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West Grace apartments get squared away

David Larter April 16, 2013 9
900 West Grace (Photo by David Larter)

An 11-story building is coming to 900 W. Grace St. (Photo by David Larter)

A new apartment tower near VCU is getting ready to go vertical next week.

Basement and foundation work will begin Monday on the Square, an 11-story building that will cost about $20 million, said project developer Phil Roper.

A rendering of the planned apartment building. (Courtesy of Plus Management)

A rendering of the planned apartment building at 900 W. Grace St. (Courtesy of Plus Management, produced by RenderSphere, LLC)

A strip center at 900 W. Grace St. was demolished last week to make room for the 154,000-square-foot development. The project will add 156 apartments to the VCU campus and 3,400 square feet of retail on the ground floor.

Roper is partnering with developer George Emerson on the project. The two own Plus Management and proposed the tower last year.

“The big hold-up was getting the utilities in place,” Roper said. “Those are finally in place, and we got our permit last week, so I think we have a green light.”

Emerson Construction Group is the general contractor. The project was designed by Walter Parks Architect.

The asking price for the tower’s ground floor retail space is $24 per square foot per year, according to a Loopnet flyer.

Sean Eichert, a broker with Plus Management, said he’s had a lot of interest in the space.

“It’s actually been fairly overwhelming,” he said. “We’ve had about six serious proposals for the space. … We’re not having to make concessions – all of the proposals are coming in at full rent.”

Retail has struggled near the VCU campus. A VCU report last year listed retail vacancy at 25 percent in the roughly 18-block lay of the campus.

The report showed a total of about 112,000 square feet of retail with about 27,000 square feet of vacancy.

Roper said the tower should be completed by July 2014.

Roper is developing an adjacent property at 912 W. Grace St. into a seven-story structure for VCU. That project will be a 78,000-square-foot, $15 million office building with some classrooms, he said. It is being funded by the VCU Real Estate Foundation.

Chesterfield developer Steve Uphoff is planning a $12 million tower down the street on the site of the BP station at Grace and Belvidere streets.

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9 Comments »

  1. Brad April 16, 2013 at 6:40 am - Reply

    Very exciting to see private development in the area.

  2. joe April 16, 2013 at 6:41 am - Reply

    This is gong to look great on that corner.

  3. Sam April 16, 2013 at 7:28 am - Reply

    Just curious because I didn’t see any indication in the story…where are all these people supposed to park? Is the basement going to be a garage?

  4. Tom April 16, 2013 at 8:00 am - Reply

    There will be parking under the building.

  5. Bruce Hobart April 16, 2013 at 11:21 am - Reply

    This is exciting news! George Emerson and Phil Roper constitute a “Class Act” in the development arena and Sean Eichert is an exceptionally talented broker. I had the pleasure of negotiating a lease recently with Plus Management which included a final “look ‘em in the eye” meeting with Sean and Mr. Emerson. It ended with a handshake, they performed on time/on budget and did a first class job for my client.
    I wish them the best of luck in this venture!

  6. jd April 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    Too many windows, they need to take about 1/2 of them out, and use indirect lighting or these units will never lease up (tongue in cheek)

    • Jay April 17, 2013 at 7:14 am - Reply

      Ha!

  7. joe April 17, 2013 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Its not about parking. You can walk and bike easily here. There are numerous transit routes a block from this building. Its possible to live here and not own a car. There are way too many ugly surface parking lots in downtown now.

  8. marcus sq April 25, 2013 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Getting the city ready for 2015, now we need to start working on the actual Monroe Park … and the Wards then move into the downtown area (aka Broad Street) as well as around the area where the centennial towers never went up at. Also can anyone tell me why a urban outfitters could not go downtown as well as many of these other suburban stores.

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