The transformation of the former American Tobacco Co. complex along Jefferson Davis Highway in South Richmond into the Port City development with hundreds of upscale apartments won an award for the best adaptive reuse.

The project, in which the first tenants moved in earlier this year, was among 11 developments in the Richmond area that were deemed to be the best in their categories during the 2019 Golden Hammer Awards ceremony.

There were 32 projects nominated for the awards, which recognizes the best in historic preservation, blight reduction and neighborhood revitalization. Eligible projects had to be completed after Jan. 1, 2018, and be located in the city of Richmond or in Chesterfield, Hanover or Henrico counties.

The annual event was co-hosted by Historic Richmond and Storefront for Community Design. The Golden Hammer Awards were started in 2000 with a goal of honoring excellence in neighborhood revitalization projects across the Richmond region.

The Port City complex is at 800 Jefferson Davis Highway, sandwiched between a Richmond public utilities office and the old Model Tobacco building.

“The buildings were filled with graffiti. The roofs were falling in, and the beams were falling down. It was not a safe place to be,” developer Tom Wilkinson said earlier this year.

Plans for the Port City development call for turning the former 300,000-square-foot tobacco manufacturing plant’s four interconnected brick buildings and 11 former tobacco storage sheds into 282 apartments plus 23 artist studios.

The first phase, which was completed earlier this year, has 135 apartments. That part of the project has 100% occupancy with about 80 people on a waiting list, Wilkinson said.

Plans are being finalized for a second phase, which will add 147 units.

Walter Parks Architect was the architect on the Port City project. Richmond-based Maramjen Investments LLC was the developer. KBS Inc. was the contractor.


The other winners of the Golden Hammer Awards, announced Oct. 24, were:

Best Adaptive Reuse and New Construction:

New Clay House II:

  • The Virginia Supportive Housing organization renovated and expanded the New Clay House building in the Carver neighborhood, increasing the number of apartments from 47 to 80 units. The new four-story addition blends in with the existing two-story structure, which initially opened in 1992.

Johannas Design Group was the architect. KBS Inc. was the contractor.

Perch restaurant:

  • Chef Mike Ledesma’s restaurant in Scott’s Addition took over the former Joy Garden space at 2918 W. Broad St. The 148-seat restaurant features a sleek, modern design with a main bar, a lounge, two dining areas, an enclosed patio and a chef’s table. Perch blends Pacific-inspired flavors and Virginia comfort cuisine with an emphasis on Southern hospitality.

Johannas Design Group was the architect. Charles Bice was the developer. Leipertz Construction was the contractor.

Best New Construction:

7west townhomes:

  • On the south side of the James River at the base of the Manchester Bridge, a warehouse and garage were demolished to make way for 7west, a luxury riverfront town-house development west of Legend Brewing Co. 7west development has 12 luxury town homes that efficiently utilized an awkward triangular-shaped lot to create panoramic views of the downtown skyline and James River.

Mario DiMarco Architects was the architect. Pareto LLC was the developer. Capstone Contracting is the contractor.

Solar Row:

  • Seven solar-powered homes in the 1200 block of West Leigh Street were built on land that had been vacant for more than 12 years. Each of the 1,200-square-foot homes are being sold to buyers making 80% or less of the area median income. Solar panels were added to each house to help make the homes more affordable by reducing monthly utility bills.

The nonprofit project:HOMES, which provides a buyers-assistance grant to help offset down payment and closing costs for first-time homebuyers, is the owner, developer and contractor. David Winn was the architect.

Best Placemaking:

American Civil War Museum:

  • The new $25 million American Civil War Museum opened in early May. The 29,000-square-foot brick-and-glass building connects the existing buildings on the historic Tredegar Ironworks campus and the new museum.

3north was the architect, landscape architect and designer. Whiting-Turner was the contractor.

Congregation Beth Ahabah:

  • The largest Jewish congregation in the city renovated and expanded its five-building campus at 1111 W. Franklin St. Beyond preservation of the sanctuary, the project included adding a new facade to the front of one of the buildings along Franklin Street.

Shinberg Levinas Architectural Design Inc. was the architect. Kjellstrom & Lee Construction was the contractor.

Randolph Revitalization:

  • Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity acquired 12 vacant homes and completed rehabbing them in the spring. Habitat plans to rehab 13 other homes in the area. The project:HOMES group has rehabbed or will rehab another two dozen or so homes.

Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity was the owner, developer, contractor and designer.

Best Residential:

135 Liberty St. in Petersburg:

  • The renovation was project:HOMES’ first shell renovation project in Petersburg and was completed in partnership with the Cameron Foundation. Vacant for 20 years, the home was an important piece of Petersburg’s historic architecture and was in need of preservation.

The owner, developer and contractor was project:HOMES. David Winn was the architect.

Best Single Family: Residential — New Construction:

508 W. Marshall St.:

  • The new house incorporates modern design while complementing the exteriors of the surrounding brick rowhouses on West Marshall Street.

Keenan Orfalea is the owner. Clinger Design was the architect. Spruce Construction was the contractor.

Best Restoration:

Rice House:

  • The mid-century modern house on a 13-acre island across from Pony Pasture underwent a renovation. To maintain historic authenticity, the restoration work incorporated many of the original materials that the original architect sourced when the house was built in 1963, from marble from the original Georgia quarry to the original exterior door manufacturer to match the custom sliding glass doors.

David and Christy Cottrell are the owners. 3north was the architect and landscape architect. Mako Builders was the contractor.

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