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East End News

Slipek’s take on the new in Shockoe

Edwin Slipek looks at the recent development along the 21st Street corridor in this week’s Style:

No local precinct has undergone so remarkable a transformation as Shockoe Bottom’s eastern edge, where North 21st Street slams hard against the weed-infested and dramatically steep cliff of Church Hill. […] …. as in-fill they provide much-needed urban density and establish intriguing architectural tension between two abutting but radically different districts. On the one hand, atop restored Church Hill, there’s the human scale and understated elegance of mostly 19th-century structures. On the other, anchoring the Bottom like ballast, are solid and muscular warehouse-scaled buildings.


Despite some architectural missteps, these ambitious residential projects signify a major step in replanting a neighborhood where past generations imposed demolition. These apartment buildings also validate the Herculean preservation efforts, begun in the late 1950s, to restore once-dilapidated Church Hill. With that historic neighborhood’s successful renewal, things on its periphery have been invigorated, including Tobacco Row, Fulton Hill, North Church Hill and Union Hill. But Shockoe Bottom was the slowest to make a comeback.

PREVIOUSLY: Development will bring almost 500 new apartments to Shockoe Valley (5/31/2010)

Related posts

Local Projects Considered for CAR


21st and East Broad Street


Then and now on 21st Street

John M


JD 08/25/2011 at 10:31 AM

I love it!!

oops 08/25/2011 at 10:37 AM

The rendering shown above is not what the developer is going to build. This shows a previous design that they have abandoned

neighbor 08/25/2011 at 8:32 PM

LOL, here come the “pioneers” screaming about how it ruins the view from the park….

Cadeho 08/25/2011 at 9:45 PM

Neighbor… there is no impediment to any view with this building…

Steve 08/26/2011 at 7:33 AM

This is one of the few Developments I liked but there are so many now since City hall has lost the Master plan in lue of quick cash.

mark 08/26/2011 at 8:46 AM

I am a big fan of having the older industrial buildings of Richmond restored but the tenants from the newer apartments are parking in areas that are not meant for parking. I live in Church Hill and coming thru East Marshall around rush hour, morning or night, can be quite interesting. There are times when you cannot turn down a street that was once a two-way because of the parked cars.

Does anyone know if they are considering parking options for the 500 new apartments and for the existing converted buildings?

Also, I hear that the tenants are parking on the street where they can find room because they are being charged between $70 – $100 a month to park within their building communities. What is that all about? Hmmm…….

joe 08/26/2011 at 11:17 AM

Its the city its supposed to be crowded. thak goodness it is getting crowded.

Luke 08/26/2011 at 11:28 AM

The city needs to enforce its parking ordinances. That would address the situation of illegally parked cars quickly.

Magneto 08/26/2011 at 12:05 PM

@ #7 – I couldn’t agree more!

JD 08/26/2011 at 1:22 PM

Right on, Joe and Magneto! With more population density comes more urban amenities (generallY)…better public transportation, more retail options, etc.

Jim Miller 08/26/2011 at 4:19 PM

If what Mark said about the cars parked on the street and he can get through, then what happens if a fire happens?? The fire trucks can get in the block!! We better call our council person and the fire and polic department and tell them.

I sure would hate to see a fire and the trucks can’t get there because of parked cars in the way.

BAC 08/26/2011 at 10:58 PM

A new parking deck is being constructed adjacent to these new buildings….up the hill from 18th or 19th I think.

James 08/27/2011 at 10:52 AM

“The city needs to enforce its parking ordinances. That would address the situation of illegally parked cars quickly.”

Maybe, but that would take officers away from areas where they are actually needed to protect the citizens. I think a more effective plan would be to actually mark the no parking areas. My guess is that most of the people illegally parking in the east end don’t know they are illegally parking in the first place (I didn’t know until I got a ticket). Most cities tend to use things like paint on the curb to show you where you can’t park.

Eric Huffstutler 09/12/2011 at 8:33 AM

I am all for expansion and restoration but not at the cost of ripping historic values and landscapes by these contemporary fusion “missteps”. They have no place in historic areas and definately not as a part of a historic building. The CAR needs to get on the same mindset as those in cities like Charleston, SC rather than having leadership within it that hijacks what they are supposed to represent and get off the “false historicism” BS because all alterations can be documented for anyone to see.

RobinsonSt 09/12/2011 at 1:11 PM

#6, refer to #8–Police and Public Works need to address the situation via enforcement and better signage. #7 is also correct. Cities are supposed to have density.

#14, How is a formerly gravel lot “historic”? While I love old buildings, I also greatly appreciate well designed new buildings which fit the area. I would argue contemporary/industrial architecture fits in well with the warehouses around Shockoe Bottom. Take The Reserve condos on 25th St in Church Hill, which provide a great gateway to the neighborhood. Their design even won an architecture award (/2009/07/08/the-reserve-lauded-as-excellent-lesson-in-contemporary-architecture_6830/).

paul h 09/12/2011 at 4:30 PM

re: 13

Towing enforcement would fall to the “meter maids/men” and would scarcely involve the cops. I’m all for signage and paint, but nothing gets your attention like those bright green envelopes and/or a yellow boot. Trust me on this.

Eric Huffstutler 09/13/2011 at 9:27 AM


With our group “Friends of Old Houses” we would argue your point of developments along Broad and other Shockoe areas as “fitting in”.

It was just these type buildings that we took Cynthia Newbille in June on both a walking and riding toured to point out the problem areas. These Frankenbuildings designed by people like Dave Johannas with Red Roof Inn roofs, Soviet Block designs, Modern Fusion have no place in historic areas. Anything placed should represent what is already there – in historic look and feel which gets back to the BS of CAR’s stance on false historicism.

So empty block or not, what should have been built there should have represented 19th Century Architecture to better fit in. But even if there are flares of modern, they should be in good taste – not some random mishmash of psychedelic designs.


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