Landmark skyscraper has a new life in Richmond - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Landmark skyscraper has a new life in Richmond

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

One of the tallest buildings in Richmond stood abandoned for nearly 13 years. Now a former crown jewel of Broad Street is getting a new life.

The Central National Bank Building is being converted into apartments and restaurants, returning an art deco masterpiece to public use.

Among the building's notable features is a three-story lobby with a vaulted ceiling and bronze decor. The space could house a high-end restaurant, with underground dining space extending into the original bank vaults.

"I think it will be one of the most stunning spaces in the city," said Bob Mills, principal of Commonwealth Architects. "This is something like you would see in New York, and we're very excited to see major construction now beginning."

The building will house 202 apartments, with rents ranging from $800 to $1,500 per month. The apartment portion of the building will only contain rental units, with views of Broad Street, Downtown and the James River.

Originally conceived in the 1920s, the CNB Building was banned from rising in Richmond's financial district. Construction was moved from the center of the city, to the corner of E. Broad and N. 3rd streets.

"The owners of the bank were Jewish. And a lot of the old guard in Richmond didn't want them to have their headquarters in the middle of the financial district," said Patrick Thompson, project architectural designer in an interview Monday. "In order to spite them, they built the tallest, most elaborate building they could come up with."

The tower is 23 stories, but a four-story annex with 62 apartments will open in July 2014. The rest of the building is scheduled to open by the end of 2014.

The building is now owned by Douglas Development, purchased in 2005 for $5.2 million. W.M. Jordan is the contractor for the project.

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