26 condominiums planned for office building site on Libbie Avenue

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This almost 100-year-old, 3,700-square-meter building and its parking lot are to be demolished and converted into 26 condominiums. (Jonathan Spiers photo)

The influx of apartment buildings in the Libbie-and-Grove area shows no signs of slowing as a medical office building is being developed there for a condominium nearly twice the size of the nearby Tiber condominiums.

A permit application filed with the city last week shows plans for a 26-unit development that will include the two-story building and parking lot on Libbie Ave. 417-419, which currently houses the Vascular Surgery Associates office in the West End.

The nearly 100-year-old building was to be demolished to make way for a three- and four-story structure that would fill the acre site. The building would have different facades along the Libbie and accommodate the majority of the condominiums on three floors above a partially underground parking garage.

Two additional units would form the fourth floor, set back from the rooftop street overlooking Libbie. A communal roof area for all homeowners would also be made available.

Behind the project is Urban Generation Living, a New York-based developer who was involved in the conversion of the former One Monument Avenue complex on Stuart Circle.

The Libbie Project Special Use Permit application was submitted by UGL Management, a Glen Allen-based LLC listed by Stuart Cantor as a contact. Cantor is President of TitleWorks of Virginia, which shares a building with the LLC’s office address.

Cantor has been in the news lately as one of two local businessmen in the crosshairs of the trustee overseeing the bankruptcy case of Live Well Financial, the former Chesterfield mortgage company owned by Michael Hild. Cantor was a former board member of Live Well.

Conceptual views show the condominium building with different facades along Libbie Avenue. (Images courtesy of the City of Richmond)

Also on the project is Bruce Tyler, a Baskervill school principal and former Richmond councilor and mayoral candidate. Tyler represents UGL Management in his inquiry and is part of the Baskervill team behind the project design. HG Design Studio is the civil engineer and landscape architect.

Tyler, who answered a call to Cantor, said the project grew out of the Libbie property for sale, with John Carpin, Garrison Gore, Malcolm Randolph and Charles Wentworth of Colliers taking care of the listing. He said UGL has a contract for the property that is pending approval of the permit.

Tyler said the project is following in the footsteps of another multi-family development recently approved along the corridor: Eagle Construction from VA’s plan for 14 townhouses at 509 and 511 Libbie Ave.

This location is across from The Tiber, a 14-unit condominium building with a detached cottage unit that – along with last year’s update to the city’s master plan – started the multi-family ball in the area. Condos have also emerged with multiple infill developments and the mixed-use Westhampton on Grove development.

“We wanted to create something that we thought would really show what can be done with a condominium project in this community in a way that would continue to create a more village-like concept,” Tyler said Monday. “With the exception of the Westhampton Theater project, most projects in this area so far have had a single facade, which gives it a more suburban feel.”

“We wanted to get away from it, similar to the last special-use permit project,” he said, referring to the Eagle Townhomes. “We felt we could do that with this condominium project, where we create a destination point that is unique but also adds to the community’s look and feel.”

The configuration of the building along Libbie Avenue, with eight condominiums filling each of the three main floors.

The condo building, which looks more like downtown row houses, would have multiple facades using materials like brick, HardiePlank siding, wood-like moldings, and synthetic slate shingle roofs.

The condominiums, labeled “upscale,” would range from two to three bedrooms and a size of 1,900 to 3,700 square feet. Eight units would fill each of the three main floors, with two elevators for each unit providing access to the parking garage, which would provide two parking spaces per unit.

The garage would be accessible via a ramp from Libbie and would include storage rooms and a garbage disposal room.

Tyler said the condominium prices had not been set, and he said the development costs were not shared. He said the team had talks with a general contractor but hasn’t selected one yet.

Tyler said community meetings have not been held on the project, but plans have been discussed with a committee from the Westhampton Citizens Association and Andreas Addison, the area’s city councilor.

The property is owned by Libbie Associates LLC, who according to property records acquired it in 2014. Most recently, the city valued the property at $ 2 million.

The project is contributing to a wave of investment in the region that has remained constant over the past few years and months. A special use permit was granted around the corner on Grove last month F.or a new two story office building at 5605 Grove Ave.


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