Fifty-man Live Well Financial leased about 8,000 square feet in Boulders Center in Chesterfield. [It’s the first new lessee since Hertz purchased the offices as part of a five-building, $25 million deal with Parkway Properties that closed in March.]
Michael Hild, CEO at Live Well, said he was leaving the One Capital Square building at Eighth and Main streets and moving to Chesterfield in part to escape the city’s high gross receipts tax, a tax imposed on businesses based on sales that can be as high as $0.58 on every $100.
“We opened seven years ago, and we paid the high taxes,” he said. “But we have significantly higher revenues and institutional investors we have to answer to. We just can’t justify the enormous tax burden. The City of Richmond has the highest gross receipts tax in the area.”
Chesterfield, where Boulders Center is located, has a gross receipts tax rate of about $0.20 per $100.
“We love the City of Richmond and would have stayed if we’d found an agreement on the tax issue and found a building with an uninterrupted power source, but unfortunately we couldn’t do that. We found a space in Tobacco Row that would have worked, but when we made no progress on the tax issue, we had to seek other options.”
The City of Richmond did not have a response to a request for comment prepared by press time.
Live Well sells pools of mortgages issued by the government mortgage-backing agency Ginnie Mae. The company also buys mortgage pools and services the underlying loans.
Live Well was also looking for was a generator that would ensure the building would always have power, something he said he didn’t have at One Capital Square. Hild said that last September the company lost power, phone and Internet when a water main broke, which nearly spelled disaster for the company.
“It almost put us out of the business,” he said. “We’re so dependent on being open during banking hours. We needed to be able to remain open and in business regardless of the weather.”
Live Well will move into Boulders Center on April 1.
The lease at Boulders Center leaves about 25,000 square feet of space vacant, said Suzanne White, a broker for Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer who represented the landlord.
“Live Well’s lease takes down much of the biggest block of vacant space in the building, which was about 11,000 square feet on the fourth floor,” White said.
White’s colleague Evan Magrill also worked on the deal, and Brian Berkey, with Thalhimer, represented Live Well.
The quoted price on space at Boulders Center is $16.50 per square foot per year.
Live Well is planning to renovate the space. In addition to Boulders Center, Hertz also owns Winchester and Moorefield I, II and III.
Will Davis, the head of economic development for Chesterfield County, said companies often move around the area based on individual needs and that gross receipts tax is only one consideration.
“We could have a company move from Chesterfield to downtown to be close to a particular customer, for example,” Davis said. “People move around the area depending on their particular need, and we want people to be in the best location for them. We try to promote regionally. We don’t go out and market against each other.”