A Manchester coffee company and a Scott’s Addition print shop are headed for Northside.
Blanchard’s Coffee Roasting Co. and ARC are both moving into Leigh Properties’ newly redeveloped 36,000-square-foot commercial building at 1905 Westwood Ave.
According to owner David Blanchard, the coffee roaster will settle into 4,800 square feet in the new building by November and vacate its 2,500 square feet in Manchester at 700 Bainbridge St. The new location will give Blanchard’s more room for its wholesale roasting operations.
“We’re bursting at the seams at our space, so a move can’t come quicker,” Blanchard said.
The company recently expanded its sales into the Washington, D.C., area and has hired its first full-time employee there as it continues to see demand for its product. Its coffee is now sold in five Wegmans, five Whole Foods and at least seven Giant Food Stores in the D.C. area.
Blanchard’s has been steadily growing by about 20 percent every year, Blanchard said, putting it on track to double its output every five years.
He said the search for a bigger home wasn’t limited to Northside.
“Scott’s Addition is great, but it’s just gotten so expensive, and since we’re primarily a wholesale manufacturer, we just needed good warehouse space,” he said. “So much of what we do is actually just storing raw coffee that hasn’t been processed yet.”
The Westwood Avenue location will allow room to expand, Blanchard said, as well as room to train its clients’ employees and focus on coffee education.
ARC, a national company headquartered in California, is taking 6,400 square feet in Leigh’s building and will settle in by early next year. Its current Richmond home, about a mile away at 1400 N. Boulevard, was recently purchased by UrbanCore Development and Dodson Property Management with plans to convert it into 11 apartments and three retail storefronts.
ARC will continue operating out of its current location until the move next year.
Leigh purchased the previously vacant building last summer for $1.45 million, according to city records. Lowell Smith Jr., a principal with Leigh Properties, said the 2.8-acre property fit into the types of projects the developer usually pursues, largely industrial flex space.
“It’s what we do: office and warehouse space for businesses of all sizes,” Smith said. “We’ve leased to a lot of local folks, but we have some regional and national tenants, too. That’s what we’ve been doing for the last 30 years.”
Construction is underway to prepare for Blanchard’s and ARC’s move into the building. Cornerstone Architects is designing the Westwood Avenue project along with local architect J. Calvin Holcombe. Leigh’s construction arm, the Aragon Group, is the general contractor.
Blanchard’s and ARC will join several other tenants in Leigh’s building, including Allied HVAC Distributors, which has 12,000 square feet and moved into the building in February. Binswanger Glass, a national glass supplier, occupies a 4,500-square-foot building on the property along Rosedale Avenue and moved in about a year ago.
Once the two new tenants set up shop, only about 4,200 square feet will be available at 1905 Westwood Ave.
“Hopefully we’ll have it all leased before the end of the year,” Smith said.
Smith declined to share how much the entire development will cost. Wells Fargo is providing the financing.
Leigh has operated in Richmond since 1966 and owns several properties in the Hamilton Street area, Smith said, just west of Scott’s Addition.
The company also owns the Aragon Coffee building, between Sixth and Seventh streets in Manchester, where Blue Bee Cider is a tenant.
“We’ve been watching Manchester come along; we bought that property down there in the late 1980s, and now we’re glad we did,” Smith said. “That area has blown up, but at the time not many people were going over there. Just seeing how the city has come back, as far as infilling some of these once worn-out areas, has been gratifying.”