More than 100 real estate professionals turned out Thursday for an inaugural bus tour of major commercial real estate projects in Richmond. The tour, sponsored by the Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate, included stops at nine sites, ranging from the historic renovation of The John Marshall Hotel in downtown Richmond to new developments in the Short Pump corridor in Henrico County.
The tour began at Innsbrook Corporate Center where Paul Kreckman gave a brief presentation on Innsbrook Next, the tagline for the next phase of proposed development for the region’s second largest employment center. Kreckman, vice president for the Richmond office of Highwoods Properties Inc. and president of the Innsbrook Owners Association, said Highwoods has submitted a rezoning application that would create a more urban, mixed-use product in a suburban setting.
Over the next 20 to 25 years, the plan calls for an additional 3.5 million square feet of office space, 415,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, up to 1,000 hotel rooms and 6,000 apartments and condominiums. “We’re a mobile society. Our office product needs to respond to the way we do business today,” he said.
The tour also stopped at West Broad Village, a mixed-use project on West Broad Street in Henrico. Here, Bryan E. Kornblau, president of Markel/Eagle Partners LLC shared a back-from-the-brink story about the 118-acre project that nearly defaulted in 2009.
After his company invested $9 million which drew other sponsors, the residential/retail/office project got back on track and is thriving today, he said. The developer completed a clubhouse and pool in 2010. All 339 of the project’s apartments have been leased, 200 lots for townhomes have sold, and 145,000 square feet of retail is complete, including the area’s first Whole Foods grocery store. New tenants coming soon include a 60,000-square-foot ACAC fitness complex and a Bonefish Grill restaurant.
Another Short Pump corridor project that is drawing tenants is The Corner at Short Pump, right across from Short Pump Town Center. The anchor, an 86,000-square-foot Kroger grocery store, sees 30,000 visitors a week and generates $1 million a week in sales, according to officials with the Rebkee Co, the project’s developer. New additions coming in spring of 2012 include a Toys ‘R Us and a Bassett furniture store.
Meanwhile, back in Richmond, the tour visited the historic John Marshall, which is 60 days away from reopening as a 238-unit apartment project, The Residences at the John Marshall. While property manager Jan Stemmerman of Dominion Realty Partners didn’t have any model units to show yet, she showed the group the work done so far on the hotel’s ballroom and other areas. She says rents will range from $775 to $2,500 per unit when the $70 million project is completed. Residents will have a choice of five floor plans, ranging from a studio to two-bedroom residences.
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