It’s a match made in “green” heaven.
Justin French, one of the largest developers in Richmond, has acquired a 50 percent stake in Cityspace Solar.
Cityspace founder Blue Crump said the new partnership would help the firm grow in Richmond and in Washington.
“He owns so much real estate, and we are including solar on lots of project and moving very rapidly,” Crump said.
Crump added that his construction company, Cityspace Construction, would remain a separate business unit for now.
Cityspace Solar will soon start adding solar panels to several French properties, including his Shockoe Slip office, the Fountain Bookstore, eight row houses in Church Hill and apartment conversion projects in Scott’s Addition.
Cityspace Solar will continue to handle projects not owned by French, including a wine-tasting room in Louisa County and the Virginia Commonwealth University physical plant.
Crump said that Cityspace would work closely with ReStore, a reclaimed lumber store owned by French that opened over the winter. French opened ReStore in Shockoe Slip as a showroom for lumber recovered from a shuttered B.F. Goodrich factory in Georgia.
“That brings reclaimed material in some of the redevelopment projects and with renewable energy is just a natural fit,” Crump said.
French said he and Crump already share the same customer base: people that are inclined to use green energy.
“My goal with Blue is to incorporate him under the umbrella with what I’m doing with ReStore,” French said.
The partnership comes as French prepares to open another ReStore showroom in the Georgetown section of Washington. Cityspace will have an office there, too. (Cityspace already has an office in Annapolis.)
The D.C. operation will target government contracts and the sort of green projects that Crump hopes grow in popularity as a result of new incentives.
“As cap-and-trade goes through the Senate, utility rates are going to go up,” Crump said. “As you have increased utility rates, all of a sudden solar just starts to make good fiscal sense.”
Cityspace Solar also brokers renewable energy certificates on the secondary market: Businesses buy and sell the certificates to meet energy regulations.
French said energy certificates would continue to be an important part of the business.
“Going forward, I think that will also help subsidize the model for any type of green energy,” French said.