RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The old Oak Grove Elementary School has been empty for nearly a decade but could soon be turned into an affordable multifamily housing development in Richmond’s Southside.
The Richmond City Council passed an ordinance on Sept. 26 approving the sale of the 5.1-acre property to Oak Grove Partners, LLC, a partnership between Richmond developer Lynx Ventures and the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust, a housing nonprofit, for $500,000.
Oak Grove Partners will demolish the shuttered school at 2200 Ingram Ave. to make way for the housing development and must follow certain conditions under the ordinance.
“While it understands and respects that the school bears historic significance for the neighborhood, the long period of neglect makes a rehabilitation financially impractical, and Oak Grove Partnership proposes razing the structure,” the developers wrote to the city in March.
The elementary school was abandoned after Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary opened. In 2017, 8News reported on a clerical error by the city’s school board that left the old Oak Grove empty for years without maintenance or any plan to move forward with the site.
“The team believes that it is important to honor the history of the school and its important role in the neighborhood, and commits to incorporate its legacy into a new project while also accomplishing today’s goals of creating quality affordable housing for the future of Oak Grove,” the developers’ letter continued.
The plan requires the developers to complete at least 220 multifamily units offered with 30-year income rent restrictions to households earning on average no more than 60% of the area median income and at least 15 for-sale townhomes or condos at or below 80% of the area median income within five years.
In the Richmond metro area, data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development shows that 60% of the area’s median income is $43,200 for a two-person household and $54,000 for a four-person household. The income limit for a two-person household making 80% or less of the area median income is $64,450.
According to the city’s report on the proposal, the developers project a total capital investment of over $45 million, leveraging over $20 million in state and federal funds, and expect the plan to create more than 150 construction jobs.