It has been a while since we have seen any new condos in Richmond VA and hopefully, it is about to change…
The last completed and newly constructed condo project was a small property along Broad Street near the intersection of Broad and Adams Street in the Jackson Ward neighborhood. It was less than 10 units and for numerous reasons, was nearly 3 years in its construction.
When the market made its adjustment in 2008, MLS showed over 400 active listings. The MLS count is misleadingly low in that the number of for sale condos in Richmond VA (Downtown and Fan/Museum District) did not contain all of the condos available for sale. Most projects did not put EVERY unit for sale into MLS and by some estimates, the true number for sale was closer to 600.
Where the Condo Market Was…
With a documented unit count of nearly 400 in 2008, you can see how dramatically the market has changed. The chart below shows the active inventory of condos in Richmond VA for sale dating back 60 months:
As the last of the condos projects planned in 2006 and 2007 came on line in 2008, they arrived at an obviously poor time for all of the developers. Ginter Place (69 condos), Miller and Rhodes (140+ condos) and the 210 Rock condo building at Rocketts Landing (approx 70 condos) all were the last of the big projects to hit the market and to effectively hasten (and exacerbate) the market decline. The effect of adding another 200+ units to the market at a time when mortgage lending ceased was one of the main factors causing a collective loss of value for the entire marketplace that approached 30% (or more for some properties.)
Where the Condo Market is…
As we hit the upswing of the post bubble marketplace, the market is no longer what it once was…and that is a good thing.
Nolde Bakery, a project in Church Hill which pulled the plug on sales in 2008 and rented the large number of unsold units, has rededicated itself to sale once again to great success. The more niche 6N6 property, has also attempted a conversion to sales with far less success due to a flawed HOA structure. Ginter Place Rockets Landing are now exclusively re-sales and Miller and Rhodes has become what it always should have been, an apartment complex.
For the first time in several years, there are several projects on the drawing boards, conceived and funded by very capable developers, with the lessons of 2008 to act as a guide. The condo projects are located mostly in Downtown Richmond and will feature spaces designed to compliment the ‘micro-apartment’ development model currently in vogue in most of the historic renovations in Downtown, Manchester and the Shockoe area. This is sorely needed.
Since Richmond’s population trend began to reverse itself from negative to positive sometime in the middle to later 1990’s, it has mostly been accomplished with small apartments (<1,000 SF) built in the bones of historic warehouses and other obsolete properties with the use of Federal and State Historic Tax Credits. While there can be debate as to the best use of the program, there can be no debate as to the impact it has had on the urban core of Richmond. Blighted buildings are almost non-existent and the amount of people who now only know Richmond with a thriving Downtown is staggering in comparison to the previous generation who only knew failure and danger.
The next step in completion of the transformation is additional choices in ownership, and not just increasingly smaller and smaller rental choices. Diversity in design, size, materials and location are all required to take Richmond’s urban core to the next level. These new projects will play a large part in Richmond’s continuing evolution.