The Depot project, VCU’s renovation of a former railway station, took top honors in the Urban Land Institute’s Vision Awards Wednesday evening.

The project, used for multidisciplinary classes by the university’s School of the Arts, received ULI Richmond’s awards for Best Public-Private Partnership and Innovative Deal of the Year.

According to the institute, The Depot is “a strong example of a community and economic development effort where creative financing, land-use principles, and multiuse, multipurposed buildings are important elements.”

Features of the building at 814 W. Broad St. in Richmond include a student-run exhibition space for students and local artists; the new home of VCU’s Department of Kinetic Imaging; an 8,000-square-foot dance studio; the Creative Entrepreneurship and CoLab internship programs; and the Alchemy Coffee shop. Most of the furniture for the classroom spaces were made using reclaimed wood and fabricated steel frames.

“Every time I would see the building, I’d think about what the building could be,” said Mitzi M. Lee, Virginia Commonwealth University’s director of real estate services.

“It’s one of the most amazing collaborative projects I’ve been a part of in real estate development,” Lee said. “This facility provides wonderful inspirational space that encourages collaboration.”

The VCU Real Estate Foundation developed The Depot, with the university as tenant. Architect for the project was Commonwealth Architects and the contractor was Trent Corp.

Two ULI Richmond members were honored for their contributions to the organization’s work:

  • Wayne A. Chasen, president and CEO of Gumenick Properties, Member of the Year Award

Chasen epitomizes the ULI’s promotion of leadership in land use, setting high standards for quality, mentoring young professionals in the field, and creating developments that will endure as parts of the community, said McGuireWoods partner Gloria L. Freye, chair of ULI’s Richmond District Council.

  • T. Preston Lloyd Jr., attorney with Williams Mullen, Young Leader of the Year Award

Lloyd was recognized for his willingness to take an active leadership role in ULI Richmond, Freye said, pointing to his work to grow the group’s mentorship program.

Other projects singled out for Vision Awards were:

  • The Faison Residence, 5215 W. Broad St., Henrico County, Most Creative Use of Land/Rezoning Project

The property is owned by 5215 W. Broad St. LLC. Whiting Turner Contracting Co. handled construction, and the Baskervill firm was the architect. ECI Development Management Services was the third-party developer for the Faison School for Autism.

  • The Beacon Theatre, 401 N. Main St., Hopewell, Best Adaptive Reuse

The City of Hopewell is the theater project’s owner-developer. The project team included Commonwealth Architects, general contractor J.W. Enochs Inc.; Koelzer & Associates Consulting Engineers Inc. and Dunlap & Partners Engineers; and historic consultant Sadler & Whitehead Architects PLC.

  • Cookie Factory Lofts, Richmond, Best Renovation

The apartment project’s owner-developers are The Rebkee Co. and Serabi LLC. Commonwealth Architects did the architecture work, and

  • Willow Lawn Redevelopment, 1601 Willow Lawn Drive, Henrico, Top Smart Growth Project

Federal Realty Investment Trust of Rockville, Md., is the owner and developer, and the architect was Baskervill.

  • Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, Louisa, Best Community Impact

The owner-developer was the Louisa County School Board, working with RRMM Architects and Rancorn Wildman Architects, general contractor Oyster Point Construction, and consulting engineer Timmons Group.

The awards ceremony was at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond.

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