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Hundreds of apartments take root on West Broad Street near UMFS campus
richmond gaining living space

Hundreds of apartments take root on West Broad Street near UMFS campus

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New apartment buildings are under construction along a stretch of West Broad Street.

One project is on what had been vacant land in the front part of the campus of UMFS, also known as United Methodist Family Services, at West Broad and North Hamilton streets. Richmond-based Spy Rock Real Estate Group is building the 250 apartments in a pair of buildings on the 4.5-acre site.

The other project is just west of Spy Rock’s development on the site of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ former headquarters building, where a 211-unit apartment building is under construction by a Virginia Beach-based developer.

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Work is well underway on Spy Rock’s apartment development.

“We’ll start delivering units by the end of the year [in 2020],” said Andrew Basham, a principal at Spy Rock who founded the firm with Taylor Williams in 2008.

“We expect to be completed on the apartments by the middle of 2021.”

However, construction on a planned 128-room hotel now is expected to start in the next couple of weeks, Basham said, adding that the delay in starting work on the hotel stems from the uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused in the hospitality industry.

“We delayed the start of the hotel a little bit just to put us in a position to deliver the hotel in the second half of next year, as opposed to the first half,” Basham said. “We feel pretty confident that we would return to more of a sense of normalcy by the second half of next year.”

Spy Rock’s hotels in Hampton Roads are doing well with rooms being occupied by beach and vacation travelers, he said. But bookings from business travel, however, have evaporated, Basham said.

Spy Rock’s apartments on the UMFS site will be housed in two buildings — one four-story building and a second building that starts at four stories on the section closest to Broad Street and then rises to five stories further back from the road.

Apartment amenities would include a swimming pool, fitness room and rooftop deck.

Plans call for 15,700 square feet of commercial space on the street level along Broad Street, but no leases have been signed yet for those business tenants, Basham said.

Two of the spaces are envisioned for restaurants — one that’s 3,500 square feet and another that’s 1,200 square feet, he said. The rest of the commercial space could be used for retail, offices or perhaps a dry cleaning business.

Spy Rock has developed other projects in the Scott’s Addition area near the UMFS campus including the Preserve apartment community with 194 units.

Spy Rock paid $6.7 million for a 99-year land lease covering 4.5 acres on the UMFS campus that had once been used for sports fields. The Richmond-based developer’s project at that site is the first stage of a long-range plan by UMFS to update the nonprofit’s 33-acre campus. Spy Rock’s lease is being used to help pay for plans to redevelop the UMFS campus where many buildings were constructed in the 1950s.

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Just west of the Spy Rock development is where Virginia Beach-based developer Kotarides is in the midst of building a 211-unit apartment building.

Plans for the Belmont at Broad project include a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse, resort-style pool and a cabana.

The project also includes plans to construct 8,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground level.

The first apartments are expected to be ready in 2021, Kotarides said in an October news release. Officials at Kotarides could not be reached for comment for an updated timeline on when those new apartment units are expected to be available.

The developer tore down the former headquarters for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, a complex of three buildings at 4000-4016 W. Broad St. that were built between 1954 and 1960.

sgorman@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6885

Business editor Gregory J. Gilligan contributed to this report.

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