There is a tremendous amount of development taking place in Downtown Richmond right now. From areas around the VCU campus to Manchester, it accounts for almost a billion dollars in real estate projects. A huge part of this is the revitalization of Reynolds North and Reynolds South; expansive parcels of previously industrial space that once belonged to packaging giant Reynolds Metals.
We’ve played an active part in the Reynolds North part of this growth, and are currently involved in The Locks at Canal Walk, the 5th building on this parcel. Using the existing slab of a former warehouse, we’re managing the construction of a 5-story apartment building. The rewarding thing about The Locks is the ability to link commercial and residential opportunities to Richmond’s canal, the James River, and the linear park of greenways that tie them all together.
This wood-frame building will incorporate parking into the first floor, include 2 small commercial spaces, and finish with 55 top-of-the-line apartments, all within walking distance of Richmond’s bustling Downtown. The best part is their proximity to Canal Walk, and the available views of the Canal, River, and Richmond skyline.
Building this close to an amenity like the James River presented an unusual challenge. This area of Downtown Richmond has historically been prone to flooding, and since 1994 has been protected by a $143 million floodwall. Although this has protected the area from the James for two decades, our partners at Fountainhead Properties and The WVS Companies have mitigated this proximity by limiting the first floor of the project to parking. The first floors of residential will therefore reside above the historic pre-floodwall levels.
Michael Lynch, our Project Manager and a 15-year KBS veteran, also told us of the challenge of building so close to the floodwall itself. “There are very strict regulations concerning our proximity to the floodwall. Nothing can be within 10 feet of the wall the entire time that we’re on site, unless it can be moved quickly. The Army Corps of Engineers also performs frequent inspections, and will inspect and sign off when completed, and any damage to the floodwall will be met with a pretty heavy fine.”
This care and consideration will certainly pay off when this project welcomes its first tenants in 2015. Richmonders have been clamoring for this since the first discussions of Canal Walk, and the redevelopment of Reynolds North fits perfectly with Richmond’s Master Plan. Residents will have ready access to retail, restaurants, businesses, and fantastic outdoor spaces. The 55 new units will combine with the 174 that are already part of The Locks, creating a vibrant urban community in what was once a neglected, industrial part of Virginia’s Capital City.