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Greater Church Hill


whw53

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3 hours ago, whw53 said:

Retail listing page for the corner slot at the new mixed use project at 2910 Q St. The brochure includes some cool aerial photos of the almost completed project - scroll to the right in the picture bar to view.

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/2910-Q-St-Richmond-VA/20445476/

 

Really nice! I'd love to see more in-fill developments like these in the East End.

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The project on the triangle bordered by Jefferson, 24th & M has finally broken ground. Picture from today, rendering from a few years back - hopefully the project hasn't been scaled down at all. The approved Plan of Development from last year notes 'commercial with 21 apartments'.

Another one to orange!

 

 

20201002_151022.jpg

jefferson_rendering.jpg

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18 minutes ago, whw53 said:

The project on the triangle bordered by Jefferson, 24th & M has finally broken ground. Picture from today, rendering from a few years back - hopefully the project hasn't been scaled down at all. The approved Plan of Development from last year notes 'commercial with 21 apartments'.

Another one to orange!

 

 

20201002_151022.jpg

jefferson_rendering.jpg

NICE! Love the way the building fills up the entire block. We need a lot more block-fillers in the older neighborhood to boost density and the urban feel. Again, I get that strong "Brooklyn" - "Baltimore" - "Philadelphia" vibe seeing this project.

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2 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

NICE! Love the way the building fills up the entire block. We need a lot more block-fillers in the older neighborhood to boost density and the urban feel. Again, I get that strong "Brooklyn" - "Baltimore" - "Philadelphia" vibe seeing this project.

I have to strongly disagree.  A city should encourage smaller lots and fewer setbacks.  Mega-blocks lead to a sterile urban environment and will not give you the "Brooklyn, Baltimore, Philadelphia" feel.  Instead you will land with Houston, Atlanta, insert generic sunbelt city feel.   A few here and there are ok, but should not be encouraged.  That being said, I am ok with this project because the block isn't very large and still has space for the small building on the corner.

 

 

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4 hours ago, rjp212 said:

I have to strongly disagree.  A city should encourage smaller lots and fewer setbacks.  Mega-blocks lead to a sterile urban environment and will not give you the "Brooklyn, Baltimore, Philadelphia" feel.  Instead you will land with Houston, Atlanta, insert generic sunbelt city feel.   A few here and there are ok, but should not be encouraged.  That being said, I am ok with this project because the block isn't very large and still has space for the small building on the corner.

 

 

I hear where you're coming from - but how do you propose the city handle attracting developers who are willing to invest in the kinds of projects Richmond is enjoying if you are so intent on small lot size developments? I understand what you mean - these isolated rather desolate single buildings sitting alone in the middle of a four-square cityblock with large courtyards surrounding it look like Dallas or Houston or wherever. But do you chase away a high-dollar, high density project just because it might not "fit" a desired urban fabric? I realize Richmond300 and in particular the zoning specs for Pulse corridor developments have quite a bit of specificity regarding limiting setbacks - building out to sidewalk, really creating an urban environment - a highrise office tower can be designed to fit that. HOWEVER - watch the city relax that a bit if a developer buys a large parcel of land, wants to put up a 40-story $800M tower?

Again, I understand your argument - but it makes no sense to keep imposing more and more and more restrictions on what gets developed. It's the kind of thing the NIMBY preservationists constantly do.

Regarding the building in question, pre-Covid, some very close friends of mine I stay with in Brooklyn any time I am in New York live just a couple of blocks away from a building very similar to the one on this block - the main difference being the building in Brooklyn is 9 or 10 stories tall vs this building's height of 3 stories. My "Brooklyn" comment came directly from the mental comparison to the building with which I am familar in Brooklyn.

Edited by I miss RVA
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Meh.  The funeral home across the street as nearly the same size footprint.  There is a school a block East that takes up an entire block too.  This isn’t a new thing for the neighborhood (the church one black north and West is ginormous). 
 

I get the danger of super blocks but the blocks here are pretty small.  This development won’t seem all that different from neighboring properties. 

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Yea, i think what is crucial to the urbanity point is the dimensions making up the block grid. Even though we lag behind  Charlotte or Raleigh in many ways we are way ahead of them in terms of incorporating that new growth into the urban grid simply because we are blessed with a lot of vacant or underused truly urban blocks in Manchester\Scott's Addition and elsewhere - the important part being that these blocks are tight knit. Developers have had to build into that grid and all those cross streets have kept that development 'dense'. But i mean density here in another way - not density of units but a 'density of difference' - in which the projects a 'fine grained' meaning they have a smaller footprint as urban planners say so that a single project doesn't just take over a block but leaves room for other opportunities.  All across the country urban planners strive for this fine-grained-ness in new development  - what's great about Richmond is that due to the legacy block dimension constraints,  (and often divided land holdings on those blocks) - this has happened organically. Look at Charlotte south of downtown on Google Earth - that is dense, but is not urban at all - that was organic growth too, but with no street grid the buildings were not constrained. And there is nothing functionally urban about that mess. 

So it's a balance. I think these smaller almost block fillers are fine for greater Church Hill- and another couple with some proper design elements I'd be ok with knowing that this opportunity to fill a block is increasingly being diminished (and that the blocks are relatively small). Will be interesting to see how the Relay project turns out in Scotts Addition. I think that will be the first real - 1 building 1 block project over there.  A few things probably help these block fillers  - retail activity on ground level, front doors from for floor residential units at the unit onto the street (instead of a central lobby) , and varying facades. Scott's I'm less worried about since the renovated factory loft buildings over there are technically 1 block projects most of the time anyway. So this Relay project sort of fits into that industrial aesthetic - but even there we still have those small blocks that constrain that project to the grid. 

Edit- great conversation, really making me think...to your Brooklyn\NYC point I think that the verticality and the need for the verticality (again - based on those North eastern street grid constraints AND very high demand) makes all the difference. A snaking mid-rise building like in Charlotte at 5 stories always seems to turn out suburban in character. The same number of units in a vertical arrangement would only need a a slice of that footprint. This is why sometimes these developments actually strip away the potential for urbanity instead of contributing to it.  But I don't think this project along Jefferson fits that bill - far from it. And, again it helps being surrounded by an dense established neighborhood - another Richmond strong point.

Edited by whw53
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11 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

I hear where you're coming from - but how do you propose the city handle attracting developers who are willing to invest in the kinds of projects Richmond is enjoying if you are so intent on small lot size developments? I understand what you mean - these isolated rather desolate single buildings sitting alone in the middle of a four-square cityblock with large courtyards surrounding it look like Dallas or Houston or wherever. But do you chase away a high-dollar, high density project just because it might not "fit" a desired urban fabric? I realize Richmond300 and in particular the zoning specs for Pulse corridor developments have quite a bit of specificity regarding limiting setbacks - building out to sidewalk, really creating an urban environment - a highrise office tower can be designed to fit that. HOWEVER - watch the city relax that a bit if a developer buys a large parcel of land, wants to put up a 40-story $800M tower?

Again, I understand your argument - but it makes no sense to keep imposing more and more and more restrictions on what gets developed. It's the kind of thing the NIMBY preservationists constantly do.

Regarding the building in question, pre-Covid, some very close friends of mine I stay with in Brooklyn any time I am in New York live just a couple of blocks away from a building very similar to the one on this block - the main difference being the building in Brooklyn is 9 or 10 stories tall vs this building's height of 3 stories. My "Brooklyn" comment came directly from the mental comparison to the building with which I am familar in Brooklyn.

My argument is far from NIMBYism.   The second part of my comment, mentioned that they are ok here and there, and that this is alright because the block size is small. However, we should not encourage mega-block developments.  Smaller lots also encourage smaller developers a chance to get into the market (just look at all the other projects mentioned in this particular forum).  Smaller lots encourage building up, not out.  Smaller lots encourage innovated design, not Walter Park copy/paste designs.  If a developer wants to accumulate lots for a mega-block then they still can. 

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1 hour ago, rjp212 said:

My argument is far from NIMBYism.   The second part of my comment, mentioned that they are ok here and there, and that this is alright because the block size is small. However, we should not encourage mega-block developments.  Smaller lots also encourage smaller developers a chance to get into the market (just look at all the other projects mentioned in this particular forum).  Smaller lots encourage building up, not out.  Smaller lots encourage innovated design, not Walter Park copy/paste designs.  If a developer wants to accumulate lots for a mega-block then they still can. 

Agreed that your position is not specifically NIMBY-ism - but the idea of potentially imposing draconian conditions for development (in this case the potential for an overemphasis on limiting lot sizes) parallels the position the NIMBYs have of imposing draconian conditions for development - in their case, limiting height and density. I hear you regarding giving smaller developers a fair shot to develop something - but what right does (or should!) the city have restricting the size of lot a developer can own and build out? If a developer has assembled 5 or 6 parcels in a given block and wants to develop the whole thing - that's the developer's perrogative. Where has the city or civic associations or anyone for that matter have the right to tell said developer "no, you have to carve this up - you can't put one building on those 5 parcels because it won't "look good".

LOL - on the Walter Park copy/paste - FULLY agreed there, my friend. It's almost comical how many cookie-cutter apartment buildings seem to be sprouting up in various parts of town - all with the Walter Park stamp on them (that point was driven home to me when I saw The Penny in Jackson Ward.)  Dunno why that bell finally rung when I saw it - but boy oh boy. Downright comical!

Most definitely smaller lot sizes encourage vertical growth - and how I wish downtown could develop much the way the vast majority of blocks in Manhattan developed - where for the most part most blocks easily contain 2, 3, even 4 highrises on them. We don't see this much downtown - around 8th and Main and 9th and Main - and along 7th St. from Main to Grace (east side of the street). 

Again, I get what you're saying. My argument is that the city should NOT impose such restrictive development conditions that, while different in their nature, parallel the NIMBY position because of the similarities in their application.

A final point: I have absolutely no problem at all with small lot sizes (particuarly when they DO encourage verticality) - so long as it is ORGANIC and not artifically imposed by the city or advocated by neighborhood/civic associations, particularly for the purpose of controlling "architectural integrity/legacy" (WETF THAT BS means) or urban fabric. Again, I fall back on the old axiom that  wish Richmond would understand - form FOLLOWS function.

Edited by I miss RVA
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3 hours ago, whw53 said:

Yea, i think what is crucial to the urbanity point is the dimensions making up the block grid. Even though we lag behind  Charlotte or Raleigh in many ways we are way ahead of them in terms of incorporating that new growth into the urban grid simply because we are blessed with a lot of vacant or underused truly urban blocks in Manchester\Scott's Addition and elsewhere - the important part being that these blocks are tight knit. Developers have had to build into that grid and all those cross streets have kept that development 'dense'. But i mean density here in another way - not density of units but a 'density of difference' - in which the projects a 'fine grained' meaning they have a smaller footprint as urban planners say so that a single project doesn't just take over a block but leaves room for other opportunities.  All across the country urban planners strive for this fine-grained-ness in new development  - what's great about Richmond is that due to the legacy block dimension constraints,  (and often divided land holdings on those blocks) - this has happened organically. Look at Charlotte south of downtown on Google Earth - that is dense, but is not urban at all - that was organic growth too, but with no street grid the buildings were not constrained. And there is nothing functionally urban about that mess. 

So it's a balance. I think these smaller almost block fillers are fine for greater Church Hill- and another couple with some proper design elements I'd be ok with knowing that this opportunity to fill a block is increasingly being diminished (and that the blocks are relatively small). Will be interesting to see how the Relay project turns out in Scotts Addition. I think that will be the first real - 1 building 1 block project over there.  A few things probably help these block fillers  - retail activity on ground level, front doors from for floor residential units at the unit onto the street (instead of a central lobby) , and varying facades. Scott's I'm less worried about since the renovated factory loft buildings over there are technically 1 block projects most of the time anyway. So this Relay project sort of fits into that industrial aesthetic - but even there we still have those small blocks that constrain that project to the grid. 

Edit- great conversation, really making me think...to your Brooklyn\NYC point I think that the verticality and the need for the verticality (again - based on those North eastern street grid constraints AND very high demand) makes all the difference. A snaking mid-rise building like in Charlotte at 5 stories always seems to turn out suburban in character. The same number of units in a vertical arrangement would only need a a slice of that footprint. This is why sometimes these developments actually strip away the potential for urbanity instead of contributing to it.  But I don't think this project along Jefferson fits that bill - far from it. And, again it helps being surrounded by an dense established neighborhood - another Richmond strong point.

Well said. I'll be interested to see how this project in Scott's Addition turns out as well. Generally the blocks are quite a bit larger over is Scott's than up in Church Hill/Fairmont. But your point of the legacy grid system is absolutely spot on. A fairly significant portion of the grid dates back roughy two centuries - others at least a century or slightly more. It is a true blessing for Richmond - she was built with the infrastruction of a NORTHEASTERN city - NOT a southern town. Consider that both Charlotte and (even more so) Raleigh were essentially small cities until 60 or so years ago. Their urban framework really didn't (and doesn't) exist relative to Richmond's. The level of density (as in a forest of buildings) is far less likely there than is potentially possible in Richmond. I continue to dream of the day that Monroe Ward is essentially a dense forest of highrises. How beautlful that would be! The grid system is such a great infrastructure feature that Scott's Addition, Manchester and downtown can all use to pack in very dense development. Charlotte and Raleigh have enjoyed the ability to expand their boundaries - they can grab greater population and the development can sprawl in a suburban fashion. Richmond is totally land-locked and likely will always be such (barring a merger with, say, Henrico, which is less likely than my chances of flapping my arms and flying to the moon). Thus, vertically is the only direction in which the city can grow. It is all the more important that the city not lose sight of just how critical building to the sky is to Richmond's future.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok found something neat tucked in a council meeting slated for next month. The item is to vacate a remaining street right of way of Anderson St. along with the EW alley in the Chimborazo neighborhood. I've highlighted these on the parcel map below. The parcels around this all belong to a single LLC and it looks like a separate buyer wants this vacated so they can purchase a contiguous tract of land and move forward with a redevelopment. Note that this part of the road network near the intersection of Government road and Crestview is long gone (formerly a longstanding trailer park but looking at historical imagery it has been vacant lot for 15+ years )The 'current' imagery is outdated now too - note this is directly south of the Glenwood Ridge project which has just finished up on the former police stables site.

 From the staff report which i attached - 

The applicant is intending a development that would include a mix of multi-family residential units and a corner commercial use. Vacating these rights of way is needed for the development to move forward though the planning and approval process.

anderson3.jpg

highlight.jpg

anderson.jpg

anderson2.jpg

Edited by whw53
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Here's a photo from Style and the article link written by Ed Slipek.  I want to like it, the balance of the top box makes me nervous looking at it.  When looking at this one - saying to myself -  that's just going to fall off - I know it's not - but that's just going to fall off.

https://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/rebuilding-blocks/Content?oid=16632912

 

art43_jsarg2.jpg

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10 minutes ago, Brent114 said:

For a few months 3 years ago, this was my shop (stored building materials in it). 

It was such a weird building.  Tearing off the addition and gutting the inside was a good move. 

Funny, about 3 years ago a coworker and I were joking about buying this building as it had been gutted.  I did not realize it was the same one until looking at this post a second time.

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That development on the triangular lot on Jefferson/M between 24th and 25th is finally beginning site work after years.

It's also been slightly neutered from 27 units in 3 floors to 21 units in 2 floors. smh

2411-M-St.jpg   Right Arrow Image Png | Right arrow icon, Arrow image, Arrow illustration  10.27R-Project-Snapshot-2416Jefferson.jp

https://richmondbizsense.com/2020/10/27/project-snapshot-triangular-lot-filling-out-in-union-hill/

Edited by RVA-Is-The-Best
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Still a nice infill project, but damn i wish we had gotten that second story on it. 

I'll admit - maybe i got excited and drilled down to much in creating 3 separate Church Hill vicinity threads - what do you all say about combining this one, the Union Hill\Fairmount (the most active), and the CHN/Oakwood discussions into a single 'Greater Church Hill' thread? @Icetera is this possible? - thanks!

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4 hours ago, RVA-Is-The-Best said:

That development on the triangular lot on Jefferson/M between 24th and 25th is finally beginning site work after years.

It's also been slightly neutered from 27 units in 3 floors to 21 units in 2 floors. smh

2411-M-St.jpg   Right Arrow Image Png | Right arrow icon, Arrow image, Arrow illustration  10.27R-Project-Snapshot-2416Jefferson.jp

https://richmondbizsense.com/2020/10/27/project-snapshot-triangular-lot-filling-out-in-union-hill/

Glad it's finally getting built - NOT happy that the 3rd floor has been lopped off. Wonder what happened? (obviously money-related, but what specifically?)

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1 hour ago, Brent114 said:

Eliminating the 3rd floor was a big mistake, IMO.   It’s time to get serious about adding population density to these intercity neighborhoods.   Public transit and occupied storefronts won’t happen with so few people living in the area.   If a two story house is added to every vacant lot in the  East End there would still be too few people to make it a lively neighborhood.  
 

It puts the scale off too.  There’s a new two story (it may even be threee but it looks and feels small) building this size around the corner from here and it is completely forgettable, you don’t even really see it.  This could have been a landmark for the hood (not necessarily a good one but a landmark nonetheless).   It will just be crappy filler that doesn’t move the needle in any way significantly for Union Hill. 

Totally, 100% agreed!  Spot on - well said!!  :good:

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1 hour ago, Brent114 said:

Eliminating the 3rd floor was a big mistake, IMO.   It’s time to get serious about adding population density to these intercity neighborhoods.   Public transit and occupied storefronts won’t happen with so few people living in the area.   If a two story house is added to every vacant lot in the  East End there would still be too few people to make it a lively neighborhood.  
 

It puts the scale off too.  There’s a new two story (it may even be threee but it looks and feels small) building this size around the corner from here and it is completely forgettable, you don’t even really see it.  This could have been a landmark for the hood (not necessarily a good one but a landmark nonetheless).   It will just be crappy filler that doesn’t move the needle in any way significantly for Union Hill. 

How  to be more Richmond. 

1. Make'm take a floor off. Yeah, that'll do it,  there, 12 less people, now were good, more parking nearby, disaster averted. 

or

2. The view, I can't see the "add whatever here", it must be lowered.

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  • Icetera changed the title to Greater Church Hill

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