After years in the shadow of Linden Row Inn, the last of the original Linden Row homes not included in the hotel is preparing to be reintroduced to society.
Douglas Development is completing the apartment conversion of the house located at 114 E. Franklin St., the easternmost of the mid-19th century townhouses that make up the historic Linden Row block.
The $ 1.7 million project is bringing life to the only remaining Linden Row house that has not been converted into what is now Linden Row Inn, which includes the seven homes closest to First Street.
Two other houses that made up the original row of 10 were demolished 100 years ago to make way for the adjacent Medical Arts Building, which now houses the Linden Tower Apartments on Franklin and Second Streets.
Wedged between that seven-story building and the hotel, the 114 E. Franklin home had been dormant for years, with its entrance chained with a “Private Property” sign attached. Douglas bought it at an auction in 2008 for just over $ 456,000. In recent months, the channel has been phased out as construction on the project began.
The approximately 8,000 square foot three-story house with an English basement now houses 11 studios and one-bedroom apartments, ranging in size from 380 to 765 square feet. Monthly rents start at $ 1,350 for studios and $ 1,675 for one-bedroom.
It is called The Edgar at Linden Row to pay tribute to the writer Edgar Allan Poe, known to play on the property as a child, when it was a garden filled with lime trees, before construction townhouses.
Each apartment is also named after the writer or his works, with names such as “The Poe”, “The Helen” and “The Raven”. The apartments logo also includes an image of a crow, referring to perhaps the writer’s best-known poem.
Cindy King, asset manager for Douglas’s Richmond office, said the Washington-based company considered several approaches to ownership before going ahead with the project.
âWe looked at a few different options for this location. It’s a bit unique, âKing said.
Douglas worked with contractor LF Jennings on the rehabilitation, which was designed by the Richmond architectural design office. ADO’s Todd Dykshorn said the building was in good condition compared to other historic rehabilitations he has worked on in the city.
âMuch of the interior character was in place, at least in the front rooms, which are the most important,â said Dykshorn. âWe were very excited when we started with the extent of the historical material that was in there.â
He said a previous renovation about 20 years ago left the building’s rear wing gutted on all floors except one. His approach was to match these areas to the front rooms of the house, restoring the plaster walls and ceilings and matching the heart pine floors of the house. Finishing work on the rooms and ceiling medallions also provided a guide.
âThis type of structure, typically the rear wing, wasn’t that formal anyway, but materially we just wanted it to have the same character of the era of stuff the front has,â says- he.
He said the old windows of the building, while not original, were in good enough condition to be restored rather than refurbished. He said the staircase, front living room rooms and portico were also in good condition.
The challenge, Dykshorn said, was to install 11 apartments in what was once a single-family residence, albeit a large one. He said one strategy was to orient them around the windows of the house with a view of the trees in front of the building.
âWe just approached him to make the most of the materials and the historic character that was in place in setting up these small units,â he said.
Built in the mid-1800s, Linden Row is listed on National and National Historic Records and is recognized as one of the largest rows of Greek Revival architecture in the country. When the two easternmost houses were razed in the early 1920s, the remaining houses were rescued by Mary Wingfield Scott, architectural historian and local curator.
Scott would later donate what became Linden Row Inn to a local nonprofit, Historic Richmond, leading to the property being converted in 1988 into a hotel, now managed by Savara Hospitality. But Scott never owned 114 E. Franklin St., hence his exclusion from his donation to Historic Richmond, said Cyane Crump, the group’s general manager.
King said the rental of The Edgar is underway, with a website launching and Drucker + Falk managing the rental. She said they had started taking tours and were preparing to move in next month.
âIt’s only 11 apartments, so we feel like they will go really fast,â King said.
The Edgar rents include access to amenities at the Deco near CNB, the apartments in the old National Central Bank building that Douglas rehabilitated several years ago. Facilities include a fitness center and yoga studio, club room, business lounge with Wi-Fi, and pool tables.
The Edgar is one of the many rehabilitations Douglas has underway in Richmond these days.
He is in the process of converting the old Virginia Department of Environmental Quality building at 629 E. Main St. into 188 apartments. He is also redeveloping the old Stumpf Hotel building at 728 E. Main St. into 24 apartments above ground level commercial space.
The company owns several other downtown properties, including a sprawl of buildings in the Broad Street and North Second Street area. King said the company, which maintains a local office in the building it owns at 701 E. Franklin St., values ââthese properties and its other holdings in town.
âWe are determined in Richmond, and we have other things in the works,â she said.