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Developer eyes apartments with skyline view on 18th Street

NOTE – this article was originally published by RichmondBizSense.com (January 30, 2019)

by J. Elias O’Neal


A vacant wooded lot at the edge of Shockoe Bottom is being primed for an apartment development.

Genesis Properties is preparing to break ground this summer on a $26 million, five-story project on a 3.6-acre L-shaped parcel at 1900 Venable St.

Plans call for 151 apartments, said Ed Solarz, Genesis’ director of development, with 72 one-bedroom, 68 two-bedroom and 11 three-bedroom units.

“It’s very close to the heart of downtown, and within walking distance of city hall and the state capitol,” Solarz said. “It’s also not too far from Shockoe Bottom, which is seeing a lot of activity.”

Genesis Properties is set to build a $26 million, 150-unit apartment building at 1900 Venable St. in the East End. (Courtesy Walter Parks)

Construction on the project, which is yet to be named, is slated for August, Solarz said, with the complex set for delivery by late 2020.

Leasing would begin during Q1 2021, Solarz said.

A development plan was filed with the city’s planning division late last year. Genesis has owned the property through affiliates since 2007, city records show.

The project will offer income-based rents, Solarz said, with its financing covered by a mix of tax-exempt bonds, low-income housing tax credits and traditional financing.

Bordering North 18th and Venable streets, the property sits on a sloping bluff, giving the future apartment community vista views of the city’s skyline.

“The site sits on one of the best views of downtown in the city,” Solarz said. “In designing the building, we wanted to take advantage of the site and maximize the views for the future residents.”

To maximize site use, plans call for the development to be built to the edge of the sidewalk along North 18th and Venable streets — disturbing roughly 2 acres of the 3.6 acres that make up the site.

Access to the property is via North 18th Street, with a large buffer and retaining wall being planned for the rear of the development and the existing Jefferson Townhouses property, which takes up much of the block.

A general contractor for the development is pending, Solarz said.

Richmond-based Walter Parks Architects is designing the apartment project. Timmons Group is completing the civil engineering and landscaping. Balzer & Associates has been tapped as the structural engineer, and ONeil Engineering Services is handling mechanical, electrical and plumbing design.

Upon completion, Genesis will manage and lease the property.

Amenities would include a bike storage area, fitness center, clubroom, covered parking and a rooftop deck.

Genesis’ East End project is one of several the company has underway across the city.

In Northside, the firm continues rehabbing the 1940s-era Bellevue Apartments, located along the east side of Chamberlayne Avenue between North and Westminster avenues.

The company also rehabbed the Raven Place Apartments nearby at 1710 E. Broad St. in 2009, and the Shockoe Valley View apartments in 2017 at 1904 Cedar St. in Shockoe Valley.