Fulton Hill Properties, the company behind some of your favorite Richmond landmarks, will be offering luxury-apartment living in Fulton Hill as soon as this November.
The developer — responsible for Bottoms Up Pizza in Shockoe Bottom and the Lady Byrd Hat building of Canal Walk (also home to Carmax) — is currently building its Artisan Hill complex in an area located just above Rocketts Landing, Triple Crossing and Stone Brewing.
When completed, Artisan Hill will feature one- and two-bedroom apartments, live-work artist studios, offices and a market cafe. Surrounded by ample greenery, including Powhatan Park, the three-building community will share a 75-foot lap pool and a 3,000-square-foot gym. There also will be a fresh new soccer field that will be open for public use. Rooftop decks and other indoor/outdoor social areas will allow residents to relax and socialize with neighbors and friends. The development will also be equipped with a dog wash and a bike repair station.
And all of this comes with the blessing of the community, according to Fulton Hill Properties President and Owner Margaret Freund, who was certain to gather the support and approval of the community before she began construction. “It’s important to us that we’re helping with workforce housing,’’ she says. “We’re committed to having support from the neighborhood association and churches for the project.”
This isn’t the first time the company developed in the area. In 1999, they opened Fulton Hill Studios — a 45,000-square-foot mixed-use development that sits on five acres in the Greater Fulton area of Richmond. Previously known as the Robert Fulton Elementary School, the building was purchased by Fulton Hill Properties in 1997 and was redesigned to include 50 creative spaces, including artist studios and office spaces for photographers, marketing companies and other businesses, including their very own office.
The new Artisan Hill property is being built adjacent to the Fulton Hill Studios, which is being renovated again to include artist studio-housing.
“We’ve already got a bunch of the artists that were there moving back into the live-work studios once we are finished,” Freund explains. “Now, they will be able to live where they work. Their old studios will have kitchens and bathrooms.”
Fulton Hill Properties specializes in urban transformation. However, gentrification is not the goal. Instead, revitalization is the main focus. Because of this, the new luxury development will be affordable to those in the area.
Thanks to a few grants and a VHDA loan, 30 percent of the units will be available to those making 80 percent of the area median income. Units will range from $850 to $1,600, which is affordable compared to the market competition.
Richmond resident Robert Dewalt, who was initially apprehensive about the new development, is now excited for the project — all thanks to his grandmother.
“My grandmother was living in Fulton in the 60s and 70s when the government came in and bulldozed the place after the flood,’’ he recalls. “They said they were going to build the place back up. But they never did.”
Dewalt is making reference to the 1970 urban renewal plan that leveled 800 homes and businesses and displaced thousands of Black Americans.
“It was a tough time,” says Dewalt. “Folks were given some chump change and then told to leave.”
What’s worse, the area remained almost barren until 2014 when Stone Brewing Co. opened their 200,000-square-foot East Coast facility. That’s when other private investors began to take notice.
“I was starting to get a little worried,” explains Dewalt. “See, gentrification is actually colonization. And I was thinking that people were going to once again take what little bit we have and turn it into something for someone else. But my own grandmother says that these new apartments will help out everyone, so I’m satisfied with that.”
Freund is all too familiar with these concerns, which is why she worked with the Neighborhood Resource Center’s community organizing initiative to learn what was really needed in the community.
“One of the things that came out of the Greater Fulton’s Future Initiative was that we wanted certain benefits in the neighborhood, like a school, grocery store and jobs,’’ she emphasizes. “But we needed more people living there to get those things, so this project was motivated by that.”
Freund made a point to not only keep the community involved but to also offer the community the absolute best that it deserves. Aside from the pool, gym and social areas, each apartment unit will feature hardwood floors, granite countertops, a washer and dryer and a private balcony — all at an affordable price.
Artisan Hill will truly bring luxury to Greater Fulton and is a property that everyone in the city can be proud of.