City Council green lights projects for 2nd Street, North Side, East End

Jeremy M. Lazarus | 5/1/2015, 10:56 a.m.
New apartments finally could rise on the site of the former Eggleston Hotel at 2nd and Leigh streets in Jackson ...

New apartments finally could rise on the site of the former Eggleston Hotel at 2nd and Leigh streets in Jackson Ward.

City Council gave a thumbs up Monday by voting 9-0 to allow the long-stalled project to receive a grant of $250,544 over seven years through the city’s Economic Development Authority.

Developer Kelvin Hanson, who initially proposed Eggleston Plaza five years ago, said he hopes to have the $5.8 million project underway this summer.

His plans call for building 31 apartments on the corner site, with retail or restaurant space on the first floor. Plans also include reopening Croaker’s Spot restaurant across 2nd Street and to develop 10 townhouse-style apartments a block away at 12 E. Jackson St. The restaurant has been vacant for several years.

The project has been approved for funding through the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The grant is being provided to fill the final hole in the financing, according to city officials, but is contingent upon the project creating 15 full-time jobs.

The old Eggleston Hotel was one of the two hotels in Jackson Ward where African-American visitors could stay during the era of segregation. Louis Armstrong and James Brown were among visiting entertainers who stayed at the three-story hotel during stops for performances at the Hippodrome Theater, located across 2nd Street.

The hotel was torn down in 2009 after it partially collapsed.

In other business at its Monday meeting, the council also:

• Approved 9-0 a $200,000 grant to aid a development group, Dixon/Lee of Richmond, to create a café and workforce center at 201 W. Brookland Park Blvd. — the site of a long-vacant bank building. Dixon/Lee plans to renovate the building and create 17 new jobs, a condition for receiving the grant.

• Agreed 9-0 to the city’s sale of two small, East End properties to Bon Secours Health System to clear the way for a proposed $8.5 million medical village near the system’s Richmond Community Hospital.

Bon Secours needs the city property to complete the site for the long-promised construction of an office and wellness center that is projected to create 75 new jobs. The hospital system has purchased, or is in the process of buying, the rest of the property in the block bounded by Nine Mile Road and 26th, 27th and T streets. The city-owned lots are at 1418 N. 27th St. and 2534 Nine Mile Road.

The medical village is one of the projects Bon Secours promised to undertake as part of its deal with the city to participate in development of the summer training camp for Washington’s professional football team.

• Authorized the city to accept $1 million in state and federal funding to create a bike-rental system in the city. The city is to match those funds with $280,000 and use them to pay for 300 bikes and to set up 30 rental stations.

The system would allow people to rent at one station and return the bike to another. Some of the stations could be in operation before the international bike race arrives in Richmond in September. The purpose of the new rental system is to expand bike use in the city.