By Carol Hazard
Husband and wife development team bought an iconic building in Scott’s Addition. Now Carter and Annie Snipes of Snipes Properties are trying to figure out what to do with what the Department of Historic Resources calls one of the few examples of exotic revival-style architecture in Richmond. The exotic style is borne in the Eastern or Islamic influence of mosaic tiles but more pointedly in a minaret that tops one corner of the two-story building at 2816 W. Broad St. just west of Boulevard. The eastern tower has a copper-clad, onion-style dome or minaret with arched openings, while the western tower has a hipped roof and square openings.
The Hoffheimer building, built in 1928 for Herold R. Hoffheimer as a rug cleaning and storage facility, is most readily identified by its white stucco exterior and arched openings. Vacant since 2007, the building held an Adams Camera shop. The second floor was used by Marianna School of Dance as a studio from 1980 to 2000. The couple invited the community last week to the building for its take on what the structure should become. Nearly 200 people accepted the offer for food, drinks and ideas. “We had several great ideas from art space to brewery incubator,” Carter Snipes said. “So lots of things to explore.”
“The overwhelming response from the community was that they really want some kind of ‘destination venue’ for Scott’s Addition instead of more apartments,” he said. Carter Snipes said he is in the midst of meeting with arts groups and restaurant operators to discuss possibilities. “Basically, we are actively looking for a tenant or tenants to build the space out for.” He said they will most likely need to apply for a special-use permit. “There is tons of on-street parking, but the building was built with no parking in the 1920s,” he said. The couple closed on the 14,400-square-foot building in January for $350,000, securing a $1.4 million construction loan from First Capital Bank to develop it. “We have a soft spot for the arts,” Annie Snipes said. They said they would like to see retail and a restaurant on the ground floor and an art gallery or banquet space on the open second floor. The rooftop — with views of the Science Museum of Virginia and Cookie Factory Lofts — has possibilities for outdoor dining, they added. Their fallback plan is apartments, they said, but they shrink away from the thought of closing in the open space.
By Carol Hazard