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Renewing Old Buildings in Richmond, VA

Richmond Homepage: Real Estate Homepage

Sunday, August 28, 2005

As the walls come tumbling down inside the Central National Bank building downtown, the work marks the latest in a list of challenging projects on the rsum of Stanley Shield LLC.

This budding development and contracting company is making a name for itself in rehabilitating older buildings in Richmond and building new ones in Hanover County.

One of its projects -- redevelopment of the Pohlig Box Factory at 25th and East Franklin streets -- earned the company a local renovation award last year.

The company serves as a full owner and developer of a project or as a general contractor.

"Where we are at least 50 percent owner is our ideal situation, but we do some general contracting work on select jobs," said Henry Shield, 32, who formed Stanley Shield with George Stanley, 32, and later with Jimmy Stanley, 30.

Reuse is the focus

George Stanley focuses on adaptive reuse. His brother and Shield oversee new construction. Shield is also the president of a separate company, The Shield Co. that builds and develops residential homes.

Though Stanley Shield is small in terms of the number of employees (15 on their payroll), they have a large amount of experience.

Shield was raised in the residential construction business. His father, Andy Shield, owns The Shield Co. Henry Shield later moved to Fort Worth, Texas -- his wife's hometown -- and worked for national homebuilding company KB Homes.

George worked for Emerald Homes in Richmond and later joined Shield in Fort Worth at KB Homes.

"We often dreamed about what we wanted to do," Shield said. "I wanted to come back and build houses, but we also talked about branching off of that."

Reared in Henrico

The trio grew up in Henrico County.

Shield and George met while attending Collegiate School. They attended Hampden-Sydney College, but George graduated from James Madison University.

Jimmy attended Douglas Freeman High School and Virginia Military Institute.

Shield and George came back to Richmond from Fort Worth in 2000 and consulted with Shield's father, who helped them kick off their new venture. In July 2002, they founded Stanley Shield.

After several small commercial projects, Stanley Shield made a name for itself with its renovation work on the Pohlig Box Factory.

As part owner and one of the lead developers and contractors on the project, they transformed the 20th-century, paper-box factory into 65 one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Last year, the project won the Alliance to Conserve Old Richmond Neighborhoods' Golden Hammer award for the best large-scale commercial renovation. The Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate presented its project of the year to the Pohlig renovation.

Also last year, the company moved forward by hiring Jeremy Connell as a project manger.

Connell obtained his background in construction management and development by working for Miller & Associates, a local company that specializes in historic renovations.

"I have a great fascination and love of older architecture," said Connell, 36. "I had a great desire to get into historic preservation, and Richmond was the place to come."

Company officials agree that a lot of renovation is taking place in Richmond -- and they want a piece of the action.

Stanley Shield recently did all the general contracting work on the 1892 Cornish Home Brewery building on Clay and Harrison streets. It now has 37 apartments.

"It was a very, very tough job," George said. "It had been neglected for 30 years and had had several fires in it. Most people would have bulldozed it, but the owner, because of the historic value and tax rebates, decided to save it."

The company also was the contractor on the century-old Commonwealth Printing Co. building at 311 West Broad St. They transformed it into the Quirk Art Gallery for James E. Ukrop, the chairman of Ukrop's Super Markets and First Market Bank. The art gallery will open next month.

Stanley Shield has begun renovating the former St. Patrick's School on Church Hill into 15 condominiums.

But the company's latest challenge is demolishing the interior of Central National Bank building at 219 E. Broad St.

The 23-story art deco building was Richmond's first skyscraper when it was completed in 1929.

The building, now owned by Douglas Development Corp., is slated for Class A office space. Plans call for an arcade of retail shops and restaurants on the first floor, where the vaulted ceiling soars three stories above the former teller windows.

"The arcade was essentially a hallway that goes straight from Broad Street to Grace Street and was historically lined with shops such as clothiers, barbers, hair stylists, shoe shines and cobblers," Connell said.

The main lobby and exterior facade will also be restored.

"We hope to be done with this current phase in early fall," he said.

Earlier this year, Jimmy Stanley, who had been working in real estate development and construction since 1998, joined the company.

He and Shield work on the new construction side of the business.

The focus of most of their work has been in the Bell Creek development in Hanover off Meadowbridge Road. The company has developed and built a dentist office, a day care and the Bell Creek Town Center strip shopping center. They are planning a medical office complex development.

Shield said he thinks that the company's skill level and residential background has helped it do well in commercial construction.

"I think what separates us is our attention to detail," Shield said. "And these historic jobs are so detailed that you can't just send anyone in to work on them. We are not heavy in employees, but we have very skilled, valuable people who make us who we are."

Connell, the project manager, agreed.

"We are a young group full of big ideas and have experienced great success," Connell said. "We look forward to doing a lot of other projects."

New Construction
New Development


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