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Capital One buys Shockoe building that will house startup incubator

Capital One Financial paid $1.84 million for the building at 1717 E. Cary St. (Courtesy City of Richmond)

RICHMOND, Va. — A credit card giant has opened its wallet to buy a downtown building and back the area’s startup scene.

Capital One Financial last week paid $1.84 million for 1717 E. Cary St., a five-story, 36,000-square-foot Shockoe Bottom building where a startup incubator called Startup Virginia is taking shape.

The sale marks a quick flip for local entrepreneurs Will Loving and Brad Cummings, who are behind Startup Virginia and bought the former tobacco warehouse through 1717 East Cary LLC in September 2016 for about $1.25 million.

Loving and Cummings announced their plan to redevelop the building last fall – prior to Capital One announcing its involvement – looking to mirror their concept after successful startup incubators such as American Underground in Durham, North Carolina, and the Capital Factory in Austin, Texas.

“(Richmond) does not have a high-growth company business incubation space,” Cummings said. “The incubator will not only create an environment where early stage companies are surrounded by like companies, but also surround them with mentors that have started and sold companies, surrounding them with potential funding.”

Cummings would not disclose details about the genesis of the Capital One deal.

Proceeds from the building’s sale will funnel back to Startup Virginia, a nonprofit. Cummings would not say how those funds would be used.

With Capital One as the owner of the building, Cummings said he and Loving can focus on growing the incubator.

“That relieves us of the burden of managing the real estate and lets us focus on running the incubator and bringing in new partners to support this effort,” Cummings said.

The building will be redeveloped into three floors of office space for Cummings and Loving’s venture, while Capital One plans to occupy the two remaining floors.

Monument Construction is the general contractor. Commonwealth Architects and SMBW designed the space.

Cummings would not comment on renovation costs or sources of funding.

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