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Richmond City Council Approves 12-Story High-Rise On Broad, Lombardy Streets

image of building
A rendering of what the proposed apartment complex could look like. (Image: The Opus Group)

Richmond City Council approved a permit on Monday to advance a project bringing a 12-story high-rise to the corner of Broad and Lombardy streets. The development will straddle the residential neighborhoods of Carver and the Fan, replacing the Sunoco gas station and Fast Break convenience store.

The way the property is currently zoned, M-1 light industrial, doesn’t allow for residential use — it also restricts the heights of buildings built there. The special-use permit allows the developers to bypass the property’s current zoning requirements. 

Ben Angelo is with the Opus Group, the firm behind the proposal. He said the project is tailored to the city’s Master Plan goal of having transit-friendly developments parallel to the GRTC Pulse bus route.

“This type of development does indeed reduce automobile traffic and increase pedestrian and bicycle use,” Angelo said. “It's activating the streetscape along the Pulse corridor along Broad, it's creating a new element of pedestrian access and safety.”

Mark Olinger is the director of Planning and Development Review with the city. He voiced his support for the project, touting its compatibility with the Pulse Corridor Plan, which was adopted into the city’s Master Plan in 2017.

The projects plans include bike storage and an underground 79-spot parking deck for residents. But Fan residents and members of its neighborhood group are concerned it will bring more congestion to an already busy area. 

“I guess our biggest concern is parking overflow. This intersection is a major gateway into and out of the Fan,” Jerry Beverage, president of the Fan District Association, said. “In addition to that, in the original meeting, they hadn't really contemplated the comings and goings of delivery vehicles.” 

Beverage said community members aren’t opposed to the growth and development of the area, but there’s concern over the kind of precedent, in terms of requirements and specifications, the city’s decision would set for future projects near the Fan neighborhood.

“We're trying to understand what those building’s heights will be,” Beverage said. “Neighbors have been assured that the master planning process for the Pulse corridor will consider these things in a very thoughtful and measured way rather than on a project by project basis.”

Angelo said the 168-unit development is expected to cost between $52 and $55 million, and will offer diverse unit options — from studio to four-bedroom apartments. Amenities would include a recreational area, gym and ground-floor retail space. The group aims to break ground on the project by early April.