2003 is a year that should be given a posthumous award for ‘The Year that Richmond Changed Forever.’
In 2003, a group of far sighted Richmond developers looked across the Manchester Bridge (14th Street) at the blighted and industrial area of the city called ‘Manchester’ and said ‘lets develop there.’
“South of the River?!? Are you nuts?!?!” said the bankers and experts. “No right-minded Richmonder would want to live in Manchester” was the prevailing thought. “We had to PAY SunTrust to stay there” and therefore residential development in Manchester would not work.
Flash forward to 2014 and you will find over 1000 separate residences in the industrial Manchester with more on the way. You will find trend-setting and award-winning offices and residences in Manchester (Corrugated Box, Plant Zero, The Decatur) and you will find the 17 acre site that is ‘South Plant.’
You will also find the building that started it all, Warehouse 201.
What makes the Warehouse 201 story so interesting is that it was literally the first building renovated using historic credits in industrial Manchester. What makes it even more compelling is that this 5 story concrete and brick austere warehouse ushered in an era of loft/flat/industrial living in not only Manchester, but Shockoe, Jackson Ward and Tobacco Row.
This development momentum which was initiated by Warehouse 201 in Manchester has now spread to much of the districts smaller and mid-sized buildings. Dwarfing them all is the Reynold South Plant site which abuts the property to the south. 17 acres large with over 400,000 square feet of historic warehouse structure to renovate, South Plant is poised to change the landscape in Richmond.
Manchester is quickly becoming an overnight success in the last 10 years. As more and more developers bring life back to the vacant industrial section of town and the massive South Plant project reshapes the landscape, the people are becoming more comfortable with calling Manchester home.