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New Condos, Retail Coming to the Fan

The trolley barn, hidden behind the warehouse, will be visible once demolition is complete and will be incorporated into the project design as a historic feature with its attendant tax abatements and credits. (Trolley tracks can still be seen beneath the road surface on some parts of Main Street. The trolley's electric cars ran in Richmond until the late 1940s, when buses replaced them.)

On the residential side of the property, architect David Johannas has designed units with heavy timber trusses, walled courtyards and about 1,300 square feet of living space; they'll list in the mid-$300,000 range and open onto Vine Street. Shops and outdoor dining will face Main.

"We're providing the opportunity for a retailer to own their own space, not lease it, which is pretty unusual anywhere," says Marc Greenberg, one of the developers of The Trolley Shops and Condominiums. "And it's one of the few projects in the Fan that has 63 off-street parking spaces," which he hopes will appeal to a potential restaurant operator, still to be determined.

"This is a big block to develop," Johannas says of the project, "and the city's goal for this strip is to be an active, urban retail area. It will bring retail right up to the street, more toned-down than uptown, but still multicolored and lively." With another new condo project coming to the 1700 block of West Cary this year and other businesses opening nearby, change is evident in an area recently marked by neglect but now getting a closer look by potential investors. — Deveron Timberlake

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