I am not sure exactly why, but I decided to go biking through Manchester Saturday while temperatures soared into the high 90s with a heat index of 108. Luckily I was rewarded with some new sights for my effort. Perhaps the most interesting of all the scenery I spied was the new construction that has begun at 7 West.
If you are unfamiliar with the 7 West project, it is a 12 unit contemporary Town Home development being led by Jeremy Connell’s Pareto, LLC, Mario DiMarco Architects, and One South Realty Group’s Patrick Sullivan & Rick Jarvis. Based on the signage, the General Contractor for the project appears to be Hunnicutt Construction.
The project is an ambitious addition to Manchester where development activity has consisted mostly of apartment projects and duplexes. Located at the Southeastern edge of the Manchester bridge, the town homes will offer river views and are priced in a range from $699,000-$869,000 a piece. While those are not unreasonable prices when considering the incredible view of the James, it will certainly test the upper end of the Manchester market and set the bar for what people are willing to pay to be part of one of the most rapidly transforming areas of Richmond.
The City of Richmond’s Riverfront Plan for Manchester calls for converting the large Norfolk Southern Railyard that sits directly between 7 West and the flood wall into public green space called “Manchester Green.” The idea is for the City to purchase the Norfolk Southern parcel, fill it with enormous amounts of dirt in order to raise the grade of the parcel so it is level with the top of the flood wall, and put public green space atop that will afford incredible views of the river in a parklike environment.
However, that plan has seen little to no action behind it since it was created in 2012. I suspect that potential 7 West property owners will be keenly interested in seeing the City move forward with its plans and hold them accountable for doing so. If the City does in fact deliver on the Riverfront Plan, the 7 West owners would have an incredible view not only of the James, but a serene public green space buffer between their homes and the river.
Regardless of the City’s intentions, based on the photos below the contractor has already begun clearing the site of excess vegetation. I suspect demolition of the existing buildings will be next. It will be interesting to watch this ambitious project unfold. According to the 7 West marketing site, 2 of the 12 units have already been pre-sold.