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East End News

Apartments, office space proposed for Jefferson Avenue

Matt Jarreau and Daniil Kleyman, both Church Hill residents, shared preliminary plans last night for a mixed-use development in the mostly vacant triangle bound by Jefferson Avenue, M Street, and 24th Street.

The duo propose a building with 13,000 square feet of office space on the first floor, and a mix of 20 1- and 2-bedroom apartments on the upper floors. The office space would be available as private offices, and also as a shared co-working space. Some parking would be offered on the interior of the building, with street parking carrying most of the load.

The scale is akin to the development spitballed as part of the Greening America’s Capitals meetings last year on Jefferson Avenue.

As the lot is in the city-designated Union Hill Old & Historic District, any development will need to be approved by the Commission of Architectural Review. A Special Use Permit to allow the requested height due to the current zoning (UB-PE4).

Kleyman stresses that these images by Todd Dykshorn are definitely not the final renderings. Last night’s meeting was set up well in advance of going to CAR, Kleyman says, so that they could get community feedback.

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As seen from 25th Street
As seen from 25th Street

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As seen from 24th Street across Jefferson Avenue
As seen from 24th Street across Jefferson Avenue

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As seen from M Street just west of 24th Street
As seen from M Street just west of 24th Street

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91 comments

James Lum 02/11/2016 at 8:33 AM

This is horrific, and completely out of place. There’s no way this gets greenlighted, rt?

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Hill Runner 02/11/2016 at 9:08 AM

It’s nice to see something going in to that vacant lot.

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Terry Peters 02/11/2016 at 9:29 AM

Man it would be soon much cooler if they got rid of run down buildings on either end of the block as well.

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Nick P 02/11/2016 at 9:52 AM

This…. building. It’s god awful looking. Doesn’t fit the neighborhood at all

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Eric S. Huffstutler 02/11/2016 at 9:54 AM

@1 and 2 James… I agree, this is totally out of place. The first thing that popped out was the greenhouse roof. The other is how fugly plain warehouse looking the building is.

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The U.....nion Hill 02/11/2016 at 10:00 AM

This is not appropriate infill and is completely out of place. Anyone who likes this design must be interpreting it through brail.

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d-dub 02/11/2016 at 10:22 AM

The development “spitballed” fits much better architecturally than this “box” – no reason they can’t fit architecturally and still have a viable product.

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spacecat 02/11/2016 at 11:02 AM

The proposed structure has an aesthetic akin to the spartan institutional vibe of a prison.

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forchristsake 02/11/2016 at 11:51 AM

(Comment deleted at the request of the person who made it)

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forchristsake 02/11/2016 at 11:53 AM

(Comment deleted at the request of the person who made it)

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chpn 02/11/2016 at 12:16 PM

@forchristsake the yellow building isn’t included here, it’s owned by someone else (https://chpn.net/news/2014/08/24/notes-on-a-vacant-corner-store_36184/)

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Geronimo 02/11/2016 at 12:17 PM

But what about the rats who live there now? Where will they go?

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Carly 02/11/2016 at 12:18 PM

Does the neighborhood not have limits and guidelines around maintaining historic architecture in the old city districts? I don’t believe this would pass.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 02/11/2016 at 12:31 PM

Section3, page 44 of the Old & Historic Districts Handbook that C.A.R. follows states:

” Standards for New Construction: All new residential and commercial construction, whether in the form of additions or entire buildings, should be compatible with the historic features that characterize their setting and context. To protect the context of the surrounding historic district, new construction should reference the materials, features, size, scale, proportions, and massing of the existing historic building or buildings in its setting. ”

From what I see in the immediate vicinity are Victorian style homes. The only building near by that looks anywhere similar is the Manning Funeral Home rear section while even their façade is Colonial in style.

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Carter Tuttle 02/11/2016 at 12:43 PM

Going to give the developer a 1/10 for effort. Looks worse than a landfill.

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Sean Stilwell 02/11/2016 at 1:20 PM

This post is not about the other properties in Church Hill, which are NOT for sale, it’s about the abandoned nasty lot that everyone always hated. I think the old Union Hill Twitter account is a great archive of people’s feelings about it. If you don’t remember it being a drug den, then welcome to the neighborhood.

It is a vacant lot, it will never be a row of historic buildings. Let’s use that as a basis when commenting.

I’d like to point to an earlier post referencing a building Daniil bought years ago ($65k after 6 mos. on market = UNWANTED BY ALL). Please read the comments where half the commenters shit on the idea of a restaurant at 801 N. 23rd. To say he doesn’t have skin in the neighborhood is disingenuous.

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forchristsake 02/11/2016 at 1:50 PM

(Comment deleted at the request of the person who made it)

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Ben 02/11/2016 at 1:53 PM

@Geronimo – LOL you’ve been here as long as me.. i remember those RAT ALERT (bold red all caps) flyers someone posted on our doorsteps years ago. I haven’t seen any rats in that hamburger building in a long time though.

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David 02/11/2016 at 2:21 PM

“Kleyman stresses that these images by Todd Dykshorn are definitely not the final renderings.”

I hope that’s true ’cause that is one UGLY building. HIDEOUS

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Eric S. Huffstutler 02/11/2016 at 2:58 PM

@27 Sean, I don’t think anyone here is debating the empty lot being utilized. The issue is the building design which by historic neighborhood and registry code, is supposed to complement and fit into the existing surrounding architecture. This building design does not and is butt ugly on top of it. The designs have not been submitted to the CAR yet and hope they do find issue with them.

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Lee 02/11/2016 at 2:58 PM

I don’t exactly love the exterior, but have no issue with the density. I would also point out that in the future the two corner buildings which bookend this building will either be restored or redeveloped, which could make for a pretty awesome contrast between modern and historic. The comment I hear again and again from contractors, developers, and neighbors is that the architectural review process actually works to ensure that something like this gets built, rather than something which matches the surrounding neighborhood. CAR generally will not approve buildings which exhibit “faux historicism” while still demanding that materials and form be similar to the surroundings – ultimately ensuring architectural mediocrity. My understanding is that even if developers are willing to pay for historical accuracy, unless they are restoring an existing building, it isn’t allowed.

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Daniil Kleyman 02/11/2016 at 3:04 PM

We appreciate everyone’s comments and will address some other concerns a bit later. But to those of you who somehow think a conversation about bringing life to a vacant, trashy, neglected-for-decades lot should somehow involve “restoring dilapidated buildings”, I’d like to point out just some of the completely falling down dilapidated buildings in the neighborhood that I have brought back over the last few years:

801 N. 23rd st (now known as Metzger). Also see new construction next door to it.
2119 M st
2005 Cedar st
519-521 N. 30th st
810 N. 21st (restoring now)
307 N. 33rd
416 N. 33rd
819-821 N. 33rd
901 N. 35th
1112 N. 35th
1224 N. 35th
1217 N. 37th
1301 N. 38th
1310 N. 38th

This is just a partial list and I can keep going….. These were all completely neglected, vacant shells, that were fully restored.

Matt and I have both invested HEAVILY into this community. We have lived in this neighborhood for many years and plan to stay here. And we’ll make sure this is a quality project.

But there is a strong difference between empty mud slinging and constructive criticism/feedback that will help shape this project. We invite the latter with open arms.

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BAF 02/11/2016 at 3:15 PM

While I am personally not thrilled with the design, I AM thrilled that someone is going to develop that muddy vacant parcel. In doing so, it may create the impetus for the owner of the derelict convenience store to sell to someone who is willing to do something with the property.

I also recognize that these renderings are likely not what they intend to build designwise, so dumping on them is a pointless exercise. I hope they can find a design that meets CARs approval and move forward with bringing yet another block of the neighborhood back to life.

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BAF 02/11/2016 at 3:22 PM

@26 Heaven forbid that we have offices near where we live. it will be the end of the neighborhood.

Obviously there is a market for it, or they would not be proposing it. I don’t think the fabric of the neighborhood would be ruined by an insurance agency, law firm, accountant or creative firm opening shop.

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BAF 02/11/2016 at 3:24 PM

@33 If you can take over the mess on the O Street between 25th and 26th and finish that abandoned project, I will personally support anything you want to build on this other location! Fair trade in my book!

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Eric S. Huffstutler 02/11/2016 at 3:34 PM

Daniil, true but restoring exiting houses is a bit different than building a new infill that is supposed to fit into its surroundings. Do you have other design ideas in mind that looks more 1880s than 1940s warehouse?

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Tom Zydel 02/11/2016 at 3:37 PM

Nice work Matt and Daniil! Keep pushing the neighborhood forward.

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Hill Runner 02/11/2016 at 3:47 PM

@35 Agreed. Heaven forbid we create a neighborhood where people can work, live, shop, and dine in the same place. That would just be terrible.

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chpn 02/11/2016 at 3:50 PM

@BAF – from all that I hear, the O Street project hasn’t been abandoned, just awaiting some legal resolution. Hope to have clarification on that in the near future.

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Sean Stilwell 02/11/2016 at 4:02 PM

Who is selling all these houses? Everything that goes for sale in church hill immediately has a buyer. I can promise, as a Realtor in Richmond, that houses are selling as fast as humanly possible in Church Hill. The investors can’t get these houses/lots fast enough.

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Stacie Birchett 02/11/2016 at 4:41 PM

Will any of the apartments be designated as affordable housing, so that the residents of Church Hill who have lived through the downturn might be able to take advantage of the revitalization?

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Leah Coleman 02/11/2016 at 6:50 PM

Congratulations Matt and DaniIl on this teamwork! As a former resident there, I’m always thrilled to see all this restoration going on! If I can say anything of value to the people of Churchill, it would be this- that the two of you absolutely love what you do and are very sensitive to embrace feedback and ideas. You have great wisdom when it comes to business, development, what the generation will call for also in the years ahead, and are very familiar with the economic shifts concerning the growth of the area as well as the population increase. To be able to consider all things and to do your best to capture the spirit of the neighborhood – I know you will do it! Best to you all on this project and continuing to move forward Churchill! Ps- Chuck can come kill the rats if there’s a concern of that at anytime. Did I ever tell you the story of him in a warehouse downtown with over 20,000 rats? Yeah, head on. Crazy. Knew he’d win in Pest Control ever since!

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Brandon 02/11/2016 at 7:39 PM

This is exciting! I hope the same type of development trickles up 25th street to the nine mile corridor over the next couple years. Will there be any meetings or surveys related to this development for community input on the design aspects?

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forchristsake 02/11/2016 at 7:42 PM

(Comment deleted at the request of the person who made it)

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Bryan Traylor 02/11/2016 at 10:13 PM

Kudos gentlemen for going where few have gone. Truly revolutionary, gutsy and outspoken in both design and opinion of use. Kinda reminds me of most Church Hill residents.

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BAF 02/11/2016 at 10:26 PM

@John

I knew it was in litigation. Now the properties are boarded up again. Good thing in that those building were open to the elements and who knows what else. Bad news in that I figured if they did have to board them up, work would not be restarting anytime soon.

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Aud 02/12/2016 at 7:36 AM

Please improve on the design, it’s pretty bad.

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Emily Love 02/12/2016 at 8:12 AM

Way to go Matt & Daniil! Bringing life to this area and business has to be great for the area. Don’t let negative people bring you down. People are just reluctant to change. A garden seems safer.

PS Matt has been in the hill for over a decade now- definitely has skin in the game and the hills best interest. Just open your eyes and see all the renovations and new construction he has done in the last 10 years. Do you want a 2006 church hill or a 2016 church hill? Place has come a long way with him and people alike.

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Timothy 02/12/2016 at 12:03 PM

Just my .02, but I’d love to see a contemporary building go up that isn’t hobbled by “references” to historic architecture. Otherwise I really support this.

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Lee 02/12/2016 at 1:54 PM

@54 – This was kind of my point in my earlier comment. If a building must “reference” historic architecture without appearing historic, how is it supposed to have any aesthetic or architectural identity of it’s own? I would rather see something jarringly different but aesthetically pleasing – something with it’s own aesthetic or design philosophy, be it a historic style or something unique – then something that just fades into the background.

I don’t think this proposal is bad, and I’m sure that Matt and Daniil will deliver a high quality product. While I do think there is room for improvement, I think the CAR guidelines/process are probably what need to change.

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Paul S 02/12/2016 at 3:03 PM

I’m OK with the massing. I think the density is fine for this parcel. The facade design could use some improvement to bring it to a more human scale. Mainly the facade needs more detail and dimension/depth. I think that could be accomplished in part by overhauling the looks of the windows. The windows in the rendering appear to be those awful horizontal sliders. What if instead the building had windows more like the typical classic brick Church Hill rowhome has? Double hung with thick wood trim…

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Timothy 02/12/2016 at 4:51 PM

@ 55. Lee, I could not agree with you more. Especially with so many empty lots begging for original modern development to compliment our authentic history.

I don’t know if it’s the CAR, the CHA, or just a vocal group of NIMBY neighbors – whatever regime enforces this adherence to aesthetic uniformity needs to lighten up before we trap ourselves in a homogeneous Baudrillardian dystopia.

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Snarchitect 02/12/2016 at 5:37 PM

I don’t have complaint with the density or general appearance, but I do worry about how this design interacts at street level on M Street and 24th Street. These essentially feel like back walls, especially the wall on 24th Street with the auto entrance. A long brick wall with a curb cut for cars but nothing on a pedestrian scale is out of place around here more than a 3 story building.

I try to think of larger buildings in the area for comparison. The line of new houses east of Millie’s are a connected masonry wall that offer clues for a better street facade. Even the newer buildings coming up Broad towards 21st present to the sidewalk better. The line of storefronts that used to sit where Patrick Henry Park is now are maybe the best example of what a full commercial block should feel like in this specific neighborhood setting.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 02/12/2016 at 9:03 PM

False Historicism is a buzz word that floated around here a few years back when Johannas forced his modernistic designs that did not fit into a historic district and a conflict of interest being on the CAR board. Fortunately when Catherine Easterling was on the board, better designs were approved. You can build something that looks like Victorian architecture and also have small hints of it being new, especially under the walls. But if a buyer purchases a house built in 2000 and thinks it was built in 1880, then they need their head examined for not investigating and being that gullible. I think paperwork telling its age is enough to distinguish the difference.

Yes, parking will always be a problem. As I had mentioned several times before, our neighborhood was built during a time before automobiles and people walked from trolleys and buses so no parking issues. When you convert a building to be something other than it originally was, or divide up a house, you only compound the parking headaches. A new business can only survive if people are able to patronize it. A good example is the restaurant building on the corner of 18th and Main (1800 E Main). No business survives there due to lack of parking and being on a busy corner. Location, Location, Location.

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BAF 02/14/2016 at 10:23 AM

@60

Eric, 18th and Main does just fine. Pizza Place has been there forever. Southern Kitchen seems to do quite well from what I can see as I drive by. Sweet Tea’s did well too. I know they had a lot of problems with the building’s maintenance and kept closing for repairs before moving over to 17th–which also gave them a larger space. Assuming the building’s internal problems are under control, there is no reason a restaurant cannot succeed in that space. Sweet Tea’s did well there. Perhaps there’s no market in that area for Jamaican food like Kool Runnings was offering, or maybe the place just wasn’t that great. I’m not a huge fan of Jamaican food so I never went in.

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Jennings 02/15/2016 at 9:21 AM

Excited to see a proposal to continue growth and development in this area. A space that will bring new residents to Church Hill, provide young professionals and small business owners a place to live and work will keep the community thriving. The co-working model has successfully taken off like wildfire in other areas and I think would do well here. Matt/Daniil’s wealth of experience and passion for the community ensure the project is in really good hands. Very cool guys!

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Daniil Kleyman 04/12/2016 at 11:24 AM

We have been making pretty significant redesigns of this project and will have some updated (not final) plans to show at the Union Hill Civic Association meeting tomorrow night (Wednesday April 13th) at 7pm at the Community Resource Center. Anyone interested is welcome.

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Updated plans for Jefferson Avenue development at UHCA meeting on Wednesday | Church Hill People's News 04/12/2016 at 9:24 PM

[…] will update on the proposed development on the triangle between Jefferson, 24th, and M Streets. Daniil Kleyman says “We have been making pretty significant redesigns of this project and will have some updated […]

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Updated plans for Jefferson Avenue development | Church Hill People's News 04/14/2016 at 2:11 PM

[…] Matt Jarreau and Daniil Kleyman shared last night at the Union Hill Civic Association updated drawings for a mixed-use development in the mostly vacant triangle bound by Jefferson Avenue, M Street, and 24th Street. This is the 2nd round of drawings after a presentation and feedback in February. […]

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