A pair of developers seeking to convert a sprawling former tobacco warehouse into 117 apartments faced a quandary.
The city of Richmond’s planning department wanted street-facing windows included in the plans. But the state Department of Historic Resources would only approve $2.5 million in federal historic tax credits if the building’s long, windowless facade is preserved.
At Monday’s Planning Commission meeting, an unusual compromise was approved: Greenlighting the development without windows, but only on the condition that the developer agree to install them if directed to by the city in five years when the state’s historic oversight would end.
“What you see here today is a negotiated settlement to work those competing interests out,” said David White, who is developing the property with his business partner H. Louis Salomonsky.
White called it a reasonable balance between the “desire of the historic folks to leave the exterior as much like it currently is as possible and the city’s interest of getting as much light and air into these apartments as possible.”
The Planning Commission voted 8-1 to approve the special use permit allowing the residential development in an area zoned for light industrial use. The permit is scheduled to go before City Council for final approval on Monday.