January 11, 2013

Rent checks flow through former bank

Take it to the bank: One of downtown’s biggest apartment rehab projects is complete. Residents have begun moving into the First National Apartments, the $30 million, 154-unit reincarnation of the former First National Bank building at 823 E. Main St. Inside one of the 154 apartments.Construction on the 153,000-square-foot building ended last month and took just under a year.

Andrew Chisholm of property management firm Drucker & Falk said 55 of the apartments have been leased. The units are leasing from about $900 to upward of $3,000, Chisholm said. The ground-floor commercial space – once the bank’s lobby – is currently the leasing office, but that could change in the future.

“Once we get things up and moving, the owners want to lease it out, and we’ll move into another space,” Chisholm said.Northern Virginia-based Rushmark Properties, the building’s owner and developer, purchased the building in 2000 for $9.45 million. The developers are pursuing historic tax credits on the project.

The lender on the project is Bank of America. HITT Contracting, a Northern Virginia contracting firm, handled the renovation. Richmond-based Commonwealth Architects was the architect.

The building, which had sat vacant since 2010 when BB&T moved to Riverfront Plaza, has some competition in the downtown apartment scene. The 238-unit Residences at the John Marshall on Fifth Street opened in late 2011 after a massive renovation.

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