My name is Rick Jarvis and I’ve sold a lot of condos in Richmond, VA. A lot of condos.
Beginning in 2006, I worked as lead listing agent (or with New Condo Sales team) on many new condos projects throughout the city. And in addition to the work I did on new condo projects, I have also represented the sale of many of Richmond’s most spectacular condos in the resale market.
If you are familiar with Richmond’s condo scene, you may recognize a few of the projects where my team represented the developer:
- The Emrick Flats Condos
- The Reserve Condos
- The Cary Mews Condos
- The Marshall Street Bakery Condos
- The Ambrata Condos
- Ashley Terrace Condos
- Ginter Place Condos
- The 212 Condos
- The Overlook Condos
In addition, as a firm, we have worked with the developers of the following projects:
- The Decatur Condos
- Warehouse 201 Condos
- 16 W Broad Condos
- 6N6 Condos
- Iron House Place Condos
And when you add in our townhouse/infill work on projects like:
- Citizen 6
- 7 West
- Huntts Row
- Sugar Bottom
- Jefferson Green
… it becomes pretty evident that we have a great deal of knowledge about the condo market, the redevelopment market and the infill development market.
Table of Contents
We have broken this page into two basic parts — a great deal about condos in general and then, about the specific condo projects themselves with links to the condos that are for sale in each.
About condos, generally:
- What Is A Condo?
- Condo Documents
- Expenses and Insurance
- Mortgage Finance
- Impact of Financing
- Reasons Why Financing Matters
- Management and HOA/COA
- Choosing A Lender
- Contracts and Condo Docs
- Ready to Learn More About the Condos of Richmond?
About the individual condo projects, specifically:
- Church Hill and East End
- Jackson Ward & Carver
- Fan & Museum District
- West End
- Manchester and Southside
The comments throughout the post are candid and represent my opinions of my 50(ish) years in RVA and my 25(ish) years as a Realtor in RVA.
So what I am implying is that good Realtors, like doctors, accountants or mechanics, all specialize.
But if you see any Realtor advertising, you see agents constantly claiming to be experts in almost every aspect of real estate. It is unfortunate as they are really doing themselves and their clients a disservice — especially when they claim to have expertise in condos.
So while many agents claim to be experts in condos, in the same way that they claim to also be experts in historic properties, land, foreclosure, new homes and first time home buying, the agents who truly understand the condo market are few and far between. A condo is a very specific sale and requires direct knowledge of not only a convoluted and complex process, but an even more nuanced marketplace.
If you are serious about buying a condo, make sure to find yourself the correct representative.
True Condo Expertise
When it comes to the Richmond Condo and infill market, our team truly has the experience and knowledge to back up that “expert” label: We know the developers, architects, and contractors who built the projects; we know the subtle differences in how the associations are structured and the common areas owned; and we know the things that the public would never think to ask when buying a condo in Richmond.
What is a Condo?
Contrary to popular misconceptions, a condo is not a style of home, per se, but a legal form of ownership whereby the land and (typically) the structure is owned collectively and the living space is owned individually.
In most condos, you own the space from your walls in while everyone shares ownership in the common areas. A condo does not come with the land rights and air rights associated with ‘fee simple’ ownership the way single family home ownership does. Instead, the rights of each individual owner are determined by the language within the condominium documents and way the structure is governed.
Think of it this way: When you buy a typical detached home, you are buying not only the home you will live in, but the land upon which it rests and the air that flows above. If you go outside and dig a hole and discover a diamond deposit or strike oil, it is your diamond or your oil.
On the other hand, if you lived in a condo that sat overtop of an oil deposit, each person who owned a part of the condo would be entitled to the oil in a collective manner — again, depending on the fine print of the condo docs.
In order to actually form the condominium, whoever develops the property needs to break down each element of the condo, including who owns what, each individual’s rights, and the budget that governs maintenance and reserves.
Often referred to as the ‘condo docs,’ this set documents contains three basic parts:
- The Declaration
These documents must be approved by the Virginia Real Estate Board in order to form a condominium. Any rules that are in violation of the Virginia condominium statutes must be brought into compliance (and generally speaking, the rules and regs of condos in Virginia are written to favor unit purchasers, not the developer.)
The Declaration is the legal document that lays out the condominium: what it is, where it is, voting rights, who owns what, surveys, plans, who is responsible for maintaining each part, and who has rights to use each part.
As an example, your unit may have a porch that is technically owned by the condominium association and maintained by the condo association, but you are the only one who has right to use it. Furthermore, as the only unit with a porch, you may have slightly higher dues than your neighbor because of your exclusive right to use the porch.
This would be found in the Declaration.
The Bylaws is the set of rules by which the condo will be governed. A good way to think of it is as the condo’s ‘Constitution’ that establishes how the condo is governed, how officers are elected and how the people within it are allowed to use the condo.
As an example, the Bylaws would contain language about what percentage of unit owners would have to vote ‘yes’ to change the bylaws or what size pet would be allowed to reside in the condo. Most of the Bylaws are dedicated to handing the officers and voting rights of each owner, especially as it relates to the budget.
Each condo collects dues from owners to maintain the common areas, pay the collective bills for electricity, insurance, and ongoing maintenance, and reserve funds for future repairs.
Items like windows, roofs and parking lots all have useful lives before needing to be replaced, and it is the job of the condo officers to make sure that adequate funds are collected in the HOA for these future repairs. Some condos do this better than others.
Expenses and Insurance
Since a condominium is in some part owned by a collective, the structures that are owned collectively must be paid for collectively. Parking lots, the roof, elevations, hallways, exterior walls, landscaping — all of these items cost money to maintain, repair, and replace and thus, the condo owners need to all pay their share into the condo account.
In addition to maintaining the physical structure, a good amount of the condo dues goes towards insuring the building. With single family homes, owners are responsible for insuring the entire structure, but in a condo, you are only responsible for insuring your unit. The association is responsible for insuring everything else not owned by individuals.
Therefore, when you are modeling the mortgage payment associated with condos, know that your insurance expense will be far less than when you model the payment for a single family home since much of the insurance premium is paid for by the association.
So now that we’ve covered officers, budgets, expenses, insurance, and rules, let’s talk about another really exciting topic: condo mortgage finance.
If you think that reading a condo declaration is sleep inducing, try reading Fannie Mae guidelines on condo warrantability (warrantability meaning that the condo is in compliance with the guideline prescribed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VHDA, or VA.) It is painful.
That said, if you do not understand the impact of conventional mortgage finance on condominium values, then you are going to make a financially damaging mistake.
Do not gloss over this section.
Condo mortgage finance is different than single family finance in one critical manner: each condo association must be underwritten and approved, not just the buyer. When you buy a single family home, the mortgage company underwrites you and appraises the home. As long as both of those things are cool, the mortgage company will make the loan.
In a condo, they underwrite you, appraises the condo, AND underwrite the association. So what is the big deal you ask? The big deal is that another 25-30 rules come into effect and if any one of them is in violation, the bank will not make the loan.
Broken rules that can sink a condo loan:
- If one individual owns more than 10% of the condo units
- If the budget is not ‘adequately’ collecting reserves
- If more than 50% of the condos are leased to non owner occupants
- If there are no rental restrictions (FHA won’t fund the loan)
- If there are rental restrictions (then VA won’t do the loan)
- If more than a certain percentage of owners are in delinquent in their dues
- If the condo has more than 15% of its space dedicated to commercial uses
- If a new condo has not pre-sold anywhere from 30% to 70% of its units
But please note that these lending rules can vary by whether the loan is FHA, VA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac. And they can also vary based on whether or not the condo is new or resale, owner-occupied or investor, and whether (if new) it is a newly built, phased, a gut rehab, or conversion.
The Impact of Financing
So what is the big deal you ask? Aren’t there other ways to buy a condo than using a conventional mortgage?
You can pay cash. You can get a loan from your local bank rather than a mortgage company. Or you can find a mortgage company that does ‘non-warrantable’ finance and buy it that way.
So can you buy a non-warrantable condo? Yes, you can.
But is it a good idea? Most of the time, it is a really bad idea.
At the end of the day, when the market has to seek alternate forms of finance in order to buy your condo, they either a) won’t or b) will want a steep discount.
When a condo is considered to be non-warrantable, the prices fall 20 – 40% from where they would be if they were warrantable and generally take a much longer time to sell. Consequently, buildings where conventional finance is not available usually trade at far below their potential value.
In a prior section, we discussed the reasons that condos might not be warrantable.
Some of these reasons are temporary, like when a new condo has come to the market and has not pre-sold enough units or if the number of renters in the building has gotten too high. But both of those reasons can be addressed so that the condo will become warrantable again.
Other times, the condo will never be warrantable due to a flawed legal structure. Condos attached to hotels are a no-no in the eyes of the mortgage companies as are condos that do not have control of their common areas. Other times, condo documents might be in conflict with lending rules and, until the condo docs are amended, the condo will not be warrantable.
So if you are considering a condo that lacks conventional financing, the question of ‘why’ becomes critical in determining whether or not the warrantability is temporary or permanent.
That said, in some cases, a non-warrantable condo can provide a buying opportunity (read our article on the condos that have upside for this very reason).
Management and HOA/COA
Condos require someone to manage them.
Someone has to pay the bills, keep the lobby and halls clean, make sure the elevator works, etc. And of course the management company needs to make sure the unit owners are current in their payments and the dues keep up with inflation so as to not draw down the reserve account to pay for current expenses.
Most condos will hire a company to manage the Home or Condo Owners Association (HOA/COA) and take care of all of day to day operations. Management companies that work with condos are required to be certified to do so and thus, they need to be versed in state statutes related to condominiums. Most should also be fairly well versed in the fundamentals of condominium finance, although this is not always the case.
Often times, the officers of the condo will elect to ‘self-manage’ due to a belief that the money they could save from not having a third party manage the HOA will help keep dues lower. While they can often save a little money in the short run, their overall lack of knowledge as it relates to finance can prove costly if they let the condo unknowingly fall into a non-warrantable condition. In my decades of working in the Richmond real estate market, I have seen multiple cases where an uninformed condo board allow the condo to become non-warrantable, which prevents sales and drives down values.
In other words, in an attempt to save $50/month in dues, they drive down values by tens of thousands of dollars by not understanding the rules that keep condos conventionally financeable. So make sure to vet the condo management situation when you are considering a specific project.
Choosing a Lender
Another key to a successful outcome is choosing a lender who:
- knows condo lending rules
- has a good condo underwriting department
- knows the appraisers who know the condo market
Much like the small number agents who truly know the condo market, the condo lenders in this town that know what they are doing can be counted on one hand, too. Most lenders will tell you that they know how to do a condo loan — but few do.
Despite what lenders will tell you, the number of lenders who have misled clients by telling them that they know how to finance a condo is extreme high — and when it happens, no one wins.
Furthermore, not all lenders have the same condo loan products available to them. Over the years, we have seen numerous examples where a lender, who lacks a good condo loan product, will actually bad mouth the idea of a condo in order to save the loan! It is sad, but true.
Beware of using an inexperienced condo lender.
Contracts and Condo Docs
A final note about buying a condo: In order to protect condo buyers, Virginia law mandates that the seller of any condominium must furnish buyers with a full set of the condominium documents, including all amendments, as well as the most recent budget.
Upon receipt of the package, the buyers have 5 days to review the information and, if they so choose, cancel the contract without penalty and receive their deposit back.
This is an important buyer leverage point in that it usually takes several weeks for the management company to provide the package. At any point until the package is delivered (plus 5 days) the buyer can simply walk away.
Ready to Learn More About the Condos of Richmond?
Did I scare you? I hope not.
Owning a condo can be a fabulous thing for many people. Generally speaking, the condos in Richmond are near the fun things — restaurants, festivals, museums, cafes, parks, entertainment — and for those who crave a walkable lifestyle, a condo can be a great idea.
We always want our clients to be informed about the factors that can impact their decision. In condos, there is an extra layer of knowledge required in order to make the best decision possible.
Let us help.
The Condos of Richmond
CHURCH HILL & EAST END
While almost all of Richmond’s neighborhoods are doing well, the development momentum in the Eastern neighborhoods has never been stronger. It seems as if a new restaurant pops up each week while the renovators of Richmond are revamping the housing stock at an unprecedented rate.
What is the appeal? History. Proximity. Walkability.
Church Hill and points east are home to several condominium projects — Rocketts Landing, Nolde Bakery, and The Reserve are the most well known. Smaller projects such as the Belfry, St Patrick’s, and the Church Hill Gables are also a part of the neighborhood.
5000 Old Osborne Turnpike
Rocketts Landing is located on the eastern side of Richmond’s Downtown just across the border with Henrico County along the James River. When completed it will be a mixed-use, multi-building property that contains commercial office space, condos, and townhomes.
Rocketts Landing was Richmond’s first attempt at new urbanism. The developers, WVS Companies out of Northern Virginia, bought the property from the late Bill Abeloff who assembled the parcels in the 1990s.
Rocketts consists of four residential buildings:
- Sky Line – along the River
- Fall Line – along the River
- 210 Rock – a more contemporary condo across from the Sky Line property
- Cedarworks – built in a historic warehouse that fronts Route 5
Rockett’s is also home to several townhome projects. The Bankside Mews, a very upscale and luxurious set of townes, rests along the water and offers unobstructed views of both the city and James River.
2520 East Broad Street
Nolde Bakery is located in Church Hill along Broad Street between 25th and 26th Street. Nolde was brought online in 2005, only to experience the same thing that many condominiums did in the middle 2000s when the market turned. They were late in delivery and thus elected to rent the remaining units until the market improved. Once they revived sales in 2015, the property sold out very quickly.
The interior of Nolde is well done with a nice amenity package, including a movie theater, exercise facility, and outdoor space. The developer was able to incorporate many of the original architectural elements into the finished spaces, adding texture and authenticity to the condos.
9 North 25th Street & 2501 East Franklin Street
The Reserve project, located at the corner of East Franklin Street and 25th Street in Church Hill, is really a collection of two different buildings.
The original warehouse at 2501 E Franklin, built around 1900, was developed into 9 unique and upscale loft-style warehouse condos with garage parking and individual storage units.
The newer property, located at 9 North 25th Street, is 16 units and features a more contemporary aesthetic. The interiors were built with a modern material palette and more open architecture.
The Reserve has ample parking and many units come with private outdoor spaces. Storage is also available for each individual unit.
The downtown area of Richmond has been in the throes of residential rebirth since 2000. Many of the older and less efficient office and warehouse buildings have been converted for residential uses, bringing a residential base to the city that was largely nonexistent since the 1960s.
The majority of development has been on the ‘for rent’ side of the ledger, rather than ‘for sale’ side, but there are several condominiums Downtown that are available to be purchased. The Vistas Towers, Riverside on the James, and Gotham are probably the three most notable in the downtown marketplace. Miller & Rhoads was originally designed to be a condominium but, due to the market downturn as well as several legal/financing reasons, was turned into apartments in the latter part of 2010.
SHOCKOE VALLEY LOFTS
209 – 215 North 19th Street
The Shockoe Valley Lofts are located at 19th Street and Broad Street in the heart of Shockoe Bottom. It was a historic renovation of an older property by Robin Miller of Monroe Properties, one of Richmond’s first Downtown developers. Robin specializes in the use of Historic Tax Credit to renovate older historic properties, but can also build new infill when the opportunity presents itself.
VISTAS ON THE JAMES
301 Virginia Street
Vistas on the James is not only Richmond’s largest tower, but it offers the best views of any condo project in the Metro.
The Vistas is 18 floors of residential development with garage parking and secured entry, making it one of the safest projects as well. As a newly built hi-rise, the look and feel differs from the historically renovated projects.
It’s conveniently located along the Canal Walk with easy access to both the Shockoe Slip area and other entertainment and fine dining options.
1205 East Main Street
The Gotham Condominiums are located at 1205 East Main Street in the heart of Downtown. The building backs up to the Shockoe Slip area and is very well positioned for walkability to both entertainment and work.
Gotham was one of the first condominium projects developed in the Downtown market. It was conceived of by REO Enterprises and renowned local architect, David Johannas. At the time it was developed, Gotham represented one of the only condominiums in the Central Business District.
RIVERSIDE ON THE JAMES
1101 Haxall Point
Riverside on the James was originally built to be an apartment building, but was converted to a for sale project during the construction phase. The developer noticed that, in other markets, the condominium craze was arriving and elected to convert the project midstream from a rental project to a for sale project.
It’s located along the Canal Walk, near much of the downtown central business district. The recent development of the Reynolds North Plant site has helped complete the Canal Walk effort and brought a more vibrant nightlife to the area.
Some of the units, especially on the south and west sides of the building, have excellent views of the James River. The property offers an attached parking deck and secured entry.
6 NORTH 6TH
6 North 6th Street
The 6 North 6 project, located near 6th and Main Streets in Monroe Ward/Midtown, was developed in the early 2000’s in the envelope of a former book bindery.. It was originally developed as apartments, but was converted into condominiums in 2016.
6th Street does not come with parking, but there are multiple decks nearby, making it easy to secure parking off site. These units tend to be larger in size than most condominiums in the area and employ a traditional aesthetic on the interior.
701 Pine Street
The Overlook project is located at the southern tip of Oregon Hill between VCU, Hollywood Cemetery, and downtown. The units that front the river have some amazing views of downtown, as well as the Rock Falls. The project that was developed in the early part of the 2000s and then took a pause during the recession, with the final phase of 10 units being finished in 2017/18.
These are townhome-style condominiums and are mostly 2 & 3 bedrooms spaces. Some offer basements and/or drive under private garages.
JACKSON WARD & CARVER
As goes Jackson Ward, goes Downtown Richmond.
During Richmond’s darkest days of the 1970’s and 80’s, the formerly proud neighborhood of Jackson Ward became rundown and blighted – a far cry from the thriving hub of residential, retail, office, and entertainment it supported during prior decades.
Beginning in the middle to late 1990’s, VCU’s aggressive expansion and insatiable demand for space pushed the campus across Belvidere, up Broad Street, and into Monroe Ward. No neighborhood benefitted more than Jackson Ward.
Fast forward to today, and Jackson Ward is again a thriving neighborhood of residential single family homes, apartments and condominiums, creative office, art galleries, cafes, and some of Richmond’s most respected restaurants.
Jackson Ward’s strategic location places it equidistant to both VCU campuses, City Hall, the Bio Technology Park, the Convention Center, and the Coliseum. It is also home to the First Friday Art Walk, the 2nd Street Jazz Festival, and Broad Appetit.
212 East Clay Street
The 212 Condos, located at the corner of Clay and 3rd Streets, adjacent to the Convention Center, is a collection of 12 residential and several commercial, street-level condos in the eastern section of Jackson Ward.
The 212 departed from the more contemporary or industrial designs of most condos developed during the period and instead channeled a more traditional look and layout. Unit sizes tend to be a bit larger than other condo units and thus tend to appeal to a buyer with a greater space need.
112 East Clay Street
The 2C condos, located at the corner of 2nd Street and East Clay Street, are an interesting blend of both contemporary and industrial design. Developed in latter 2000’s, 2C features an open layout, concrete floors, and minimalist selections.
2C is also close to the entertainment district along 2nd Street, featuring the Hippodrome Theater and several restaurants. It is also close to both VCU campuses as well as both the City and State government complexes.
MARSHALL STREET BAKERY
110 West Marshall Street
The Marshall Street Bakery Condos is a mixed-use condo project of 23 residential units and roughly 3,000 SF of commercial space fronting Marshall Street near the intersection with Brook Road.
Developed in the middle 2000’s, the project was built in the a burned out shell of Mother Herbert’s Bakery. From the street, the rather benign facade minimizes the scale of the project.
For a project of its size, the MSBC has an excellent amenity package that features garage parking, a central courtyard, and exercise facility. Nearly all of the units offer some private outdoor space either overlooking Marshall Street or the interior courtyard.
101 West Marshall Street
This triangularly shaped concrete behemoth was really one of the first condo renovations of its scale in the Jackson Ward neighborhood.
Formerly the home of Emrick Chevrolet and built in the 1920s, it was purchased by the developer in the early 2000’s and marketed beginning in 2006.
Emrick is known for its unapologetic industrial authenticity, featuring soaring ceiling heights, walls of windows, concrete floors and open design.
Emrick has both garage and lot parking (depending on the units) and a public roof deck. Several of the units on the upper floors have their own private decks. One commercial unit, the former car showroom, is a part of the condominium.
FAN & MUSEUM DISTRICTS
The Fan and the Museum Districts have always been some of Richmond’s most sought after and stable neighborhoods. They form a mixed-use district known for its architecture and walkability.
Condominiums in both the Fan and Museum District tend to take on two different forms. During the early and middle 2000’s, when development was at its peak, many of the older 6 and 12 units tenement-style apartment buildings were converted from basic rental stock to fully renovated ownership options. Developers would buy these buildings, renovate the kitchens and baths, and generally try to open the floor plan in order to accommodate a more modern lifestyle. Often times, these buildings have some parking to the rear. Most most of these properties are either one bedroom/one bath or two bedroom/two bath units of less than 1200 SF.
Aside from converted tenements, several large-scale condominiums are also available within the Fan/Museum Districts. Properties like the Tuscan Villas, The Prestwould, and the Warsaw, are all larger scale condominiums that have existed for decades. These condominiums tend to have a much higher degree of variance amongst the units as over time, many have been renovated to different standards and thus the prices vary wildly.
In many cases, the condominiums within the Fan and Museum Districts serve lower price points than the increasingly expensive single family housing that makes up the majority of the available inventory of the area.
612 West Franklin Street
The Prestwould sits almost directly on the VCU campus and overlooks Monroe Park. With the continued growth of VCU and a tremendous amount of development all around the Prestwould site, unit owners must make peace with the fact that they live on what is, in effect, a college campus.
The interior common areas of the Prestwould are incredibly formal, and many of the units on upper floors offer spectacular views of the city.
It is also important to note that the dues structure at the Prestwould is higher than most condos and can cause sticker shock. The dues are higher because of the fact that many of the utilities are included in the dues, along with a doorman service. Make sure to do an apples to apples comparison when considering a purchase at the Prestwould.
1400 Floyd Avenue
The Warsaw’s location could only be described as fantastic. Located within the heart of the Fan District, the Warsaw offers easy access to many of the Fan’s best amenities.
The Warsaw is located on the 1400 block of Floyd Avenue just west of the main campus at VCU. It is one of the taller structures within the Fan District and the some of the upper floors offer excellent views of the city, which is somewhat rare in the Fan.
The Warsaw occupies the entire block between Floyd and Main and is protected by a brick wall that defines the site. It has secure access and plenty of green space, along with a small pool and parking. As with many of the older condominiums in Richmond, renovation levels between the different units may vary greatly and thus pricing within the project can be somewhat confusing to interested purchasers.
1333 West Broad Street
The Ironhouse Condos, located along Broad Street, are some of the closest condominiums to the VCU campus (other than the Prestwould).
Developed in the middle 2000’s, Ironhouse has become a favorite of parents who buy for their students instead of letting them live in the dorms. Ironhouse is popular with the young professional crowd as well.
Ironhouse features one bedroom/one bath and two bedroom/two bath condos (with several three bedroom/three bath units), making it ideal for a roommate situation.
Ironhouse also offers garage parking underneath.
1708 West Cary Street
The Cary Mews is a blend of two separate buildings:a historic warehouse renovated in an industrial chic motif, and a ‘ground-up’, newly constructed building that is decidedly more contemporary.
The warehouse side of the Cary Mews maintained many of the original elements in the renovation. The newer side incorporates many elements of modern design and a much more modern material pallet. Parking exists in a garage attached to the warehouse side.
1701 Hanover Avenue
The Sydney condominiums were built within an old church along with 1700 block of Hanover Avenue. They were developed in the early 2000’s by Monument Construction, a local developer/contractor who built numerous condos in many of Richmond’s historic neighborhoods during the period from 2000 – 2008
The units in the Sydney tend to be larger than the typical condo unit and each unit within the Sydney is unique due to the nature of building within a church.
503 North Boulevard
Tuscan villas are located along the Boulevard, near the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
The Tuscan Villas have been a favorite of Richmond residents for years. Between the proximity to many of Richmond’s best amenities (museums, Carytown, entertainment, greens spaces) as well as the relative affordability, the Tuscan Villas remains extremely popular with many types of buyers.
As the name would suggest, the property has a Mediterranean influence in both the interior and exterior design.
THE MULE BARN
2511 Mule Barn Alley
The Mule Barn is located in the alleyway just east of Robinson Street in the western edge of the Fan District. The Mule Barn and was formerly a barn that housed the mules who pulled the trolleys in and out of the repair facilities located on the south side of Cary Street.
Developed in the early 2000’s into a small niche condominium project, it employs the brick and beam aesthetic of the original building, creating a modern open warehouse feel in a district that features mostly parlor-driven segmented interior design in its residential stock of housing.
CONVERTED TENEMENT APARTMENTS
As prices were rising rapidly in both the Fan and Museum districts during the period before the crash, many developers elected to purchase three-story, tenement-style apartments and renovate them into condominiums.
These tenement-style apartments, mostly built during the early 1900’s, were typically one bedroom or two bedroom apartments and built in a ‘shotgun’ style (meaning long and narrow). As part of the renovations, developers would open the parlors to one another and create open floor plans with great rooms and modern eat-in kitchens along with upgraded master bedrooms and luxurious baths.
Richmond’s West End begins approximately at the Powhite Parkway and extends all the way to the University of Richmond campus on the western edge of the city line. The West End, as an overall term, typically describes any of the areas beginning in the western sections of the city and extending well into Henrico County.
Several condominium projects, generally of a larger scale, can be found in the West End, and are popular with those who wish to live closer to the city but not in and amongst the hustle and bustle of the more urban neighborhoods.
As one would expect, the West End offers posh and quaint boutique shopping, a wonderful selection of upscale restaurants, proximity to some of this region’s most respected parochial schools, as well as some of the area’s most spectacular residential architecture.
2511 Mule Barn Alley
The Tuckahoe is one of Richmond’s most iconic properties, located at the intersection of Cary Street Road and Three Chopt Road, directly across from the Country Club of Virginia.
The Tuckahoe, designed by famed Richmond architect, Duncan Lee, is a mid rise project whose stately exterior has defined the corridor since the late 1920’s.
As one would expect, the interior of the Tuckahoe offers a more formal version of elegance, reminiscent of many of the New York City luxury apartments built during the same period. The spaces within the Tuckahoe vary in size, shape, and renovation level, making the pricing varied as well.
5610 Grove Ave
The Tiber was originally slated for development in 2014, but a dispute between the development partners led to a nearly 3 year pause in its development, much to the chagrin of the original purchasers. After a high profile legal battle, the project was completed with owners’ taking possession in the middle to latter part of 2017.
Situated at the northern end of the Libbie-Grove shopping district, the location and luxurious nature of the project are appealing for the long time West End resident who no longer wants the responsibility of a 50+ year old home, but wants to stay in the area.
1200 Balustrade Boulevard
The story of Monument Square begins in the middle 2000’s, when Gumenick Properties acquired an old and inefficient apartment complex at the corner of Monument Avenue and Willow Lawn Drive, catty cornered from the Willow Lawn complex.
After a slow start, largely due to the economic fallout of the 2008 crash, Monument Square restarted sales efforts in 2013 and began to sell both upscale, one-level living condos in mid rise buildings and 3 story town homes along the exterior of the property.
The project is centered on a pool and clubhouse. And the re-emergence of Willow Lawn Mall, a wonderful mix of useful retail and dining options now exist only moments away.
22 West Lock Lane
Lock Lane is a conversion of a large 1920’s era apartment complex blocks from the Libbie-Grove shopping node in the heart of Richmond’s West End.
The developer renovated the existing apartments into condominiums, developed a series of townhome-style condos on some of the excess land, and added a pool complex in the central green space as a resident amenity.
The true strength of Lock Lane is its proximity in and amongst the beautiful and established neighborhoods of the West End. The condominium has proven to be popular as either a first purchase for someone who wishes to live in the area but finds the cost of single family housing out of reach, or for the buyer who has lived nearby but now wishes for a maintenance free lifestyle.
The primary neighborhoods of Northside — Ginter Park, Sherwood Park, and Bellevue — are some of Richmond’s most architecturally engaging.
Originally conceived of by Lewis Ginter, a wealthy businessman and philanthropist of the latter 1800’s, Ginter Park was widely considered to be the first suburb of Richmond, connected to Downtown by the nation’s first electric streetcar network.
1350 Westwood Avenue
In the early 2000’s, the old Richmond Memorial Hospital site along Westwood Avenue just west of Brook Road was purchased by a local development group and backed by the Ukrop family, one of Richmond’s most respected business success stories.
As with many projects developed during the period, the financial crash of 2008 essentially killed sales efforts for 3-4 years and forced the developers to carry projects until the market returned in the latter part of 2012. The 69 unit condo was largely sold out by 2016.
The units of Ginter Place are well appointed and large, making them a favorite of those who are looking for the conto lifestyle but need spaces that approach 2000 SF. In addition to larger spaces, the project features garage parking, secured storage units, a club room, and a guest suite.
The Veritas School, a private K – 12 school, now occupies the bordering Baptist Theological Campus site and has also purchased the remainder of the Richmond Memorial Hospital site — including the famed Laburnum House — that rests just to the east of the condo project.
MANCHESTER & SOUTHSIDE
The ‘Southside’ is generally considered to be the area on the south banks of the James River, extending deep into Chesterfield County.
For the long-time Richmond resident, the ‘Southside’ begins in the Manchester neighborhood, directly south of Downtown, and extends out Semmes and Forest Hill Avenues to the border with Chesterfield near the town of Bon Air.
39 East 3rd Street
The award-winning Decatur project is a incredibly upscale, 4 unit condo project located in Industrial Manchester on the rear side of Plant Zero/ArtWorks project between 3rd and 4th Streets.
The Decatur is a series of 3 uniquely sized, uniquely designed, and uniquely decorated residential condos on the upper floors and one commercial condo that occupies the street level.
Units in the Decatur range from 1800 SF to well over 4000 and have roof decks with some extremely picturesque views of the Downtown skyline and the James River. Garage parking is also part of this incredibly powerful project.
OLD MANCHESTER LOFTS
815 Perry Street
In the early 2000’s, local developer Robin Miller of Monroe Properties purchased a large warehouse in Manchester and developed loft-style warehouse condos. As with anything new in Richmond, he was told he would fail spectacularly. He did not, and sold out the project in short order.
The Old Manchester Lofts (and to some extent, the Gotham Condos in Downtown) started to change opinion about what the Richmond buyer really wanted. By creating one of the first ‘for sale’ loft projects, Robin proved that Richmond’s population was ready to move back into not only the amazing properties that had been ignored for years, but the neighborhoods that had been written off by the older Richmonder.
As the Manchester neighborhood continues to redevelop, the OML becomes surrounded by more residents, more retail, and more amenities.
2956 Hathaway Road
The Hathaway Towers, located just west of the Westover Hills and Willow Oaks neighborhoods, is recognized for its commanding height in what is otherwise a relatively flat residential and retail corridor.
Built in the 1970’s, Hathaway Towers has a distinctively 70’s vibe, although most of the units have undergone renovation. Due to the varied level of renovation among the individual units, pricing in the project can be a bit tough to decode.
The balconies for the upper units provide some beautiful vistas and the the guard desk provides a level of security not often found in the Richmond condo market.