Demo sets stage for two mixed-use projects on Forest Hill Ave.

forest hill bank of america Cropped scaled

The former bank branch building at 4701 Forest Hill Ave. was taken down in recent weeks. (Mike Platania photos)

Two buildings along a stretch of Forest Hill Avenue that had been there for decades are now history, as two teams of local developers look to add more density to the Southside corridor. 

Demolition has wrapped up at 4701 Forest Hill Ave., where a former Bank of America branch building came down to make way for a new mixed-use development. 

The building’s razing followed the demolition of the former Westover Place shopping center at 5069 Forest Hill Ave., where a comparable development with residential above storefronts is planned. 

Behind the 4701 Forest Hill project is Dodson Development Group and Evolve Development, headed up by Duke Dodson and Daniil Kleyman, respectively.

A prolific developer in Church Hill with for-sale and for-rent projects in the pipeline there, Kleyman’s been making moves across the river in recent years, while Dodson, after selling his namesake property management firms last year, has been busy making deals in Scott’s Addition and Manchester.

Kleyman and Dodson bought the 56-year-old Bank of America building about a year ago for $1.2 million and began planning a new three-story building to replace it.

The building is planned to have 40 apartments, as well as 8,000 square feet of commercial space facing Forest Hill Avenue. Kleyman said they’re looking to land one or two restaurants to fill part of the commercial space. 

They’re looking to go vertical on 4701 Forest Hill in mid-December, Kleyman said, with a projected completion schedule of about 18 months. KBS is the general contractor and Architecture Design Office is the architect. 

forest hill westover place Cropped scaled

The Westover Place strip center was razed last year, and it’s unclear when its replacement will begin to take shape.

Meanwhile, at 5069 Forest Hill, developers Nolen Blackwood and Michael Plotkin are in a slightly different position with their residential development.

Leading their respective family firms, Blackwood Development Co. and Dumbarton Properties, Blackwood and Plotkin have been working on redeveloping the Westover Place shopping center for a few years now, having filed plans in 2021 to replace the 1980s-era strip center with a three-story, 30-unit building with 7,800 square feet of commercial space.

They knocked down the shopping center last year and have been back at the site in recent weeks for additional grading, though Plotkin said they’re unsure of when they’ll begin building. 

“We’re in a bit of a hold pattern because of interest rates. The banking and lending environment has changed,” Plotkin said. “We’re hopeful that interest rates and construction costs will settle down. Those two headwinds are forefront in our analysis.”

Plotkin and Blackwood have controlled the property since 2021, when they bought it for $450,000.

Plotkin said they’re still excited about the direction the neighborhood’s heading and that they do intend to build the project eventually. 

“It’s going to be exciting,” he said. “We’ve got to time it so that things make sense.”

Also on that block are restaurants The Locker Room and Riverside Tavern, whose buildings Dodson bought as part of a $2.6 million deal in the spring. Another newcomer to the area’s food-and-beverage scene is winery Gramophone, which recently opened at the intersection of Forest Hill Avenue and Westover Hills Boulevard.

forest hill bank of america Cropped scaled

The former bank branch building at 4701 Forest Hill Ave. was taken down in recent weeks. (Mike Platania photos)

Two buildings along a stretch of Forest Hill Avenue that had been there for decades are now history, as two teams of local developers look to add more density to the Southside corridor. 

Demolition has wrapped up at 4701 Forest Hill Ave., where a former Bank of America branch building came down to make way for a new mixed-use development. 

The building’s razing followed the demolition of the former Westover Place shopping center at 5069 Forest Hill Ave., where a comparable development with residential above storefronts is planned. 

Behind the 4701 Forest Hill project is Dodson Development Group and Evolve Development, headed up by Duke Dodson and Daniil Kleyman, respectively.

A prolific developer in Church Hill with for-sale and for-rent projects in the pipeline there, Kleyman’s been making moves across the river in recent years, while Dodson, after selling his namesake property management firms last year, has been busy making deals in Scott’s Addition and Manchester.

Kleyman and Dodson bought the 56-year-old Bank of America building about a year ago for $1.2 million and began planning a new three-story building to replace it.

The building is planned to have 40 apartments, as well as 8,000 square feet of commercial space facing Forest Hill Avenue. Kleyman said they’re looking to land one or two restaurants to fill part of the commercial space. 

They’re looking to go vertical on 4701 Forest Hill in mid-December, Kleyman said, with a projected completion schedule of about 18 months. KBS is the general contractor and Architecture Design Office is the architect. 

forest hill westover place Cropped scaled

The Westover Place strip center was razed last year, and it’s unclear when its replacement will begin to take shape.

Meanwhile, at 5069 Forest Hill, developers Nolen Blackwood and Michael Plotkin are in a slightly different position with their residential development.

Leading their respective family firms, Blackwood Development Co. and Dumbarton Properties, Blackwood and Plotkin have been working on redeveloping the Westover Place shopping center for a few years now, having filed plans in 2021 to replace the 1980s-era strip center with a three-story, 30-unit building with 7,800 square feet of commercial space.

They knocked down the shopping center last year and have been back at the site in recent weeks for additional grading, though Plotkin said they’re unsure of when they’ll begin building. 

“We’re in a bit of a hold pattern because of interest rates. The banking and lending environment has changed,” Plotkin said. “We’re hopeful that interest rates and construction costs will settle down. Those two headwinds are forefront in our analysis.”

Plotkin and Blackwood have controlled the property since 2021, when they bought it for $450,000.

Plotkin said they’re still excited about the direction the neighborhood’s heading and that they do intend to build the project eventually. 

“It’s going to be exciting,” he said. “We’ve got to time it so that things make sense.”

Also on that block are restaurants The Locker Room and Riverside Tavern, whose buildings Dodson bought as part of a $2.6 million deal in the spring. Another newcomer to the area’s food-and-beverage scene is winery Gramophone, which recently opened at the intersection of Forest Hill Avenue and Westover Hills Boulevard.

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David Humphrey
David Humphrey
6 months ago

I hope they both take cues from the Standard development with Veil brewing in it. The public spaces created by that development are very good and really add to the commercial district. I’m honestly not as concerned by architectural facades as I am in the space a development creates. Or the “feel” the structure gives. Buildings can get new siding, but changing the shape and context of a building is not easy to do once it is there. So, it is more important to get that right from the beginning. Please don’t make plain boxes with no public space.

lenard king
lenard king
6 months ago

I hope these builders will avoid putting up plain front (ugly) condos/apts that have become endemic around Richmond. There is a lot of vacancy in these edifices. and one wonders where are all the potential buyers/renters coming from to even make building one of these projects profitable.