A New Chapter in the Life of a Historic Richmond Skyscraper
- Jul 16, 2015
By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor
One of Richmond’s tallest skyscrapers is about to start a new life as apartments. Construction crews are still working on the renovation and conversion of the Central National Bank building, but the 86-year-old old tower is expected to open its doors to the public once more in just a few months.
The 23-story skyscraper was originally constructed in 1929, at the southwest corner of North Third and East Broad streets in downtown Richmond. It was designed in the Art Deco style by John Eberson, a world renowned European-born American architect.
Washington, D.C.-based Douglas Development Corp. purchased the tower in 2008 with plans to redevelop the aging property. However, the planning process took several years and work only started in the fall of 2013. The project is now entering the final stretch and the 248,000-square-foot property is expected to reopen either late this year or early 2016. When fully renovated, the revamped tower and its four-story annex will offer 200 new apartments.
According to The Richmond Times-Dispatch, redevelopment costs amount to more than $36 million—making the tower’s renovation one of the largest historic rehab projects in both Richmond and the state of Virginia. In an interview for the newspaper, Robert Mills—a principal of Commonwealth Architects, the project’s architect—praised the skyscraper, calling it the most beautiful bank building in Richmond. He also added that, because of its size, the project will have a greater impact on the community than any other Richmond historic rehabilitation done to date.
Photo credit: Douglas Development Corp.