Jump to content

Monroe Ward / Oregon Hill


whw53

Recommended Posts

1 minute ago, I miss RVA said:

Okay - given the parcel, I'm kinda not surprised. I just hope this 5, 6, 7, 8 story thing doesn't become a trend. I'd like to see some buildings at least in the teens (13, 14, 15 or taller) rising. I'm fearful the trend will be that legit high rises could end up being few and far between for whatever reason.

So - yeah, this is nice. But I can't help but feel a little troubled by it.

I know - i felt for you when posting this. Your vision is the Upper East Side - this fits more of mine in which i see Monroe Ward at a density akin to Cincinatt's  'Over-the-Rhine' with more height welcome of course - i just think we wont see it on every block. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Most of the new projects are 5-6 stories because they can be wood frame construction above a 1st floor concrete podium. It’s cheap and fast.  It’s much cheaper than going more vertical. Above 6 and you generally see precast, steel, or concrete construction and the costs increase significantly. This is attractive infill in this location. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

32 minutes ago, whw53 said:

I know - i felt for you when posting this. Your vision is the Upper East Side - this fits more of mine in which i see Monroe Ward at a density akin to Cincinatt's  'Over-the-Rhine' with more height welcome of course - i just think we wont see it on every block. 

True - my vision is Upper East Side. Mind you, I don't expect towers on necessarily every single block. But I don't want these 6-story infill buildings cluttering up every single block, either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, wrldcoupe4 said:

Most of the new projects are 5-6 stories because they can be wood frame construction above a 1st floor concrete podium. It’s cheap and fast.  It’s much cheaper than going more vertical. Above 6 and you generally see precast, steel, or concrete construction and the costs increase significantly. This is attractive infill in this location. 

The economics make sense. But what does it take, though, to push through that barrier? Other cities seem to push through it just fine - plenty of verticality. Why is it such a cost-prohibitive situation in RVA? I think I've asked this question before - but please refresh my memory -- what about other cities' economic factors make it less prohibitive to take residential buildings significantly higher -  whereas I get the feeling RVA isn't as cost-friendly to developers as other places tend to be. Is it that RVA developers just don't have the same deep pockets as developers in other cities do? Market size? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think once you start seeing a lot of 5-15 story buildings pop up and more lots becoming filled up, developers will begin to push up to the 20 story plus range. You have to get the land values in the neighborhood high in order to get height. The upper east side didn’t start as these massive 20+ story apartment buildings on almost every block, it was 3-5 story buildings prior and slowly they were upgraded to the 20+ story behemoths we know today. Don’t lose faith though. Over the Rhine is a great neighborhood with great street presence and I think Monroe Ward will become a taller version of that. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, blopp1234 said:

I think once you start seeing a lot of 5-15 story buildings pop up and more lots becoming filled up, developers will begin to push up to the 20 story plus range. You have to get the land values in the neighborhood high in order to get height. The upper east side didn’t start as these massive 20+ story apartment buildings on almost every block, it was 3-5 story buildings prior and slowly they were upgraded to the 20+ story behemoths we know today. Don’t lose faith though. Over the Rhine is a great neighborhood with great street presence and I think Monroe Ward will become a taller version of that. 

How bout let's start by seeing a lot of 10-15 story buildings? I realize it'll probably take a while to push past the 20 story-plus range. I just hope it's not decades in the making. I'll be pushing 80 in two decades - I might not be around to see it. Y'all young folk need to grasp something -- I'm on the clock here, fellas! :tw_joy: I don't think I have 30 or 40 more years to sit patiently wait for RVA to reach for the stars. So we need to ramp this process up just a bit, if that's okay with everyone. :tw_wink:

The economics of it make sense - getting the land values high enough to push more height. Hopefully we'll be surprised by bigger developments in the near future.

I did some research on Over the Rhine in Cincy - it's a cute, old, low-rise neighborhood. But dear God - I honestly don't want to see that replicated in Monroe Ward.  Not like that, anyway.

Tbh, Jackson Ward would be a much better fit for that kind of development. Carver, even. But when you're suggesting a taller version of Over the Rhine for Monroe Ward, I'm going to counter with it would need to become a MUCH taller version. I didn't see a single building over four or five stories in the pics of OtR I looked up. That's just not going to work in Monroe Ward. I get wanting to have that kind of street-level presence OtR has. We can have that - along with lots of 15-plus story apartment, mixed use, condo, etc. buildings. Let's do both!! :tw_grin:

Here's a compromise - how about a hybrid of OtR and the Upper East Side. We can have the quaint street ambience AND the forest of high rises that will bring max density to downtown. Would that work? I could live with that. :tw_thumbsup:

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, I miss RVA said:

Here's a compromise - how about a hybrid of OtR and the Upper East Side. We can have the quaint street ambience AND the forest of high rises that will bring max density to downtown. Would that work? I could live with that. :tw_thumbsup:

I think we are both thinking of the same thing. Might be easier to show in pics but I don’t want it to sound like I’m opposed to height, just don’t want “towers in the park” that have very little street presence. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think we all would love Monroe Ward to start to look something like this within the next 10 years. But not every building has to be a 15 story building (as much as it would make all of us happy), mixing building heights, ages and sizes is part of what makes dynamic neighborhoods and I think everyone would agree that we want Monroe Ward to become great ASAP. As for urgency, I’m only 21 so I may not share the same level of urgency (not that I don’t have any) as @I miss RVA but trust me, it’s there!

image.thumb.jpeg.5f3fc7b3c2b8f9733c21bff829f9442f.jpeg

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

5 hours ago, whw53 said:

Our inside guy at Walter Parks has some new renderings up - looks like the YMCA lot at SE corner of Adams & Grace (15 W Grace) is set for a 6 story building.  Hopefully the larger  lot at Foushee and Grace can get us something a bit higher now but this is really an attractive structure rendered here.  

 

21_39_15_W_Grace_St_YMCA__24___Teamworks_local_-_BIMcloud_Basic_for_ARCHICAD_24__User__Nate_Goodenow_-8.png

21_39_15_W_Grace_St_YMCA__24___Teamworks_local_-_BIMcloud_Basic_for_ARCHICAD_24__User__Nate_Goodenow_-14.png

21_39_15_W_Grace_St_YMCA__24___Teamworks_local_-_BIMcloud_Basic_for_ARCHICAD_24__User__Nate_Goodenow_-17.png

Ok i did just notice something - look at the massing concept again for the whole block. In the second and third views the orientation is east down Grace you can see a gray block where the other vacant YMCA lot stands - looks slightly taller so maybe an 8 story or so is planned there??

Also the 3rd image appears to show mass on the Jim's vacant lot even farther down as well so not sure how much of this is really foretelling or just included to provide some background for the image. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites


1 hour ago, blopp1234 said:

I think we are both thinking of the same thing. Might be easier to show in pics but I don’t want it to sound like I’m opposed to height, just don’t want “towers in the park” that have very little street presence. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think we all would love Monroe Ward to start to look something like this within the next 10 years. But not every building has to be a 15 story building (as much as it would make all of us happy), mixing building heights, ages and sizes is part of what makes dynamic neighborhoods and I think everyone would agree that we want Monroe Ward to become great ASAP. As for urgency, I’m only 21 so I may not share the same level of urgency (not that I don’t have any) as @I miss RVA but trust me, it’s there!

image.thumb.jpeg.5f3fc7b3c2b8f9733c21bff829f9442f.jpeg

 

That's not bad, all in all. Yes - something like that -- only more of it. And taller.

Okay - "Towers in the park" - interesting phrase - what specifically does that mean?

Oh wow -- 21.  You, sir, are lucky. God-willing you'll live many, many decades to see how RVA plays out.  :tw_thumbsup: Yeah - I'll admit my sense of urgency is "I'll even hold the lit match - just throw the afterburner switch!!!" :tw_joy: 

 

Let's try these on for size. This is more what I had in mind:

Now - do I REALISTICALLY expect to see THIS level of intensity over time? Of course not. But hey - we can dream big, can't we? If we don't shoot for this, we won't get even half of what we want.

 

NYC-UES1.jpg

NYC-UES2.jpg

16COVER1_SPAN-jumbo-v2.jpg

Edited by I miss RVA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Well speaking of Douglas - they have acquired the former Massad House as well as the other Massad holdings in the surrounding blocks. Just in from the RTD...

https://richmond.com/business/massad-house-hotel-in-downtown-richmond-has-closed-after-60-years-but-the-buildings-new/article_7f62e902-2791-5551-bc3e-49690410fcce.html#tracking-source=home-the-l

Edited by whw53
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Parcel at 6 S 1st has changed hands - this is a parcel Dobrin is looking at for a 5 story apt building. The LLC Randolph Homes is tied to them.

https://richmond.com/business/commercial-real-estate-highlights-land-at-monument-avenue-and-hamilton-street-sold-for-5-1/article_a0e1f28f-d25e-5ea6-8bff-31daae9d56e4.html

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, whw53 said:

Parcel at 6 S 1st has changed hands - this is a parcel Dobrin is looking at for a 5 story apt building. The LLC Randolph Homes is tied to them.

https://richmond.com/business/commercial-real-estate-highlights-land-at-monument-avenue-and-hamilton-street-sold-for-5-1/article_a0e1f28f-d25e-5ea6-8bff-31daae9d56e4.html

Okay -- not meaning to be a stick in the mud, but I'm trying to be happy about all these 5 and 6 story projects that are starting to pop up in Monroe Ward. I keep looking in the crystal ball well down the road and I can't help but worry about running out of vacant blocks that could see a host of 12, 15, 18-story residential buildings because they all get eaten up by a bunch of 5, 6, 8-story building.

And yes, I'm going to chap about this every time a non-double-digit-height project gets announced for Monroe Ward.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites


1 hour ago, I miss RVA said:

Okay -- not meaning to be a stick in the mud, but I'm trying to be happy about all these 5 and 6 story projects that are starting to pop up in Monroe Ward. I keep looking in the crystal ball well down the road and I can't help but worry about running out of vacant blocks that could see a host of 12, 15, 18-story residential buildings because they all get eaten up by a bunch of 5, 6, 8-story building.

And yes, I'm going to chap about this every time a non-double-digit-height project gets announced for Monroe Ward.

I feel you on this one, why build less density on on vacant property when you you can take full advantage of height ?

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Jordon said:

I feel you on this one, why build less density on on vacant property when you you can take full advantage of height ?

Exactly. Mind you, from the aspect of the developers, I'm sure there are a plethora of reasons at this time. @wrldcoupe4is by far the best person to really give us some good insight as to why this is.

My best guess comes down mainly to cost and something that Coupe has mentioned - the market not being at a level yet that would support being able to get the kinds of rents that would justify/offset the increased construction costs of bigger -- particularly taller -- buildings.  Coupe had mentioned that the kinds of buildings we're seeing (six or so stories atop a concrete parking podium) can be thrown up pretty inexpensively and pretty quickly because they are wood-frame structures (look no farther than Scott's addition) -- whereas anything much taller (and certainly something as tall as 12 or 15 or 18 stories) would require concrete, (maybe pre-fab), steel, etc. - which is MUCH more expensive than just wood frame.

Perhaps the developers coming into Monroe Ward aren't very deep pocketed -- so they're choosing quick and cheap over more expensive - bigger bang for the buck (at this point) because volume of tenants may not be that important at this point. (Perhaps down the road?) Perhaps they don't view Monroe Ward as a "hot" -- "it" market for residential development just yet. And let's face it, at this point, no one is going to confuse Monroe Ward with Scott's Addition or Manchester.

As i've mentioned somewhere on the forums here, I would be strongly in favor of the city putting together specialized zoning or specialized regulations to ENCOURAGE higher-density, taller construction in parts of town specifically zoned either B-4 or TOD-1. If the city is really serious about going vertical (as they told developers who attended the online meeting to discuss the RFP process for Greater Scott's/Diamond District) could they not use zoning or special rules to encourage larger/taller buildings?

I propose the city develop and adopt "Vertical Development Incentive Districts (or Zones)" that could be applied to B-4 and TOD-1 zoned areas that could work in a similar fashion to what is done to incentivize preservation in connection with developments in historic districts. Give developers willing to invest more in bigger/taller/more vertical projects some kind of tax incentives (or some other financial incentives that would be FAIR and not ridiculously costly to the city in terms of "giving away tax dollars" (which I'm sure plenty of NIMBYs will clamor about) if they reach certain height figures. In a TOD-1 zone, for example, give a developer who otherwise would have stopped at six stories a REASONABLE incentive (not a FREE PASS - but an incentive) to build to 10 stories. Give a little more if they max out at 12. For a B-4 zone, maybe it would work differently. Maybe limit it to TOD-1 -- maybe not.

I realize there would be plenty of flaws to this sort of thing -- among them -- how to keep the process fair. How does the city deep-pocketed-developers from just swooping in and shutting out all the smaller guys who might be willing to put up a 12-story apartment building if they could get a few breaks that would help enough to justify the cost of a taller building. Mind you, the big guys could & should benefit too -- a lot of things would have to be balanced -- but I honestly would like to see the city -- if they are as serious about building max density and going vertical as they say they are (at least the planners say this) -- put their money where their mouths are. Offer some incentives to get taller buildings built. The offset would be a significant increase in tax revenue from having the larger building -- even with the incentives baked in -- and a significant increase in downtown population, which would help bring street-level businesses back to downtown, (which would -- again -- put money into city tax coffers) -- which in turn could also go a long way down the road toward luring larger company/corporate relocations from out of town to the city - or from the suburbs to downtown. 

Obviously, we know there will be a lot of pushback from various fronts. Particularly NIMBY pushback. But damnit, let's at least TRY it - and see if it works!! What does the city have to lose? I would argue it has MUCH MUCH MUCH to gain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the big things Richmond could do to incentivize building more/taller is to allow cross-laminated timber. Basically, all your apartments are 6 stories because fire codes allow you to build 5 stories of wood on one story of concrete. Now, technology and fireproofing has progressed to where we can build up to 18 with "wood". Basically, cross-laminated timber is wood that is packaged and laminated with fire-retardant to meet fire regulations. It has been added to the 2021 ICC (International Code Council, even though it's really American) Code, which is notoriously stringent on the fire-safety standards.

Richmond cribs from previous additions of the ICC heavily but hasn't updated to the newest standards yet. The newest standards allow up to 9, 12, or 18 stories depending on how much fire-proofing in the building there is and it wouldn't have to use steel so prices should be relatively low. But, it's not legal in Richmond (or most places yet for that matter) because the code is so new. That seems like fairly low-hanging fruit to me.

 

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, upzoningisgood said:

One of the big things Richmond could do to incentivize building more/taller is to allow cross-laminated timber. Basically, all your apartments are 6 stories because fire codes allow you to build 5 stories of wood on one story of concrete. Now, technology and fireproofing has progressed to where we can build up to 18 with "wood". Basically, cross-laminated timber is wood that is packaged and laminated with fire-retardant to meet fire regulations. It has been added to the 2021 ICC (International Code Council, even though it's really American) Code, which is notoriously stringent on the fire-safety standards.

Richmond cribs from previous additions of the ICC heavily but hasn't updated to the newest standards yet. The newest standards allow up to 9, 12, or 18 stories depending on how much fire-proofing in the building there is and it wouldn't have to use steel so prices should be relatively low. But, it's not legal in Richmond (or most places yet for that matter) because the code is so new. That seems like fairly low-hanging fruit to me.

 

 

GREAT to know this!! So how does this get communicated to the city so they can actually act on it, change the law and make it possible for developers to use this material to build taller structures less expensively? Is this something that citizens who are in the industry/in the know (particularly folks in the commercial real estate industry) can put in front of City Council -- or the city planners -- and get them to at least research, study and try to move on this? I fear if someone DOESN'T act and take this up proactively, we're going to get saddled with a BUNCH of 6-story buildings where there could be structures going up to 12 or 18 stories using these construction materials under the newer international codes.

Friends, there needs to be a push to get this in front of the right people in the city NOW -- before all these vacant blocks go by the wayside to six-story buildings built under dinosaur fire codes.

Guys -- seriously -- how do we make this happen?

Edited by I miss RVA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

Guys -- seriously -- how do we make this happen?

This aspect is technical enough that most people, even councilmen, won’t know about it. If you know someone in Addison’s district, I think he would be the most amenable so have them bring it up to him. Basically I think this is where good old fashioned outreach and organizing comes into play. The biggest hurdle is on the fire safety stuff because people will be scared when you bring up building with wood/timber 12 stories up, and that’s where you just have to know the data—clt is manufactured to burn slowly and the regulations come with a ton of fireproofing measures.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

Exactly. Mind you, from the aspect of the developers, I'm sure there are a plethora of reasons at this time. @wrldcoupe4is by far the best person to really give us some good insight as to why this is.

My best guess comes down mainly to cost and something that Coupe has mentioned - the market not being at a level yet that would support being able to get the kinds of rents that would justify/offset the increased construction costs of bigger -- particularly taller -- buildings.  Coupe had mentioned that the kinds of buildings we're seeing (six or so stories atop a concrete parking podium) can be thrown up pretty inexpensively and pretty quickly because they are wood-frame structures (look no farther than Scott's addition) -- whereas anything much taller (and certainly something as tall as 12 or 15 or 18 stories) would require concrete, (maybe pre-fab), steel, etc. - which is MUCH more expensive than just wood frame.

Perhaps the developers coming into Monroe Ward aren't very deep pocketed -- so they're choosing quick and cheap over more expensive - bigger bang for the buck (at this point) because volume of tenants may not be that important at this point. (Perhaps down the road?) Perhaps they don't view Monroe Ward as a "hot" -- "it" market for residential development just yet. And let's face it, at this point, no one is going to confuse Monroe Ward with Scott's Addition or Manchester.

As i've mentioned somewhere on the forums here, I would be strongly in favor of the city putting together specialized zoning or specialized regulations to ENCOURAGE higher-density, taller construction in parts of town specifically zoned either B-4 or TOD-1. If the city is really serious about going vertical (as they told developers who attended the online meeting to discuss the RFP process for Greater Scott's/Diamond District) could they not use zoning or special rules to encourage larger/taller buildings?

I propose the city develop and adopt "Vertical Development Incentive Districts (or Zones)" that could be applied to B-4 and TOD-1 zoned areas that could work in a similar fashion to what is done to incentivize preservation in connection with developments in historic districts. Give developers willing to invest more in bigger/taller/more vertical projects some kind of tax incentives (or some other financial incentives that would be FAIR and not ridiculously costly to the city in terms of "giving away tax dollars" (which I'm sure plenty of NIMBYs will clamor about) if they reach certain height figures. In a TOD-1 zone, for example, give a developer who otherwise would have stopped at six stories a REASONABLE incentive (not a FREE PASS - but an incentive) to build to 10 stories. Give a little more if they max out at 12. For a B-4 zone, maybe it would work differently. Maybe limit it to TOD-1 -- maybe not.

I realize there would be plenty of flaws to this sort of thing -- among them -- how to keep the process fair. How does the city deep-pocketed-developers from just swooping in and shutting out all the smaller guys who might be willing to put up a 12-story apartment building if they could get a few breaks that would help enough to justify the cost of a taller building. Mind you, the big guys could & should benefit too -- a lot of things would have to be balanced -- but I honestly would like to see the city -- if they are as serious about building max density and going vertical as they say they are (at least the planners say this) -- put their money where their mouths are. Offer some incentives to get taller buildings built. The offset would be a significant increase in tax revenue from having the larger building -- even with the incentives baked in -- and a significant increase in downtown population, which would help bring street-level businesses back to downtown, (which would -- again -- put money into city tax coffers) -- which in turn could also go a long way down the road toward luring larger company/corporate relocations from out of town to the city - or from the suburbs to downtown. 

Obviously, we know there will be a lot of pushback from various fronts. Particularly NIMBY pushback. But damnit, let's at least TRY it - and see if it works!! What does the city have to lose? I would argue it has MUCH MUCH MUCH to gain.

 

Definitely the cost and nobody wants to be the first guinea pig to test out whether Monroe Ward can handle 20 stories of luxury apartments. Investors want a return and they want profits... Why buy a piece of land for cheap and then put so much money into it that it's a risk when you got the land for cheap and can develop a sure-fire cash cow with cheaper cost? 

In my view, the 12 story Admiral in Jackson Ward is going to be a game changer for that area. Once something that big is proven to be successful we will see developers using it as justification to also build high density similar to the Admiral. The developer for the Admiral got his "is Jackson Ward worth luxury apartments?" answer with The Penny (5 story luxury units) and then decided to go big with the Admiral. I was told the Admiral would start in '22 but these are just rumors...very exciting!

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@I miss RVA  Actually the other thing, along with what @ancientcarpenter said, is that any building that has been filed now was conceived of last year and is already in thorough discussions with construction. They won’t go back to the drawing board at this point. But, there’s plenty of room and it’s way easier to sell an 18 story project surrounded by other 6 story projects to investors than an 18 story project surrounded by a bunch of asphalt. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.