As conservationists gather around the Second Baptist Church building which faces a wrecking ball across the street, initial plans for a multi-phase, mixed-use development involving the nearby YMCA building appear.
The developer group working with the Y on the project envisions 266 market-priced apartments between a rehabilitation of the nonprofit’s existing four-story structure at 2 W. Franklin St. and two new buildings that would replace parking lots behind.
One of these new buildings, planned for the lot at the corner of Grace and Foushee streets, would rise 11 stories and total 160 units, said project architect Walter Parks.
The other building, planned at the corner of Grace and Adams Street, would have six stories and total 70 units, according to a development plan filed with the city last week.
The overall project would kick off this summer with the rehabilitation of Building Y, which would add 36 apartments to the top three floors of the building, Parks said. The Y branch and gymnasium would remain on the first floor, while the upper floor offices that served as the base of the YMCA of Greater Richmond would be moved.
George Emerson, who leads the project with frequent collaborator Phil Roper and fellow developers Tom Papa and Dennis Lynch, said the rehabilitation would launch the project and be followed by the six-story building at Adams and Grace.
“We’re hoping we’ll start rehabilitating the Y in June or July, and then we’ll start this building by the end of the year,” he said.
Emerson said those two efforts would be the first phase of the project, while the planned 11-story apartment building at Foushee and Grace wouldn’t start for a few years. The plans for this building have not yet been filed with the city.
The six-story building at Adams and Grace would feature 60 one-bedroom and 10 two-bedroom units, according to plans filed. The 79,000 square foot building would include 1,600 square feet of ground floor commercial space overlooking Grace, and structured ground and underground parking totaling 44 spaces.
Access to the car park would be via an alley that joins Adams. Parking and bicycle storage are also provided.
Walter Parks Architects is designing the building and is the architect for the rest of the project. Silvercore is handling the engineering work and Lory Markham of Markham Planning has submitted the development plan on behalf of the Y, which owns the affected properties.
Parks said Building Y apartments will include one-, two-, and three-bedroom floor plans. He said designs for the 11-story building remained ongoing but, like the six-story building, would include a structured parking lot with an underground level.
The developers are under contract to buy the properties, which fill most of the block that includes the main branch. The assemblage of 10 parcels, totaling 2.2 acres, is collectively valued at around $10.3 million, according to city property records.
Additional Y-owned parking across Franklin Street is included in the deal. Parks said plans for this site are still in development.
This parking lot is adjacent to the Second Baptist Church building, a century-old structure that is to be demolished by the owner of the nearby Jefferson Hotel. A recent decision by the city to allow demolition has sparked outrage from conservationists who want the building saved.
Emerson said Monday he had no talks with the hotel owner about the construction site for the church, which is part of the larger Jefferson assembly.
The 80-year-old Y building opened in 1942 and served as the base for the non-profit organization that dates back to 1854. The rehab is planned to include a renovation of some of the Y’s facilities , including new locker rooms and group exercise studios, and improvements to wellness rooms and weight rooms.
Emerson and Roper’s other developments together include Moore’s Lake Apartments in Chester and Vue at Westchester Commons. Emerson and Lynch, a KBS executive, worked together on a mixed-use conversion of a former office building at 6 N. Sixth St. Lynch and Papa are also investors in Project Y.