Developers look to create ‘City Center’ in Jackson Ward
RICHMOND, Va. — A development duo behind one of the largest mixed-use projects under construction in Jackson Ward says it has no plans of slowing down as it looks to amass more real estate in the vicinity.
Since buying into the neighborhood last summer, Eric Phipps and Bryan Smith of SNP Properties have unleashed a fury of investment throughout a two-block stretch of downtown that reaches over both sides of West Broad Street.
“We see a lot of opportunities in the area,” Phipps said. “Initially, that’s what brought us down here.”
SNP Properties entered the downtown market last September, snapping up three buildings on the same block at 5-7, 13-21 and 27-29 W. Broad St. for a total of $15 million.
A month later they closed on four small, contiguous parcels from 8 W. Marshall St. to 2 E. Marshall St. for about $2.8 million, where a five-story apartment building with two stories of underground parking is under construction to the tune of at least $25 million.
At the start of the year, the development firm launched a complete redo of the 102-unit West Broad Street Apartments at 17 W. Broad St., where it is adding stainless appliances, new washers and dryers, granite countertops, tile back splashes in the kitchen and new lighting to all of the units.
The building also will undergo exterior renovations, which includes a paint job and replacement of some of alleyway cobblestones.
There are more professional people moving into the city, and given the location of this property, we felt it needed to be upgraded to attract those types of renters,” Phipps said.
While they would not say how much they’re investing in the redo of the West Broad Street Apartments, Phipps said the firm is planning to rebrand the property The Walker at City Center – a tribute to the Maggie Lena Walker Memorial across the street and part of an overall rebranding of that section of the neighborhood the group is trying to launch.
“We’re calling the area City Center because of its access to everything,” Phipps said. “It’s between VCU and VCU Medical, it’s got BRT right in the heart of the area … it’s becoming the city’s center.”
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