Land deal paves the way for income driven apartments at the crossroads of Manchester

The rendering shows Manchester Apartments as they appear on Hull Street and Trade Road. (File photos courtesy of The Lawson Cos.)

An apartment building planned for a prominent intersection in Manchester appears to be a move following a recent land purchase.

Norfolk-based The Lawson Cos., which is developing a five-story building at the southeast corner of Hull Street and Commerce Road, closed Sept. 1 on the roughly one-acre property.

Records show it paid $2.4 million for the four parcels that make up the site: 812 Hull St. and 6E. Ninth Street, and 811 and 812 Decatur Street. The project does not include a city-owned parking lot that would fill the rest of the city block.

9.17R Lawson Porter Realty

Aerial photo of the site at Hull Street and Trade Road. (File image courtesy of Porter Realty)

The purchase amount appears to be equal to the estimated cost of the project, according to permits filed with the city that estimate the total construction value at more than $2.3 million and demolition of the site at $30,000. The project is funded in part using low-income housing tax credits.

The seller in the deal was J.M. Fry Co., a local manufacturer of printing ink that had owned the vacant property since 1969. The city valued the parcels this year at a combined $1.3 million.

Called The View at Belle Isle Apartments, the L-shaped building facing Commerce and Hull will consist of 116 units on four levels above a partially underground parking garage. Garage access will be located off Commerce and totaling 118 spaces, the apartments will consist of eight studios, 81 one-bedroom and 27 two-bedroom units ranging in size from 390 to approximately 950 square feet.

9.17R Lawson Manchester Rendering2

North view of the Manchester Apartment Building across Ninth Street. The current car park is also shown.

The apartments will be income-based and reserved for renters who earn 60% or less of the area median income. Lawson spokesman Dan Hankin said the latest AMI numbers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development show $44,820 for a family of one and $63,960 for a family of four.

When plans for the project were submitted in 2021, Hankin said rents were expected to range from $830 to $1,065 per month, depending on the unit type and resident income. He noted that these numbers were based on AMI numbers at the time.

Planned amenities include an upstairs club room, a fitness center, bike storage and an on-site bus stop.

Lawson plans to begin construction on the building next spring and expects the apartments to be ready to rent in the spring of 2026, Hankin said.

Lawson is working on the project with TS3 Architects and engineering firms Timmons Group, Dunlap & Partners and Speight, Marshall & Francis. Richard Porter and Clifford Porter of Porter Realty brokered the sale of the land.

Lawson’s other projects in Richmond include the 200-unit Foundry Apartments along the interstate near Virginia Union University, and the 96-unit Alexander Apartments at 1090 Apartments at 1090 German School Road.

A 144-unit complex is also planned at 700 West 44th Street, south of Forest Hill. Lawson was under contract to purchase the 6.5-acre property and submitted a zoning confirmation letter to the city in March. No permit was provided to build or purchase the site.

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