A downtown apartment building has racked up a new first-floor tenant.
Greenleaf’s Pool Room, a billiards hall, is the latest business to take space on the ground floor of the Residences at the John Marshall.
It signed a 10-year lease for the 5,900-square-foot storefront at the corner of Sixth and Franklin streets. The deal closed in May. Greenleaf’s owners are Jim Gottier and Andrea Ball, and Commonwealth Commercial Partners manages the property.
“Pool used to be considered a beautiful game, so we want to make a hall that’s beautiful to play in and classic to the John Marshall,” said Gottier, a former antique textile dealer.
Gottier and Ball are from New York but chose Richmond to launch their business because of the growing downtown restaurant and retail scene. The John Marshall’s history was a plus, too, Gottier said.
“Being part of this big complex that was once such a focal point of Richmond culture for years and years and then fell into disuse and is being brought back is really great,” Gottier said.
The couple is fronting a portion of the six-figure construction cost for the space, Gottier said. Dominion Realty Partners, which spent $70 million converting the historic hotel into 238 apartments, will cover the remaining costs.
New York-based Kushner Studios will design the space. The owners have not selected a general contractor.
Gottier said they plan to hire between 16 and 20 employees and hope to have Greenleaf’s open in November.
The hall will join the John Marshall Barber Shop and Dominion Realty Partners on the building’s first floor. The development has struggled to land retail and office tenants, with much of its 24,000 square feet on the ground floor sitting vacant since the rehabbed property reopened in late 2011.
The building lowered rent prices in March to attract more interest. It advertised $17.50 per square foot per year on the retail space and $15 on the five office suites. Its initial asking price had been in $20 to $25 range.
There is still more than 15,000 square feet of space available, according to Morgan Trible, a broker with Commonwealth Commercial. The brokerage is in talks with multiple prospective tenants, he said.
Greenleaf’s will have between 14 and 16 Brunswick pool tables, Gottier said. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 2 a.m. on Sunday. Prices have not yet been determined, but Gottier said they plan to charge per hour.