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Downtown building conversion heats up

David Larter March 6, 2013 8
The Massey building at 4 N. Fourth St.

The Massey building at 4 N. Fourth St.

The deal is inked and construction is underway to turn the former home of a Richmond coal giant into downtown’s newest apartment building.

The Massey Energy building at 4 N. Fourth St., a joint venture by developer Howard Kellman and the principals of the Monument Companies, is being converted to 73 one- and two-bedroom apartments and is slated to open this summer.

“We’re shooting for end of July, early August,” Kellman said. “We don’t have a name for the project just yet. I think we’ve agreed on it, but we’ve agreed on it three times already. It’s still in the works.”

The contractor is Monument Construction, and the project, which Kellman said would run between $7 million and $8 million, is financed by StellarOne Bank.

The developers bought the building from Massey in early December for $2.6 million under the name Bugatti II LLC.

BizSense reported in March that the building was under contract with Kellman and his partners, Tom Dickey and Chris Johnson of the Monument Companies.

Kellman said the property, built in 1951, will be eligible for tax credits for the property.

Legend Property Group will manage the building and the leasing of units, Kellman said.

When the project is finished, there will be almost 600 new apartments within a few blocks of downtown, including the Massey building, the redeveloped Hotel John Marshall, the Miller & Rhoads building and the recently opened First National Bank rehab.

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8 Comments »

  1. John Murden March 6, 2013 at 7:05 am - Reply

    I love the work that the Kellman’s have done in Church Hill. It’s worth a story of it’s own.

    A huge piece of the recent resurgence in Church Hill is because the Kellman’s did the infrastructure work by buying and making the buildings nice and available. The Roosevelt, Dutch and Co, WPA Bakery, Anthony’s on the Hill, Captain Buzzy’s, and Cyclus Bike Shop are all Church Hill businesses which operate in Kellman-owned and renovated businesses.

  2. John Murden March 6, 2013 at 7:06 am - Reply

    should read “which operate in Kellman-owned and renovated BUILDINGS.”

    it’s still early folks :)

  3. camims March 6, 2013 at 8:00 am - Reply

    I’m curious. In an effort to keep our City economically diverse, are there any “affordable” apartment homes available in any of these projects. Are we continuing to segregate our communities in the City?

    • Jay March 6, 2013 at 9:31 am - Reply

      In short: no.

      The average rent in downtown RVA is somewhere around $1000. Let’s be generous and say that includes all utilities [I'm pulling the $1000 figure from a Times-Dispatch article. I'd say $1000/mo would be close to the total expenditures on a 1br.]

      Using the standard affordability ratio that assumes total housing expenditures are 30% of income, one would have to make $40,000 to afford the apartment. Median household income in Richmond is just over $31,000.

  4. Todd Foster March 6, 2013 at 8:59 am - Reply

    I’m not so thrilled about it. Regardless of the interior finishes it still looks like an institutional, hospital like building (or something from the cold war era). like the old ginter place hospital….it still looks dull from the outside. maybe it’s just me but there’s no exterior character to this building. HTCs don’t always make a deal work but good luck.

  5. Nathan Hughes March 6, 2013 at 9:15 am - Reply

    @camims: There is a great program for multi-family projects that the Realtors Association helped to pass a few years ago that gives incentives for just that — setting aside a certain percent of the units for low-income families. The idea is to not only provide affordable housing, but also not to concentrate poverty. Hopefully the developers doing these renovations all over town lately are taking steps to utilize the incentives.

  6. Morgan March 6, 2013 at 9:39 am - Reply

    I think they are also getting mixed income funding for this project, but I’m not 100% positive on that.

  7. Matt March 6, 2013 at 11:43 am - Reply

    While not the subject of this article, I completely agree with John’s post regarding the investments that Kellman has made in Church Hill. His impact on Church Hill has been practically miraculous. He’s doing an outstanding job up there. Love it!

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