With a 20 percent increase in population in the City of Richmond over the past half decade, and more to come, the city still struggles to attract national retail tenants such as The TJX Cos., Williams-Sonoma and Ann Taylor LOFT, as well as other soft and hard goods users. What Richmond does not struggle attracting are breweries, distilleries, regional and local restaurant operators and many start-up retailers dipping their toes into the growing 22 to 35 demographic calling Scott’s Addition and Manchester home.
The food-and-beverage scene in Greater Scott’s Addition is blowing up with the addition of restaurant operations such as ZZQ (rated the best BBQ in Richmond), Lucky AF (from EAT Restaurant Partners), Wood & Iron, Tazza Kitchen and the James Beard Award-winning Peter Chang’s. When coupled more than 15 breweries, distilleries and the city’s only meadery, this energy is attracting ‘retailtainment’ such as River City Roll, Bingo Beer, The Circuit, Tang & Biscuit, Movieland by Bow Tie Cinema and Brambly Park.
TRP (Thalhimer Realty Partners), Historic Housing (Louis Salomonsky’s firm) and Capital Square 1031 are local companies leading the developments, and Greystar and Bonaventure have come in from out of town to plant their flag as well. The driving force behind the food-and-beverage scene is the construction of several thousand apartment units.
The greater Scott’s Addition area now extends outside its original boundary and will see the development of over 60 acres owned by the City of Richmond dubbed The Diamond District, which will include a Minor League Baseball stadium, thousands of housing units and close to 1 million square feet of retail and commercial space. Scott’s Addition is also home to a new Marriot Courtyard and The Shenandoah, a hotel just off Monument Avenue that is being renovated by New York-based ASH NYC, a boutique hotel operator. Just east of Scott’s Addition on West Broad Street is the Science Museum and Children’s Museum that collectively attract over 750,000 visitors.
About four miles to the southeast and across the James River from the Central Business District (CBD) lies the latest explosion area, Manchester. This area has wonderful views of the beautiful James River and the growing skyline of Richmond. Fronting the James River on the north side are the Federal Reserve Building and across from that is a smaller Southern headquarters building for CoStar Group.
The company is preparing to break ground on a much larger headquarters in Richmond, a 22-story tower adjacent to its existing building while also just completing the acquisition of the former SunTrust Operations Center on the south side of the river and just on the outside of Manchester.
Driving the retail scene in Manchester are several new high-rise residential projects, along with townhouse and condo developments. While the area does not boast as many breweries, one of the first in the city was Legend Brewing Co. Like Scott’s Addition, Manchester does have several new restaurant options like Continental and Stella’s Market from local restaurateur, Johnny Giavos. It also has the first food hall, Hatch Local.
Manchester will continue to add retailers and restaurants as the office market continues to grow as it’s within walking distance of the CBD. Hourigan Development, TRP, Robin Miller & Associates and Markel|Eagle are just a few of the developers working on the explosive growth in this once sleepy corridor. Based on just S.L. Nusbaum Realty’s activity alone, we believe the Manchester area will see another 2,500 residential units coming on board over the next five years.
When you couple that with the office growth in this market and the CBD just across the river, this part of Richmond will make a lasting impression on the landscape of the CBD for decades to come.
— By Nathan Shor, Senior Vice President and Partner, SL Nusbaum Realty Co. This article was originally published in the August 2022 issue of Southeast Real Estate Business.