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Vacant buildings in Richmond: Where are they and who owns them? (October 2015)

The City of Richmond Planning and Development Review Department recently updated their Vacant Building List for the first time since the end of 2013. The current version has just over 1,600 vacant properties, up from 1,370 in January 2013.

From the city’s site:

The data in the Vacant Building List is collected by the City of Richmond Property Maintenance Division and is extracted from information collected by Inspectors during their daily inspections. It is not a violation for a building to be vacant but when a building is found to be vacant, it is noted in the department’s tracking system and the property is monitored until such time as it is reoccupied and code compliant.


A building must be registered with the Commissioner of Buildings when it has been continuously vacant for over 12 months and meets the definition of “derelict” as found in the Code of Virginia §15.2-907.1. Registration requires the completion of the registry form and submission of the $100.00 annual fee.

Earlier version of the city’s list of vacant houses were used to power Vacant Richmond before they went off the air. Richmond Slumlord Watch gave a look into who owned some of the vacants around the city while it was up and running. The topic has been enough of an issue that we even have a tag for “vacant” to help tie together all of the stories that have come up. It was a reader-contributed story about a vacant house that originally put CHPN on a lot of folks’ radar.

While there are vacants in much of the city, there are noticeably higher densities of vacant houses in North Highland Park, a band across Fairmount/Church Hill North, and Southside east of Jeff Davis Highway. A mapping of the owners of the vacant houses gives a more evenly distributed picture across the entire metro region (with a surprising number of out-of-state owners). Also, a large number of the vacant house listings provide the address of the vacant house as the address of the owner.


Vacant Buildings in Richmond, VA (October 2015)

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Owners of Vacant Buildings in Richmond, VA (October 2015)

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The data is from the City of Richmond on Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at approximately 9:00 AM. Mapping via Google Fusion.


Ziti 10/20/2015 at 12:28 PM

John, where are Donald Lacey and Stacy Martin today? It looks like a few dozen of these vacancies are holdovers from companies associated with one or both of them.

John M 10/20/2015 at 12:43 PM

@ziti – Looks like he’s still in prison for another year or so (

Ziti 10/20/2015 at 2:02 PM

How about Stacy Martin, she never did any time in prison, did she? Do you know if she holds title to all these properties, or are they going to be claimed in some way to make restitution to Lacey’s victims?

Brandon 10/20/2015 at 2:16 PM

The picture of the building on Q street has so much potential. It’s sad that is in the shape that it’s in.

Lee 10/20/2015 at 3:50 PM

@Ziti and @ Brandon and @ John M:

I don’t know about all of Donald Lacey’s properties, but I know that some have already been sold at tax auction.

Brandon/John – is the building on Q / The Photo with this article actually abandoned? I’m pretty sure people lived upstairs not all that long ago. (Obviously, the ground floor is empty or, at least, not being used as a store)

cadeho 10/20/2015 at 4:09 PM

2117 Selden has not been vacant since about February when it did not belong to its current owner

crd 10/20/2015 at 6:37 PM

Hmm. map says 2002 Princess Anne is vacant, mail to Matt Conrad on N. 24th, and The Roosevelt is vacant according to the map….looks like they have some work to do to make this really work.

Sue Who 10/20/2015 at 8:48 PM

Looks like some Pearsall properties are missing from the map: the 2200 block of E. Broad and 2700 block of E. Grace. They’re a well connected family (CAR, Historic Richmond,…) who own many properties in Church Hill and throughout the city.

John M 10/20/2015 at 9:38 PM

And have for a while.. /2010/03/03/john-wesley-pearsall_12459/

Nick 10/21/2015 at 8:20 AM

2913 E. Marshall isn’t vacant anymore, it’s been totally redone and was sold back in July.

mb 10/21/2015 at 10:18 AM

David Silver who was in cahoots with Donald Lacey is also in prison

JessOfRVA 10/21/2015 at 2:10 PM

2810 E. Marshall, the one with the storefront is still “vacant” but definitely isn’t. Despite the signage from the city, someone’s living on the second floor. They’ve decorated the area around their door and everything.

Steve 10/21/2015 at 3:24 PM

Anyone know the story on Arthur L. Gardner? He owns at least six vacant properties in Richmond (low number compared to a few others, especially Massenburg). I counted three in Church Hill, two of which are in the 500 block of N. 26th street.

Bill Hartsock 10/21/2015 at 5:13 PM

#11 – John, you have your Pearsalls mixed up. Jon died a few years ago, and his wife Leila died shortly thereafter. The properties in Church Hill and the Bottom are owned by Evelyn and Billy Pearsall. They are the true slumlords around here. One of the best houses they own is 2204 E. Broad which has been vacant for many years. Many people have come forward trying to buy it, as it’s the last one on the block to be restored, but they won’t listen to reason. John Pearsall’s properties were sold off many years ago or were inherited by this sons.

crd 10/21/2015 at 7:18 PM

@10 SueWho:The Pearsall Trust owns the one in the 2200 block of Broad; there are two in the 2500 block of Franklin that are rented; and the one on Grace is the 2500 block and is under renovation by RBVa.

The Pearsall Trust is NOT the same as the Pearsalls who used to live up here until the 90s; it is administered by another relative. Unfortunately he tries to get too much money for his vacant houses, but the one on Grace is the second one that RBVa has managed to buy and renovate.

Sue Who 10/21/2015 at 9:19 PM

@crd There is a Pearsall property on the corner of the 2700 block of E. Grace. That family owns a glut of vacant properties that need addressing. Family trust or not, the two brothers, or cousins, usually make excuses about ownership and state that nothing can be done. Frankly, what makes owning vacant property and blighting neighborhoods financially lucrative? These folks are city residents, not out of state heirs. The hypocrisy of it all is disgusting, concerning their former connections to the CAR,…

Bill 3 10/22/2015 at 9:19 AM

I second the request for info on Arthur L. Gardner. He owns several eyesores on our block (formerly I should say, I just can’t truly quit you Church Hill) and needs to be called out. He often does the absolute bare minimum needed, always comes around & pretends like he’s just a hired hand if you try & call him out on anything. A real slimeball.

katzenjaammer 10/22/2015 at 4:13 PM

While I’m not willing to pay the city $100 for the eyesore next to me to be on the list (unless I’m misunderstanding that part?) But I could use some suggestions on other ways I can complain about the general condition of it, the weeds, etc.

John M 10/22/2015 at 4:21 PM

@katzenjammer – Go to the MPAC meeting next week and speak to Officer Ford or contact him at

Kathleen Sanders 10/23/2015 at 10:49 AM

What about 3111 and 3113 E Broad Street? Those 2 properties have been vacant, boarded up and falling down since I moved here 9 years ago. Such an eyesore on that block. Someone has done some recent work to the porch on 3113 but even that looks haphazard. Neither is listed as vacant. Here’s the info:
E0000732007 LAWSON KENNETH W 3111 E Broad St 23223 120 R Two Story
E0000732008 JOSEPH 113 LLC 3113 E Broad St 23223 120 R Two Story

Annie Malo 10/27/2015 at 9:52 AM

This list is also very inaccurate. The property that I have owned for more than a year, have completely gutted, redone, and lived in for this year is on this list. I can assure you that my home is not vacant.

Zack 10/31/2015 at 6:16 PM

If any of you guys know the people who own any of these vacants or have their phone numbers. I would be willing to pay you $500 if you can put me in touch with them so that I can buy them and fix them. 804-432-2054

John M 11/24/2015 at 5:51 AM

Richmond residents urge city to address growing list of vacant homes


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