Stan Anderson has gone from dealing in woodchippers and mulch to diving into real estate with a prominent building off West Broad as one of his initial deals.
The longtime head of Powhatan-based Virginia Wood Properties bought the former Boy Scouts of America building at 4015 Fitzhugh Ave. for $4.9 million last month.
The 13,300-square-foot building is currently being converted into a new headquarters for local architecture firm 3North.
Anderson’s leap into real estate follows his sale of Virginia Wood Properties about 18 months ago. He said he thinks the 25-year-old wood processing and mulch company was the first to offer colored mulch in the region.
“Whenever someone cleared any big property, they’d log and pile (the timber) all up. We’d come in with grinders and grind it all up, take the raw material to Ashland to process and color it, then sell it as colored mulch,” Anderson said.
The business grew gradually through its early years until Anderson began seeking out acquisitions of other mulch companies in the last decade. “It was a struggle at first,” he said. “But when it took off it really took off.”
The company eventually caught the eye of regional competitor Yard Works, which made an offer to Anderson. He accepted and sold his business and assets to Yard Works about a year and a half ago.
Since the deal included some real estate in mulch yards that Virginia Wood Properties owned around the region, Anderson planned to reinvest the proceeds into another property in a so-called 1031 exchange, a financial device through which individuals can defer paying capital gains taxes on a recent real estate sale.
That led him to Fitzhugh Avenue, which Petersburg-based Waukeshaw Development had bought in fall 2020 for $1.5 million. After putting in around $1 million for the 3North renovation, Waukeshaw owner Dave McCormack put the building on the market in January.
The sale to Anderson closed May 27, with One South Commercial’s Tom Rosman and Ken Campbell representing Waukeshaw in the sale. The parcel was most recently assessed at $1.5 million.
McCormack, who also owns Trapezium Brewing Co., said he had a good feeling the building would draw buyer interest.
“A lot of people know us for doing the adaptive reuse stuff and our reputation is really about that. This one may be a little more high-profile,” McCormack said. “You could really tell that it had a lot of potential and was in a good place. (The redevelopment and sale) went pretty much as we expected it to.”
Anderson, meanwhile, said he’s looking to continue adding to his portfolio.
“We’re just kind of getting started but the Fitzhugh property was a big deal. That was a cool, cool deal,” Anderson said, noting that he owns two other properties in Chesterfield and has a fourth under contract.
McCormack also has other projects in the pipeline in the region. Work continues on the former Richmond Association of Masonic Lodges building in Church Hill, which McCormack is converting into a Trapezium taproom. After initially aiming to open this summer, McCormack said he’s pushed the opening date back to the fall.
“We’re trying to open in a way that won’t stress out our upper management. We’re moving forward, but just a little slower,” he said.
Another Waukeshaw project on the horizon is Jenkins Park, a 10-acre riverfront entertainment park along the Appomattox River in Petersburg. The project been in the works since 2019 and though more remains to be done, McCormack said next week the park will be hosting the City of Petersburg’s official Independence Day fireworks show.