the Museum District. Crenshaw Mews, a four-unit infill at 3415-A Floyd Ave., in the middle of the block just east of the Carytown Place shopping center, was granted an SUP in late 2021.

The two attached homes flanked by two detached dwellings were being developed by Dante Decapri of Richmond-based EnviroGroup. Decapri died earlier this year.

It wasn’t clear where the project currently stands. A demolition permit was applied for this year but was voided by city staff.

2818 Monument Ave 1

The three-story apartment building planned at 2818 Monument Ave. (City documents)

Two of the few empty lots to be found in the largely built-out Museum District are being eyed for residential infill developments.

On Monument Avenue, a vacant lot on the north side of the street mid-block between Sheppard Street and Arthur Ashe Boulevard is being proposed for a three-story, eight-unit apartment building by local developer Lewis Little of Siwel Renovations LP.

The LP purchased the parcel at 2818 Monument Ave. for $335,000 last year. It had been listed four years earlier as part of a portfolio sale consisting of a dozen properties that were owned by Willard Mason Jr. The city assessed the 0.09-acre property at $156,000.

Lewis is seeking a special-use permit to construct an 11,300-square-foot building with a half-basement and three floors above. The building’s height would be in line with its neighbors on both sides, according to an SUP application filed with the city.

Plans call for a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, with two units per floor, each facing and accessed from either the street or the alley. The one-bedrooms would be on and below the first floor, and the two-bedrooms would fill the top two floors.

Each unit would total about 1,400 square feet of heated space, and the above-ground units would include balconies. Appich Architects is designing the building.

Little, whose local developments include the Lolita’s restaurant building in Carytown, declined to comment on the Monument Avenue project before it goes to the Planning Commission and City Council.

The SUP request was introduced at council’s Sept. 11 meeting and is scheduled to go before the commission Oct. 2. The project received conditional approval from the city’s Commission of Architectural Review (CAR) in January.

3317 Monument Ave Rear 1

A rendering of the six attached homes planned at 3317 Monument Ave. Rear. (City documents)

About four blocks west, Powell Family LC is proposing six single-family attached homes with garages at 3317 Monument Ave. Rear, a 0.3-acre lot in the middle of the block between Monument and Franklin Street to the north and south, and between Roseneath Road and Tilden Street to the west and east.

The three-story homes would fill the site and replace an existing garage structure. Conceptual renderings show the top floors of the homes would be recessed and include terraces facing the east side of the lot. The rear two-car garages would face the west side of the property with access from an existing alley.

The LC purchased the property in 2004 for $35,000, property records show. The entity is tied to Mark Powell, an associate broker with Henrico-based Homes ‘N Land.

Powell deferred comment to Leroy Chiles, a fellow real estate agent who he said is heading up the project. Chiles said it would be a few months before they would be ready to discuss the project for an article.

The project requires an SUP, an application for which was filed in March by Baker Development Resources. Principal Mark Baker said his firm has responded to an initial round of comments from city agencies and will be discussing the project further with the community. A second round of reviews got underway this month, and the case has yet to be scheduled for commission or council review.

Baker said the project does not require CAR approval because the site is not located in one of the city’s Old and Historic Districts. The site is included in the Monument Avenue Historic District listed on state and national registers.

Architecture Design Office is the architect on the homes, which would range from 2,400 to 2,600 square feet in size. Each would total three bedrooms above ground-floor living and dining areas.

A comparable infill project is in the works elsewhere in the Museum District. Crenshaw Mews, a four-unit infill at 3415-A Floyd Ave., in the middle of the block just east of the Carytown Place shopping center, was granted an SUP in late 2021.

The two attached homes flanked by two detached dwellings were being developed by Dante Decapri of Richmond-based EnviroGroup. Decapri died earlier this year.

It wasn’t clear where the project currently stands. A demolition permit was applied for this year but was voided by city staff.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
6 months ago

I like the looks of the building proposed by Lewis Little. It’ll fit in well on Monument. He’s come a long way from his days at Harrison&Bates after playing football at Collegiate and UR. Congrats, Lewis.

it’s good to see the mid-block vacant lots filled with for-sale housing. We need it in the City.

Flora Valdes-Dapena
Flora Valdes-Dapena
6 months ago

Stuff like that Monument Ave apartment building are exactly why the city needs a zoning rewrite so badly. You shouldn’t need an SUP to build something which is nearly identical to every other building on the block.

Peter James
Peter James
6 months ago

100%!! Fully agreed, Flora. These are both outstanding developments that fit the character of their respective blocks. An SUP filing seems and feels superfluous in these cases. Looking forward to seeing these two developments being built.

Stuart Squier
Stuart Squier
6 months ago

They don’t *need* an SUP, they could build the same size structure by right if they reduce the number of units in the building.

Charles Frankenhoff
Charles Frankenhoff
6 months ago
Reply to  Stuart Squier

it’s ridiculous that they should have to do so. To repeat the point above, you shouldn’t need an SUP to build something that is the same as every building around.

This is why we have a shortage of housing, the bureaucracy involved to do what was by right 100 years ago is ridiculous

Audrey Baylor
Audrey Baylor
6 months ago

Exactly.

Connor Matthew
Connor Matthew
6 months ago

I think the apartment to the east looks fine. Fits in with the character of the area. And apartments are fine. Not everyone who wants to live in that area needs a 3,000 square foot house. But the units to the west confound me. I know vacant area infill is very popular and probably a better use of space than a parking lot or an empty alley. But this is not a parking lot but a nice greenspace. And I have never understood the desire to be surrounded by nothing but the back of other people’s houses.

Robert Asplund
Robert Asplund
6 months ago
Reply to  Connor Matthew

I live in this neighborhood, and there is definitely an added charm by having this little pocket space. There “good development” in the area [e.g. the St. Catherine’s renovation] and “shortsighted over-development” [e.g. this, and the suffocating townhomes that took over the greenspace next to the Lee Lofts].

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
6 months ago
Reply to  Robert Asplund

Well, there’s always the Shennendoah Valley….

Charles Frankenhoff
Charles Frankenhoff
6 months ago
Reply to  Connor Matthew

Mews houses are charming, and add to the urban fabric. We need housing in the city. Greenspace is for the country. Country-fying the city leads to paving over forests for tract housing.

Augie Kahsar
Augie Kahsar
6 months ago

“The LC purchased the property in 2004 for $35,000, property records show.”

If you’re a boomer and wondering why millenials are disenchanted with the housing market, that’s why.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
6 months ago
Reply to  Augie Kahsar

God forbid someone take a risk on a parcel, hold it for almost 20 years and make money.

Jay Emory
Jay Emory
6 months ago
Reply to  David Humphrey

I’m not automatically against purchasing parcels and eventually making money. However, what is your suggestion to address the crisis we have as far as housing is concerned? We already know there’s a housing shortage and we also know the largest living generation in the US (Millennials) is saddled with severe student debt coupled with wage stagnation, shrinkflation, and inflation. We can argue all day long about how they got into that mess but the reality is it affects the entire country and older generations should care because they are their children/grandchildren. Therefore, what solution(s) might you propose since it’s everyone’s… Read more »

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
6 months ago
Reply to  Jay Emory

My solution? One part would be build more housing. Law of supply and demand. The more housing supply, whether it is rental or owner, the more stable prices will become. Even higher priced owner occupied is good because it offers somewhere for people to move up to from starter homes, thereby freeing them up for starter level owners moving up from renting. Allowing greater densities and mixed use, which several localities are now doing, is also a strong component. It simply takes time for people to get plans done, approved and built. We cannot get out of the housing crisis… Read more »

Charles Frankenhoff
Charles Frankenhoff
6 months ago
Reply to  Jay Emory

the solution is legalize building housing. Look at how much time and money the apartments are having to spend to build the same thing on the rest of the block.

Look at all the opposition to building the houses on the powell parcell.

If we have 3x the population, but housing is illegal to build, of course we will have a shortage. That just isn’t coincidence

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
6 months ago
Reply to  Jay Emory

 how they got into that mess 

Was it all the avocado toast the ordered? When they were 5?

Leo Melvin
Leo Melvin
6 months ago
Reply to  Jay Emory

Every generation in history has been blessed with unique advantages and cursed with unique disadvantages. The millennials have some difficulties but they never experienced the great depression, polio, military conscription and war. Constantly complaining about your difficulties only makes you seem whiny and entitled.

Jason Elms
Jason Elms
6 months ago
Reply to  Leo Melvin

The US has been at war during the entire lifetimes of Gen Z and most of the Millennial’s.

Augie Kahsar
Augie Kahsar
6 months ago
Reply to  David Humphrey

That’s not my point. My point is that $35k in 2004, accounting for inflation, is about $56k today. If you include GDP + Inflation you’re at maybe $150k. If you put $35k into the S&P 500 in 2004, it would be at 4x, about $140k today. That land is worth more than GDP + Inflation + S&P 500 combined, today. I read Atlas Shrugged, and I am a capitalist, but I am also a realist. Corporate greed exists, bad housing policy exists, and inefficient allocation resources in capitalist markets exist. On a micro level, we should support construction of more… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Augie Kahsar
Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
6 months ago
Reply to  Augie Kahsar

How about not blaming the boomers for EVERYTHING — the reason that these young people are unhappy is on the surface obvious to EVERY smart person — housing prices are too high. What is not obvious to every smart person are the reasons why — people keep voting for people who keep overspending on just about everything other than what people need and the fact that every young person is now enouraged to borrow tons of $$$$ to learn some kind of Anthropology and not a get an in-demand skill (such as electrician) so they end up being qualified to… Read more »

Blaire Roberts
Blaire Roberts
6 months ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

Agreed that we shouldn’t make every conversation about “boomers”. While there are trends in generations, it is hurtful to wrap up all those stereotypes in a word and use it for everything you disagree with. As a millenial I am sure I fit a lot of the stereotypes about them, but there are a lot that I don’t fill as well. On the other hand I think you should reexamine some of the stereotypes you hold as well. For example, the number of humanities majors is going DOWN, not UP. If anything, we have all been told to go into… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Blaire Roberts
Jay Emory
Jay Emory
6 months ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

“…every young person is now en[c]ouraged to borrow tons of $$$$ to learn some kind of Anthropology and not a get an in-demand skill (such as electrician) so they end up being qualified to be activists or, at best IT specialists.” This is such a tired trope. I’m 39 years old and the above is what my parents’ generation instructed my generation to do as they were coming out of high school back in the late 90s and into the 00s. Boomers insisted their kids take out anything necessary to earn a degree, any degree, and now two decades later… Read more »

Bruce D Anderson
Bruce D Anderson
6 months ago

Nice design, but I’m biased. This is a similar configuration to a series of duplex townhouses we worked on in Brooklyn, NY — we won an International ICF Builders Award for them last year.
ICF Builders Award — Polycrete USA

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
6 months ago

Awesome!!! Hope you are working down here too!

Speaking of Edisonian concrete innovation and NYS, as a being both a modern home construction nerd AND a historic building nerd, I was excited when I was strolling around one of Upstate NY’s legion neglected Extremely Historic towns and found that perhaps the first poured concrete residence in the country was in tiny Waterford, NY.

https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=145286

Michael Boyer
Michael Boyer
6 months ago

Nice architecture with detail.Construction costs will be a bit pricey.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Boyer

It’s the big downside of the method — but in SOME areas, insurance cos and zoners should require building like this universally.

Boz Boschen
Boz Boschen
6 months ago

2818 Monument Ave. is subject to CAR review because it’s in the Monument Avenue Old & Historic District, which is the city’s second oldest district and has been in place since 1971 (expanded since designation). This property is not within the Museum District. It’s true, it was just a parking lot with frontage on Monument so this infill is a much higher use and value to the neighborhood and city. The Museum District is not an Old & Historic District. However, the city does have West of the Boulevard Historic District design overlay guidelines which put forward principles that new… Read more »

Arnold Hager
Arnold Hager
6 months ago
Reply to  Boz Boschen

I can’t imagine these middle of the alley apts. being built. The inconveniences to the neighbors alone should not be tolerated. The neighbors standard of living would be negatively affected. These apts. will get little to no sunshine. The construction itself would drive me crazy if I lived there. Then the rental tenants of mostly young single people and likely high turnover, noisy, with increased traffic up and down the alleys when the bars close at 2am. How many residents and visitors will be forced to take up parking spaces on the street? Whatever peace and quiet the current residents… Read more »

Arnold Hager
Arnold Hager
6 months ago
Reply to  Arnold Hager

Oops. These are condos not apts. If the people on this block want this then have at it. Good luck to you.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
6 months ago
Reply to  Arnold Hager

Welcome to urban life.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
6 months ago
Reply to  Arnold Hager

 “No more taking the dog out back.” So a dog toilet is more important than people having housing?

Jackie Hilles
Jackie Hilles
6 months ago

Am I the only one who thinks this building is hideous? It’s not like Richmond doesn’t have an architectural heritage. This borders on Soviet brutalist architecture.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
6 months ago
Reply to  Jackie Hilles

Most of the heritage of Richmond’s buildings is neither distinct or particularly amazing.

Virginia: where people think that Jefferson was a lot more than derivative and dilittante.

Blaire Roberts
Blaire Roberts
6 months ago
Reply to  Jackie Hilles

We need the housing, we’re not in a position to complain.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
6 months ago
Reply to  Jackie Hilles

It’s in an alley.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
6 months ago
Reply to  David Humphrey

No, it’s in an upscale Mews, and its going to cost three times as much as something bult n a gauche street.

Audrey Baylor
Audrey Baylor
6 months ago

Our city’s historic Federalist and Neoclassical buildings are beautiful. The rendering of what is proposed is an eyesore and not in keeping of the styles of existing surrounding buildings. We need zoning laws that mandate new builds in historic districts like The Museum District and The Fan keep the style of historic surroundings.