From The Mill to Church Hill

A former theater has been converted into more than 20 apartments and restaurant space. Photo by Michael Thompson.

A former theater has been converted into more than 20 apartments and restaurant space. Photo by Michael Thompson.

A trio of experienced Richmond restaurateurs is making an entrée into Church Hill.

Josh Carlton, Amy Foxworthy and Chip Zimmerman, who own The Mill on MacArthur Avenue in Bellevue, plan to open a yet unnamed restaurant in the New East End Theater apartment building at 418 N. 25th St.

The trio has leased a 3,500-square-foot space on the ground floor of the three-story building and hopes to open in January.

Carlton, who with Zimmerman also owns Mojo’s Philadeli on West Cary Street, said the menu and atmosphere of the new Church Hill space will be similar to The Mill.

“We’re neighborhood-oriented,” Carlton said. “We like to see people more often than one night.”

Carlton said he and his partners have been looking to expand for some time.

Josh Bilder

Josh Bilder

“The Mill luckily is doing well and we were interested in doing more,” Carlton said. “We happened to stumble on (Josh) Bilder.”

Bilder is the local developer that has led the $4 million renovation of the 90-year old theater. He has converted the building into 22 apartments and street-level commercial space.

Bilder said tenants have moved into the building, and 19 of the 22 apartments have been leased. When it came to finding a commercial tenant, Bilder said he wanted a “more community-focused restaurant.”

“I wanted a place where everyone in the neighborhood could feel comfortable – not just a certain segment or demographic,” Bilder said.

Sterling Bilder LLC is the general contractor for the restaurant space. Sebastian Quinn is the architect for the space and also helped design the renovations on the rest of the building. Construction on the restaurant space will cost about $150,000, which Carlton said he and his partners are financing with help from Bilder.

“We have the opportunity to lay it out the way we want to,” Carlton said. “It’s a unique area of the city, so we’re going to give it something unique.”

Church Hill is home to a growing and increasingly lauded group of restaurants, including The Dog and Pig Show, Sub Rosa, The Roosevelt, and Metzger Bar and Butchery. A dim sum venture is also in the works.

The New East End Theater Apartments isn’t the only Bilder-backed project in Church Hill. He is also renovating the former Nolde Garage property at 313 N. 24th St. The project is called Patrick Henry Square, and plans call for 19 apartments and a 6,500-square-foot commercial space. Construction is expected to finish August 2016.

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Joseph Williams
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