Former Tribble Electric owners look to recharge Museum District building with office-to-apartment conversion

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The ’80s-era office building sits near the intersection of North Thompson and West Broad streets. (Mike Platania photo)

In the six years since selling their namesake electrical contracting outfit, Dody and Steve Tribble have been dabbling in real estate and are now working on their largest project yet in the Museum District.  

Work is underway at 1111 N. Thompson St., where the couple is converting an 8,000-square-foot office building into 11 apartments. 

dody steve tribble

Dody and Steve Tribble

From 1983 until 2018 the Tribbles owned and operated Tribble Electric, a Glen Allen-based firm that installed electrical systems on commercial and residential buildings. Among its list of clients are local developers such as Historic Housing, Fountainhead Real Estate Development and The Monument Cos. 

The Tribbles sold their business to Doswell Operating Group, the parent company of local HVAC giant Woodfin, for an undisclosed amount. Since then, Dody said she and her husband have been keeping busy with real estate deals. 

“We just always loved having some type of a project, mainly houses,” Dody said, noting that they’ve renovated houses from The Fan to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Their leap into development came as a result of a 1031 exchange. In late 2020 they sold Tribble Electric’s office on Mountain Road in Henrico to Doswell Operating Group for $1.5 million and exchanged the proceeds from that deal into the purchase of the Thompson Street office building for $1.47 million. 

The 44-year-old building had previously been used as an office with a few apartments upstairs, but Dody said it was showing its age. As they began its redevelopment, much of the interior had to be demolished, but she said they held onto certain parts of the building’s façade. 

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The building façade is partially made with breeze block, which is being retained through the renovation.

“I really thought the building was kind of neat because of the breeze block and all. That’s the one thing that I really wanted to keep: that mid-century modern look,” she said. 

Dody said they also held onto some of the commercial windows in the building previously and are repurposing them into a bike shed for the apartments. 

The apartments are scheduled to be completed in the next few months. Mahoney Contract Management is the project general contractor and Fultz & Singh Architects is the designer. 

Dody said she and her husband are likely to keep pursuing redevelopment opportunities around town but likely wouldn’t go after anything larger than the Thompson building, which is their biggest project to date. 

“It’s been fun. I’ve really enjoyed watching it all come together,” Dody said. 

A few other residential developments have popped up along North Thompson in recent years, including Carter Snipes’ eight-unit townhome project, The Meridian, and the Krumbein sisters’ Century Flats building, which was a redevelopment of an office building at 1004 N. Thompson St. into 26 apartments. Across the street from the Tribbles’ property is a shuttered Wells Fargo branch that’s under contract to a mystery buyer

POSTED IN Commercial Real Estate

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Freddie Edwards
Freddie Edwards
17 days ago

I always enjoyed dealing with Steve and his company. Back in those days, Steve wore a tool belt and had helpers. Back, way back in the middle eighties….Good luck to you and Dody and as it is said, work like you don’t need the money and you will have fun….My Best

Sara McIntosh Stern
Sara McIntosh Stern
16 days ago

Steve & Dodie – I am thrilled to see you doing so well and taking on such a fun and challenging project! Will have to stop by when I am in Richmond. Thanks for all the great work you did for Stern Homes. All the best to you. Sara

Tim Vidra
Tim Vidra
16 days ago

Steve and Dodie, So happy to see you in the news this morning. It sounds like things are well which I am not surprised to hear. Congrats on all of your success!

Peter James
Peter James
16 days ago

Wishing the Tribbles all the best for great success with this outstanding project and all of their other efforts. So glad to see this building being brought to life, adding to the residential vitality of this Scott’s Addition-adjacent corner of the Museum District.

Joe Edwards
Joe Edwards
16 days ago

As a Museum District resident had to look up where this is & it’s decidedly NOT in this area. Let’s describe location correctly.

Polgar Concertado
Polgar Concertado
15 days ago
Reply to  Joe Edwards

News Flash: It actually is in the museum district. Look it up.