Restaurant, apartments planned for Shockoe city block - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Restaurant, apartments planned for Shockoe city block

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email

Posted by Colby Rogers

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Three developers plant to turn a city block in Shockoe Bottom filled with rundown buildings into condos and shopping.

The project continues the Shockoe Bottom trend of saving historic buildings like the 19th century firehouse on Main Street and giving it a new purpose. In 1899, the now-abandoned building was the home of Fire Company No. 2

Developer Tom Dickey says the building once had two unique features - an open window that looked out onto Main Street, a bridge between buildings and a balcony. Dickey says those are features he'd like to incorporate into a new restaurant on the site.

A restaurant is just the cornerstone of the vision for three local developers. They own the entire city block from Main Street to Franklin Street that including an 1890s fishing bobber manufacturing plant. It will be restored and turned into 41 apartments.

"After that, we're going to tear down the adjacent property - the old Secrets in the City nightclub - and build 80 new apartments there," Dickey said.

The renovations will feature 220 apartments in all, including a five-story building, a parking deck hidden in the center of the development, and 12,000 square feet of retail along Main Street.

"That's really been our focus over the last few years," said developer Chris Johnson, "Renovating historic buildings, bringing density to the Bottom and other areas of the city. It's a model that works and people really want to live in the city."

According to real estate appraisals of this Shockoe Bottom, more than 2,000 people live within a five-block radius and 95 percent of the apartment units are full.

The developers of 21st and Main say they'll have no problem filling the apartments and that the biggest challenge is getting the first construction loan.

 "We've been beating the streets for about three months now," said developer Marcus Galt. "Couldn't have been worse timing to try to secure a construction loan."

A loan for the project could finally be secured next week.

Construction on the old bobber building could start next month. Depending on the economy, the entire multimillion-dollar project could take 3 to 5 years to complete.

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