With sale imminent, contents of Model Tobacco complex up for grabs

(PHOTO: J. Elias O’Neal)

RICHMOND, Va. — His hands and shoes covered in dust, Charles Keck shuffled around the main floor of the Model Tobacco Co. building Thursday afternoon as workers began organizing piles of items and old equipment.

“Things just kind of accumulated over time,” Keck said. “I figured now is the time to just let most of it go.”

Keck, and his late wife Eileen, have owned the former tobacco complex at 1000 and 1100 Jefferson Davis Highway since the late 1980s.

Now, he’s preparing to sell the property to Maryland-based developer Chris Harrison, principal of C.A. Harrison Cos.

Harrison put the 15-acre complex under contract in August 2017, with plans to convert the main Art Deco-style building into 275 apartments. The project also would include a 47,000-square-foot entertainment venue that would house a beer garden and space for a restaurant.

(J. Elias O’Neal)

Brokers Ryan Rilee and Tom Rosman of One South Commercial are representing the Kecks in the sale, which is imminent.

But before the building can be sold, tons of memorabilia, equipment, tools and other items scattered around the premises must be cleared.

Saturday auction

To help with that effort, Mechanicsville-based Grindstaff’s Auction Marketing Group LLC is holding an auction March 16 onsite at the Model Tobacco building.

Jimmy Grindstaff, who owns Grindstaff’s with his wife Anne, said the event is open to the public, with preview tours of the items beginning at 8 a.m. He said the auction will begin around 10 a.m. and could last until 2 p.m. that day.

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