Now in the hands of a new owner, a shuttered Church Hill funeral home building is in line for a new life.
The former Billups Funeral Home building at 2500 E. Marshall St. sold last week for $950,000, city records show. Local investor George Katharos was the buyer.
Billups Funeral Home was once one of the oldest businesses in Richmond, initially opening in Shockoe Bottom in 1850 before moving to the Church Hill building in 1925, per Architecture Richmond. A few years after the move, the building was expanded and it went on to house the Billups business for nearly 100 years.
Descendants of the Billups family were the sellers in the deal, and weren’t available for comment by press time. It’s unclear precisely when the funeral home went out of business, though state records show the company’s operating LLC was canceled in late 2021.
The sale of the 106-year-old building closed Feb. 21. Long & Foster’s Lisa Leavy had the listing and Hamilton Shaheen of Colliers International represented Katharos in the sale. The city most recently assessed the property at $813,000.
Katharos, who said he owns a handful of residential properties in the city as well as some commercial buildings in Lakeside and Petersburg, said this was his first deal in Church Hill.
“I wasn’t really looking for a building in particular but I like projects and this definitely looked like a project,” Katharos said. “I saw value in it, and I like the overall architecture of the building.”
Reaching three stories and totaling 13,000 square feet, the building is zoned for multifamily residential and office uses. The plot sits on about a third of an acre and includes a 25-space parking lot on the east side of the building.
Katharos said he could see the funeral home as a good retail location, but that he’ll first plan to pursue a different use.
“I’d like to lease it out as an office. I think that’d be the best route to take, so it doesn’t get chopped up,” he said.
He said he’s already begun cleaning out the space and decluttering the building.
“It has original carpets in most of the downstairs and underneath there are pine floors that have never been sanded. Some paint is peeling so it definitely needs paint, but other than that the roof and HVAC are fairly new,” Katharos said. “Overall it’s in good condition, it just needs updating.”
The Billups building is located within eyeshot of the redeveloped East End Theater, which was restored by Josh Bilder into apartments and commercial space anchored by Liberty Public House. Also in that block, restaurant Frontier by Alamo recently reopened after a pandemic-induced hiatus.