Sometimes it pays to take a spin around the block.
Kayla and Aaron Williams have purchased 2104 N. Hamilton St. in the Westwood area for $1.6 million as the new home for their shop Ironwood Automotive.
The property will replace Ironwood’s current location at 1704 Belleville St., which the married couple bought for $490,000 in 2019 and sold for $2 million earlier this year.
The three-year flip came after the Belleville Street real estate caught the eye of NoVa-based developer Bonaventure, which coveted the land for its adjacent Scott’s Edge II apartment project, which will add over 200 units to the neighborhood.
While working on customers’ cars — primarily Honda, Toyota, Acura and Lexus vehicles — Ironwood sometimes takes them on a short drive nearby to make sure they’re ready to get back on the road.
It was on one of those drives that the North Hamilton property came onto the Williamses’ radar.
“This property wasn’t for sale, but it’s on our test drive route,” Aaron said. “I liked the building and the way it was laid out. I kept poking around and eventually we got to see it.”
It fit the bill for what the Williamses were looking for in a new home for Ironwood: available for purchase and not too far from the current location.
The hunt had put the couple on the other side of Richmond’s hot real estate market. Aaron said they’d had 14 letters of intent out for other spaces before landing the Hamilton spot.
“We probably were a little naive. We got this big offer (on the Belleville property) and it’s super exciting, we just didn’t realize the cost of stuff. The market went crazy soon after we’d agreed to make the deal,” Kayla said.
The new spot is located less than a half-mile from Ironwood’s current home but is bisected by the railroad tracks, requiring a roughly 1.5-mile drive to reach it.
“Over the last couple of years, we’ve really grown into this area and saw the need for car repair here,” Aaron said.
The building, which had formerly been home to restaurant supply company Zeta Products, was most recently assessed by the city at $1.1 million. The Williamses bought the building from The Wilton Cos. and were represented by Divaris Real Estate’s Read Goode in the deal. Wilton had owned the property since 2002 when it bought it for $240,000, city records show.
At 6,700 square feet, the new spot is nearly twice the size of Ironwood’s current 3,500-square-foot location. The added space will allow them to double the number of lifts they have from three to six.
A roughly $600,000 renovation is being planned to accommodate Ironwood in the new space. 510 Architects is the project’s designer, Trent Construction is the general contractor, and Village Bank is the Williamses’ lender.
The couple said they’ll be out of the Belleville Street space in mid-May and plan to avoid any lapses in service by having part of the Hamilton Street spot ready by then. Kayla said they’re aiming to have all the work on it done this fall.
Between both real estate deals and the upcoming renovation, Aaron said they’re looking forward to being able to go back to just working on cars.
“It’s just never-ending. It was only a six-month period between one real estate deal to the next,” he said. “We’ll be excited to, in maybe a year from now, not doing any real estate transactions, so we can kick back and run the business.”