City Grill

John GillenwaterJohn Gillenwater 
Vice President, Business Development
KBS Inc.

Urban mid-rise, mixed-use projects are trending in Richmond, says Gillenwater, who notes the city “remains a desirable place to live due to the cost of living and the food and craft beer scene.”

Continued demand is challenging firms to fit new designs with existing buildings. “Parking and green spaces are also a challenge,” Gillenwater says. “Most multifamily structures are built on podium decks, and green spaces and dog parks are on the rooftops.”

KBS is slated to deliver two mid-rise projects soon in Richmond, including The Penny at Jackson Ward in August and the Locks Tower in September. The Penny is a five-story, 166-unit building with 178 parking spaces in a two-level garage beneath first-floor retail. The nearly 355,000-sq-ft Locks Tower includes 237 units in 11 floors above grade.

Retail, higher education, office and hospitality markets are also solid, Gillenwater says. “Industrial is starting to fire up with large warehouse space being in demand,” he adds.

KBS expects to remain busy for the next couple of years, although history would indicate that the economy is “due for a correction,’” Gillenwater says. Still, he adds, “All current indicators are that our market is steady.”

Firm in Focus

Branch Builds
1100 Boulders Parkway, Ste. 600, Richmond
MidAtlantic Leadership: Craig Floyd, President; Bill Madison, Business Unit Leader
Founded: 1963
What’s New: Branch Builds is constructing several multifamily and education projects in Central Virginia. The projects include The Jane at Moore’s Lake, a $33-million, 200-unit apartment development in Chester, and Magnolia Green Apartments, a $30-million, 248-unit project in Chesterfield County.

For the Greene County Public Schools, Branch is renovating and building additions to a middle school and a high school. The company is also carrying out sitework and construction services for George Mason Elementary School, a new facility in the Richmond City Public Schools system.

Branch also has significant experience in renovation and adaptive reuse projects. The company, formerly named Branch & Associates, has offices in Richmond, Roanoke, Northern Virginia and Charlotte.