A 300-unit apartment complex along with retail space is planned for North Arthur Ashe Boulevard on land where Buz and Ned’s Real Barbecue and other businesses are now.
Level 2 Development and SJG Properties, two development companies based in Washington, have acquired five parcels totaling 3.3 acres for the planned $80 million mixed-use project, the companies announced Monday.
The project would be one of the largest apartment complexes in the Scott’s Addition area.
“Even though we’re Washington developers ... we love Richmond, Virginia,” said David Franco, principal and co-founder of Level 2 Development. “We’re very familiar; we’re very excited. There’s a lot of growth opportunity in Richmond. We’ve seen businesses coming to Richmond and population growth in the area. So we’re really excited about the prospect of working in Richmond.”
Plans call for construction to begin in August 2022, with an estimated finish in August 2024, the developers said.
The 300-unit apartment building would be built on three of the five parcels, taking up what is now at 1117, 1119 and 1203 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. The building would have 14,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
Buz and Ned’s Real Barbecue, founded in 1992 as a food cart and opened as a storefront at 1119 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. a couple of years later, would have to relocate. Level 2 Development said it will work with the restaurant owner to potentially keep the eatery in the project.
“We’re particularly sensitive to existing tenants,” Franco said. “So we’re definitely eager and open to discussing opportunities for Buz and Ned’s to come back into the new building or even relocate to another section of the project, perhaps the North end retail, which will be repositioned.”
Buz Grossberg, the owner of Buz and Ned’s, could not be reached for comment.
The two other parcels the developers bought — at 1207 and 1209 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. — would be kept.
The building at 1207 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. is leased to Cort Furniture, which operates a furniture rental and clearance center, and to Tilt Creative + Production, a Richmond-based branding agency that operates studios there. Both tenants will remain.
Stacy Murphy, Tilt Creative’s chief operating officer and executive producer, said she has known of plans for the apartment complex for a few months and is happy “new life” is coming to that area. Tilt has leased space at this location since 2015, she said.
“We’re thrilled that they’re going to be adding to the beautification of the Boulevard,” she said, “which I think could definitely use it, and so we’re excited to have a few good neighbors on the street.”
The 13,000-square-foot vacant building at 1209 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. — at West Leigh Street across from the Movieland at Boulevard Square theater complex — will be repositioned into a creative office and retail space, the developers said.
The price that Level 2 Development-SJG Properties paid for the five parcels was not revealed and had not been reflected in Richmond’s online property records. The total assessed value for the five parcels is nearly $9 million, according to the city’s online property records.
The planned project will join a surge in apartment construction activity in the Scott’s Addition area.
At 1101 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd., just south of the Level 2 Development-SJG Properties project, is where a Maryland-based developer received approval last year to build a six-story co-living building. At the time, Outlier Realty Capital had proposed having 29 dwelling units with each having groups of five or six bedrooms. Tenants would share a communal kitchen and central living area.
An entity tied to Outlier Realty bought the property for $1.225 million in February, according to the city’s online property records.
An official from Outlier Realty could not be reached for comment on the status of the plans for the co-living building project.
On Myers Street, behind the planned project from Level 2 Development-SJG Properties, is The Scout, an apartment building with more than 200 units developed by Richmond-based Spy Rock Real Estate Group. Tenants started moving into that complex last year.
Next to The Scout is the River City Roll boutique bowling alley, which opened in 2018.
One of the largest apartment complexes in Scott’s Addition is under construction now. Capital Square, a Henrico County-based real estate investment and management company, and Greystar Real Estate Partners of Charleston, S.C., are developing a six-story apartment building that would take up the city block bounded by Roseneath Road, Mactavish Avenue, and West Moore and Norfolk streets.
That 350-unit apartment building will be across Roseneath Road from The Dairy Bar restaurant and across Moore Street from Väsen Brewing Co. and Stella’s Grocery.
Level 2 Development is a real estate firm that has developed more than 75,000 square feet of retail space and 1,500 residential units, mostly in the Washington region including redevelopment along D.C.’s 14th Street corridor.
SJG Properties is a real estate company that has developed commercial and residential projects in the Washington area since 1965. Its current portfolio exceeds 800,000 square feet of space.