Highland Grove in Richmond Celebrates Grand Opening of Initial Phases

Highland Grove - Developed by Laurel Street

Richmond, Va., October 1, 2013 –Laurel Street Residential (LSR) and the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) proudly announce the grand opening of phases I and II of Richmond’s newest mixed-income community, Highland Grove, on Thursday, October 10th at 1:30 p.m. at the intersection of Dove Street and 1st Avenue.  City of Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones will be speaking at the event. The grand opening will also celebrate the project’s stellar accomplishment of nearly doubling the participation goals for minority- and women- owned business enterprises (MWBE) and Section 3 businesses.

“We are excited to celebrate the first chapter of the Dove Street Area transformation into a vibrant community with quality, mixed-income housing called Highland Grove,” said Adrienne Goolsby, chief executive officer at RRHA. “We couldn’t have accomplished this without the support and collaboration of the City of Richmond, Laurel Street Residential and the community.”

The first two phases of Highland Grove combined is a $20 million development consisting of 128 rental units catering to working families with a range of incomes. The community is the redevelopment of the former Carrington Gardens, Northridge Apartments and Dove Court sites and includes one, two and three-bedroom garden-style apartments and town homes for rent in duplex and triplex style buildings designed like single-family homes with spacious yards.  The first residents moved into their new homes in early August 2013, and 25 completed units are now occupied. Leasing for the apartments has exceeded expectations, and the 128 rental units are projected to be fully leased by January 2014.  Nearly 350 applicants are currently on the Highland Grove waiting list.

“The Highland Grove development can be a catalyst for the revitalization of North Highland Park and can increase educational, economic and overall quality of life opportunities for the area,” added Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “We are extremely excited to see this dynamic redevelopment effort come to fruition for this important part of our city.”

Highland Grove is built to market rate standards and includes the energy efficiency features of EarthCraft (a stringent third party “green” building program) and a solar power installation that will meet approximately 20% of the electricity demand for phases I and II.  The community will also include a beautiful clubhouse, which incorporates a business center, state-of-the-art fitness center, laundry facilities and internet cafe.  There will be an abundance of landscaping, tree-lined streets, sidewalks, and ample parking behind the buildings to allow for a pedestrian friendly community. Apartment interiors include a spacious kitchen, laminate hardwood flooring and upgraded designer cabinetry, spacious closets, and porches. All of the rental units in the new community are managed and leased by S.L. Nusbaum, which provides on-site property management staff. The spacious floor plans range in size from 947 to 1,366 square feet and rents vary, reaching a maximum of $891, depending on unit type and family income.  Families interested in leasing at Highland Grove apartments can email the property manager at highlandgrove@slnusbaum.net, call toll free at 866-679-6668 or visit http://www.highlandgroveapts.com.

“The team has invested a lot of care and effort into this project, and the results are well worth it,” said Dionne Nelson, principal and chief executive officer of Laurel Street Residential. “We’ve had great feedback from residents and the community, so we believe we’ve laid the foundation for future phases and positive change for the broader neighborhood.”

The redevelopment area extends along Dove Street between the Richmond-Henrico Turnpike and 1st Avenue and adjacent to the Barton Heights, Green Park and Highland Park neighborhoods.  At completion, the effort is expected to include more than 250 rental and for-sale homeownership units geared toward a mix of incomes, a new school, a new park and an adaptive re-use community space. The community will have direct connections to the Cannon Creek Greenway, the City’s newest bicycle and pedestrian trail that will link the community to downtown Richmond.

In 2012, Laurel Street Residential secured nearly $16.6 million in tax credit equity from Red Stone Equity Partners and $10.7 million in construction loan financing from Bank of America Merrill Lynch Community Development Banking for phase I and II of Highland Grove. The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority funded $3.7 million and the City of Richmond provided a loan in the amount of $1.5 million for the project. The 12-acre development is being built by NorSouth Constructs.

MWBE/Section 3 Achievements

The Highland Grove team has exceeded its 30 percent goal for the percentage of subcontracts awarded to MWBE businesses. Contracts awarded are nearly double the target at 58 percent of total construction costs.  This statistic is not impacted by the fact that the lead developer, LSR, is a minority woman-owned business.  In addition, 19 percent of subcontracts were awarded to Section 3 companies, almost double the goal of 10 percent, and over 50 percent of new hires were Section 3 individuals, exceeding the 30 percent goal.

Event Details

Highland Grove’s grand opening will be held rain or shine and is sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Red Stone Equity Partners.  The event will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the intersection of Dove Street and 1st Avenue in Richmond.  The Mayor is expected to make comments, in addition to Councilwoman Ellen Robertson (6th District), Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones of HUD and select others.  After the remarks, the speakers will then participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony.  A tour of a model apartment will be facilitated.  Media are welcome.