Developer says new apartments could help downtown thrive

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond developer wants to turn a large business building into a high-end apartment complex. Right now, it's zoned for business use only, but  that could change.

Developer Howard Kellman wants to turn the Massey Energy building into a high-end apartment complex. The 56,000 square foot structure that's been around since the 1950s would have about 70 units and a big bonus. One parking spot dedicated to each unit.

"That's very important to downtown," said Kellman. "I know parking is an issue. That's why this building seems to be so wonderful to us because it did come with parking."

Kellman has already looked at the structure inside and out. He says it's perfect for apartments. He's developed several downtown properties, and says this building is in a great spot for young professionals, students, and anyone else who wants to live downtown.

"When that happens, you have a more secure neighborhood," Kellman added. "The more people on the street, the more secure the neighborhood is."

This prime location gives easy access to Brown's Island, VCU, Shockoe Slip, and the freeway. David Gallagher owns a company next door and welcomes new housing.

"I think it's a great idea," said Gallagher. "Any time Richmond gets new residents, we see commerce grow and local business thrive."

The city says the property is zoned for business only, but Kellman is optimistic he can apply for a special use permit.

"We just think this will be a great project and great for the city of Richmond."

The developer is still in the middle of negotiations. We should know if he's able to develop at this property within the next couple months.