The revival of one of the city’s most prized properties will be anchored by – what else? – a ton of apartments.
Tom Dickey and Chris Johnson of The Monument Cos., two thirds of DKJ Richmond Inc., unveiled preliminary plans for the seven-acre parcel at 101 S. Davis Ave on Thursday night. Those plans included about 280 apartments, 20,000 square feet of commercial space and 320 on-site parking spots for tenants and shoppers. Initial designs also feature a pool, dog park and playground. Developers expect to invest $44 million in the property, including the $9.12 million sale price, Dickey says.
“Luxury is a word that is used a lot, but these will be very, very, very high-end, nice apartments,” Johnson says.
The majority of the apartments will be one-bedroom and priced around $1,300 with utilities included, Dickey says. No tenants are lined up for the commercial space yet, but the developers are already receiving interest from both local and big-box retailers, they told attendees. At most, Johnson says, a single restaurant could be included in the final plans.
In July, GRTC received a dozen bids for the property, which appraised for $7 million. The transit company's board of directors voted in September to move forward with a sale to DKJ. The deal is expected to close in November.
DKJ Richmond is seeking historic tax credits for the project. Dickey and Johnson expect work to begin at the site in December. A preliminary schedule slates renovations to the existing structures to be completed by the end of 2016, and new construction of two buildings to wrap up in mid-2017.
About 50 people attended the meeting held at John B. Cary Elementary school. The main concern voiced? Parking.
Laura Maxey, who lives about a block away from the bus barn property, says the influx of outsiders to the neighborhood’s restaurants and businesses creates routine parking headaches already. Adding 300 more apartments to the mix can only make things worse if the city doesn’t intervene somehow, she says.
“Richmond is a car-driven city. If we had more people riding the bus and riding bikes and walking everywhere, it wouldn’t be as much of a problem, but they drive,” she says.
The developers pointed out they had considered the issue ahead of time and were not slating as many apartments as they could have.
“We’re definitely sensitive to parking in the neighborhood … typically, developers and developments are going to get as much density as they can, particularly when you’re paying $9.1 million for a parcel,” Johnson says.
Adds Dickey: “Based on the size and the square footage [of the property], we could have put 1,000 units on this parcel, so we’re doing a third of what is allowed by right under current zoning.”
Kelley Davis, a Fan resident of 22 years, says she’s not yet sold on the plans. And she won’t be, she adds, unless neighborhood input is taken seriously moving forward.
“Right now, there’s an opportunity to do this right,” Davis says. “But there’s a lot of ways to do it wrong.”
A second public meeting on the project is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 22 at Cary Elementary.