For nearly 40 years, the Kappa Sigma auditorium hosted community events, from Boy Scouts meetings to piano recitals. That era came to an irrefutable end on Monday, January 22 as the wrecking ball swung, and the auditorium, constructed in the late 1960s, crumbled to make way for some of the 46 attached homes and 13 traditional townhomes that will be built on the 17-acre estate that once served as headquarters for the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and is now known as Kenridge.
The original home, a 6,500 square foot structure built in 1922, remains and has been painstakingly restored by its new owners, Susan and L.F. Payne, who moved in six months ago and received an award for their preservation efforts. The fate of the auditorium– and of the entire Kappa Sigma property– hung in the balance for several years between 2001 and 2005 during a bitter legal dispute between the Kappa Sigma fraternity and the Kappa Sigma Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit founded to manage the property.
As detailed in the Hook's July 29, 2004 cover story "Housing Kappa Sig: Headquarters for controversy," the fraternity sued the foundation, claiming the foundation had no legal claim to the property. The Foundation lost that round, but took the case to the Virginia Supreme Court where the decision was overturned.
The Foundation began building a new HQ and sold the property to Kenridge L.L.C., a group of investors including Hunter Craig, for $8.75 million in November 2005. According to marketing material for Kenridge, the homes range from the mid $600,000s to the mid $800,000s and the first deliveries are estimated for late spring or early summer.