As 2014 comes to a close, Richmond BizSense is taking a look back at the neighborhoods that gained momentum over the year, driving development, retail and dining and carrying these districts into a promising 2015.
When it came to catching the eye of the rest of country, few neighborhoods did more for Richmond in 2014 than Church Hill.
Citing a “fiercely loyal, self-starter set of residents,” The New York Times recently mentioned Church Hill favorites such as The Roosevelt, Sub Rosa Bakery, Era Vintage, Union Market and Proper Pie Co. as evidence the neighborhood is home to Richmond’s “most appealing shops and dining spots.”
The success of the food entrepreneurs in Church Hill persuaded more established operators to enter the neighborhood in 2014. Kathleen Richardson opened a third Urban Farmhouse on North 33rd Street. GrowRVA, a local farmers market company, began running Saturday morning markets at Chimborazo Park. And Kelly Walker added a second retail operation for her chocolate business in Church Hill.
As established Church Hill restaurants hit their stride in 2014, the neighborhood continued to attract upstarts. A trio of local food operators opened Metzger Bar and Butchery, and a New Orleans couple opened the Dog and Pig Show on North 25th Street.
And recently, another local couple announced plans to open a dim sum Chinese restaurant in the bottom floor of an upcoming apartment building.
And real estate investors made moves in the neighborhood with the sale of at least one apartment building with more residential real estate in the works.
Charlottesville-area real estate firm B.R.J. Enterprises bought the Lava Lofts from Fulton Hill Properties. And Margaret Freund of Fulton Hill broke ground on 33 new apartments in Church Hill that are expected to be completed in the spring. On O Street, Deanna Lewis is developing an entire block of single-family homes.
Church Hill also has the backing of two of Richmond’s richest enterprises as it looks ahead. Bon Secours and Capital One gave $100,000 in grant money to 13 fledgling Church Hill businesses this month as part of their SEED grant program. The healthcare company announced its plans to hand out an additional $300,000 to East End businesses over the next three years, suggesting Church Hill has yet to see the plateau of its potential.