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$25.6 million sale of Guardian Place helps UMFS open center for youth mental health in Richmond

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Remaining cold long after the rain is gone.

UMFS, a statewide nonprofit specializing in child and family services, is making major renovations to its West Broad Street campus. New renovations and an expansion to its school are being funded in part through the sale of Guardian Place, an affordable senior community on its site.

UMFS has operated programs for high-risk and vulnerable children out of its campus at 3900 W. Broad St. since 1900. The organization is primarily known for those services helping children. It added Guardian Place, an affordable assisted senior living community, to its campus in 1994.

UMFS recently sold Guardian Place to a multifamily developer, Fairfield, for $25.6 million. Funds from that sale are helping with two expansion projects.

Guardian Place is a two-building facility co-located on the Broad Street Campus with 236 apartments across 6.5 acres. UMFS CEO Nancy Toscano said the nonprofit sold the building to expand its services for youth.

“Guardian Place was a part of UMFS, but it was a bit different than everything else we did. We felt like if we found the right buyer that focuses on affordable elderly living, then it could be a win-win for both the residents and UMFS,” said Toscano, adding that it was important for UMFS to find a buyer that intended to keep the property as an affordable senior housing complex.

“It took close to a year to find the right buyer,” Toscano said. “We picked [Fairfield] because they had the intention of keeping it as senior affordable housing and they had the track record to back it up.”

UMFS said all Guardian Place staff will continue their employment through the ownership change.

In addition to the $25.6 million in proceeds from that sale, UMFS worked with donors to meet construction costs for the two new additions.

UMFS recently opened an $11 million renovation of its Child & Family Healing Center. This longstanding residential treatment program has trauma-informed care for youth who are working to overcome emotional and behavioral challenges. The newly refurbished building has residential capacity for up to 50 kids. This building was the first of two phases in UMFS’ capital campaign for updates to its campus.

The second phase is an addition to the nonprofit’s Charterhouse School, a specialized educational program for K-12 youth with special needs.

“We have really outgrown our facility,” Toscano said. “We use different buildings on our campus to manage the overflow, but this new addition is helping us to expand and provide a higher-quality setting.”

Rain is most consistent between about 4-9pm on Tuesday, then just spotty showers after midnight

The new-build school addition will include about 10 classrooms, a state-of-the-art dining facility for residential children and a recreational area. New classrooms will include vocational classrooms in such subjects as cosmetology, technology, culinary arts and horticulture.

“Our whole mission is to serve vulnerable children. The way we define that is kids who can’t succeed in typical mainstream settings,” Toscano said. “Sometimes it’s finding a vocational path. That’s why we have more specialized classrooms and programs designed for kids who might not go to college, but they need a career path that will help them succeed as adults.”

UMFS says it has stretched its 150 students into spaces across its campus and needed the extra space. A typical public school might have class sizes between 25 and 30 students. UMFS’ class sizes are around eight students and have supports like teacher aides, nurses or reading specialists.

UMFS expects the Charterhouse School addition to open in August. The estimated cost for that addition is between $11 million and $12 million.

(804) 649-6911

Twitter: @SeanJones_RTD


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