I really have become a fan of Ginter Park.
In April of 2012, we were asked to take over the lead sales of the Ginter Place project (the old Richmond Memorial Hospital Complex) along Westwood Avenue. The hospital complex abuts both the Laburnum House and the Baptist Theological Seminary Campus at the corner of Westwood Avenue and Brook Road. The Union Theological Seminary is also within sight of the east side of the condo tower which really helps frame the views…especially from the upper floors.
In 2003 (or so), a group of investors purchased the entire site when Richmond Memorial moved to Midlothian. It was a large undertaking, to say the least.
After a rather contentious period of negotiations with the Ginter Park Neighborhood Association, the first phase of the project, the condominiums in the old hospital complex, went live in early 2008. As history has shown, 2008 was not kind to ANY housing project, much less an upscale condo project targeting downsizing buyers. Needless to say, it fell flat. While the reasons are many, it is safe to assume that even the best conceived and executed projects brought to market in 2008 would have experienced similar outcomes.
Fast forward to 2013 and the environment has changed. Lending, sales, inventory and overall public perception of the market has turned from thoroughly negative to fairly positive and the real strengths of both the project and the neighborhood are emerging. The condos are large and well appointed with an excess of both features and finishes in excess of all competitive products.
They have begun to sell quite well.
I find it interesting that while Ginter Place has begun to experience the sales success that it should have experienced had 2008-2012 not occurred, it is still under most of the Realtor’s (and their client’s) radar. I think that Ginter Park, and to much the same extent, Bellevue, are still largely misunderstood by much of Richmond…and that is truly unfortunate. Despite some of the most powerful architecture of the era and with a diversity in design unseen in Richmond, the homes of Ginter Park and Bellevue trade at a discount to many other comparable neighborhoods. While the reasons for the value bias are as diverse as the design of the homes there, probably the biggest reason is that the large majority of the market does not truly understand the area. The many neighborhoods that comprise North Richmond are misunderstood mostly because the subtleties that drive values are not apparent to those not engaged in figuring them out.
Without a doubt, my favorite part of Ginter Park is the architecture. While the interior layouts of the homes can be a little antiquated with smaller closets and less ‘open concept,’ the exterior presence of the homes in Ginter Park are as striking as any in Richmond. Despite a relatively tight time period for construction, the diversity of architecture is stunning. Cottages, Bungalows, ‘Four Squares,’ Arts and Crafts and Tudors with brick, stucco and different sidings all can be found. Even the relatively benign colonial designs are more engaging due to side porches and larger, manicured yards. For those that wish to see some of Richmond’s finest homes, a leisurely drive up Seminary Avenue will result in some jaw-dropping residential design unrivaled in the Metro.
Ginter Park deserves to be understood better than it currently is and we hope that the brokerage community invests the time required to truly understand the power of the neighborhood.