Jackson Place, Mosby South advance

Jeremy M. Lazarus | 11/23/2022, 6 p.m.
A proposal to bring a new hotel, apartments and for-sale townhomes to Jackson Ward now has a green light, as ...

A proposal to bring a new hotel, apartments and for-sale townhomes to Jackson Ward now has a green light, as does the redevelopment of another portion of public housing, the 106-unit Mosby South in the East End.

The board of Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority cleared the way for both developments at its Nov.16 meeting.

For Jackson Ward, the board’s decision revives a development earmarked for nearly 3.5 acres of vacant property bounded by 2nd, 3rd and Jackson streets and Interstate 95.

The property is part of Jackson Place, an urban renewal project the city launched more than 30 years ago to rev up Jackson Ward development. Much of the land is reborn as apartments, but this parcel, which sits next to Club 533 had languished.

A team led by Michael A. “Mike” Hopkins, owner and operator of M Companies and Emerge Construction Group, was awarded the rights to develop the property three years ago, only to see RRHA kill it in 2020 in a dispute over the price of the land.

The board’s action reinstates the Hopkins group as the developer of the property, advancing one of the largest developments RRHA has ever awarded to a Black developer.

According to board documents, the proposal would still include a potential 115-room hotel, but could include development of up to 150 apartments, 30 percent of which would be affordable or income-restricted, and 16 for sale townhouses.

Mr. Hopkins declined to comment on the proposal, noting that the final details, including the land price, still are subject to negotiation with RRHA’s administration before being returned to the board for final approval. “I’m just glad we’re moving forward,” he said. “If everything works out, this will be a development the community and the city can be proud of.”

The board also cleared the staff to work with The Richman Group of Connecticut and tenants on a plan to redevelop the 12-acre section of Mosby that sits across from Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School.

The property was first eyed for redevelopment about 25 years ago when the late Leonidas B. Young II was Richmond’s mayor.

While much of RRHA’s focus involves the redevelopment of the Creighton Court and Gilpin Court public housing communities, Mosby Court South has gained fresh attention as a result of The Richman Group’s interest.