Developers preview West End theater project

Plans for the Westhampton Theater property call for an additional two floors set back from the street. Renderings courtesy of Jason Guillot.

Plans for the Westhampton Theater property call for an additional two floors set back from the street. Renderings courtesy of Jason Guillot.

The new owners of the Westhampton Theater raised the curtain on their plans for the property this week.

Westhampton LLC, made up of Stefan Cametas and local broker Jason Guillot, presented their vision for the property to a crowd of neighbors Wednesday evening, debuting a plan to repurpose the Grove Avenue movie theater and a neighboring building with more than 85,000 square feet of space, new food and retail tenants, and condos.

The group quietly purchased the theater at 5706 Grove Ave. in 2014 for $1.75 million and the Long & Foster building two doors down at Grove and Granite avenues earlier this year for $2 million.

Dubbed Westhampton on Grove, the redevelopment project will renovate and add square footage to the theater and replace the Long & Foster building.

Both buildings will have retail on the first floor and office space on the second. Locally based restaurant Tazza Kitchen and Long & Foster are set to be situated in the theater’s ground floor. Mango Salon and Hampton Roads-based gourmet market Taste Unlimited have signed on for the second building’s ground floor. Another 1,400 square feet is still available in the second building.

The current Long & Foster site at Grove and Granite will be redeveloped.

The current Long & Foster site at Grove and Granite will be redeveloped.

The third and fourth floors of the buildings will be connected by a breezeway over the existing Continental restaurant, which Guillot and Cametas do not own. Nine condominiums, ranging between 2,500 and 3,600 square feet, will be in the theater’s top two levels.

The new design will incorporate the 77-year-old movie theater’s facade and marquee. The third and fourth floors will both be tiered back from the property line so they won’t seem to loom over Grove Avenue. The design will also allow for terraced spaces for the condos.

“Our main goal is to keep the flare of what we all love here in this area,” Cametas told the audience at Wednesday’s meeting.

The plans are still in their early stages, and the developers will have to go before the city to request a special use permit to construct the third and fourth floors due to height restrictions. If all approvals are secured, construction should start sometime after the theater closes in the summer of next year, and the first space should open sometime in early 2017.

A general contractor has not yet been selected for the project, and Guillot said it is too early to give a cost estimate. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, where Guillot is a broker, is handling leasing for the space.

The developers have been planning the project for the past year and a half, working with the local businesses and neighborhood associations to adjust their plans.

The Westhampton will continue to screen movies through next summer. Photo by Evelyn Rupert.

The Westhampton will continue to screen movies through next summer. Photo by Evelyn Rupert.

“This is an evolutionary process,” said attorney Andy Condlin of Roth Doner Jackson, who is representing Westhampton LLC.

Some neighbors voiced concern during the meeting, largely wondering how the height will impact the look and feel of the Grove and Libbie area and worried about the loss of parking. Many use the large parking lot behind the theater as a public parking area, and some are concerned with the overflow of parking and general traffic with the development.

Randy Holmes of Glave and Holmes, the project’s architect, said the height was necessary to “justify the quality” of the street-level buildings, which are designed to add to the character of the area.

Mango Salon will be jumping across Grove to settle into the new space, leaving its other location at 123 Grove Ave. The salon opened its third location earlier this year.

The Westhampton location will be Tazza’s third Richmond-area store and sixth total; the Mediterranean and Mexican restaurant chain opened in Short Pump in 2013.

The move into Westhampton at Grove marks Taste Unlimited’s first foray into Richmond. It has seven locations in Hampton Roads, and its cafe offers a variety of sandwich and lunch options.

Guillot said Taste Unlimited approached the developers when their purchase of the Westhampton Theater became public knowledge.

“They called us,” Guillot said. “They’re huge fans of this area, and they know they have a huge following here.”

The Westhampton movie theater is currently operated by Regal Cinemas, which sold the building to the developers. The company said that location has been underperforming for years. The theater was set to show its last movie this month but will now continue operating until the summer.

Plans for the Westhampton Theater property call for an additional two floors set back from the street. Renderings courtesy of Jason Guillot.

Plans for the Westhampton Theater property call for an additional two floors set back from the street. Renderings courtesy of Jason Guillot.

The new owners of the Westhampton Theater raised the curtain on their plans for the property this week.

Westhampton LLC, made up of Stefan Cametas and local broker Jason Guillot, presented their vision for the property to a crowd of neighbors Wednesday evening, debuting a plan to repurpose the Grove Avenue movie theater and a neighboring building with more than 85,000 square feet of space, new food and retail tenants, and condos.

The group quietly purchased the theater at 5706 Grove Ave. in 2014 for $1.75 million and the Long & Foster building two doors down at Grove and Granite avenues earlier this year for $2 million.

Dubbed Westhampton on Grove, the redevelopment project will renovate and add square footage to the theater and replace the Long & Foster building.

Both buildings will have retail on the first floor and office space on the second. Locally based restaurant Tazza Kitchen and Long & Foster are set to be situated in the theater’s ground floor. Mango Salon and Hampton Roads-based gourmet market Taste Unlimited have signed on for the second building’s ground floor. Another 1,400 square feet is still available in the second building.

The current Long & Foster site at Grove and Granite will be redeveloped.

The current Long & Foster site at Grove and Granite will be redeveloped.

The third and fourth floors of the buildings will be connected by a breezeway over the existing Continental restaurant, which Guillot and Cametas do not own. Nine condominiums, ranging between 2,500 and 3,600 square feet, will be in the theater’s top two levels.

The new design will incorporate the 77-year-old movie theater’s facade and marquee. The third and fourth floors will both be tiered back from the property line so they won’t seem to loom over Grove Avenue. The design will also allow for terraced spaces for the condos.

“Our main goal is to keep the flare of what we all love here in this area,” Cametas told the audience at Wednesday’s meeting.

The plans are still in their early stages, and the developers will have to go before the city to request a special use permit to construct the third and fourth floors due to height restrictions. If all approvals are secured, construction should start sometime after the theater closes in the summer of next year, and the first space should open sometime in early 2017.

A general contractor has not yet been selected for the project, and Guillot said it is too early to give a cost estimate. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, where Guillot is a broker, is handling leasing for the space.

The developers have been planning the project for the past year and a half, working with the local businesses and neighborhood associations to adjust their plans.

The Westhampton will continue to screen movies through next summer. Photo by Evelyn Rupert.

The Westhampton will continue to screen movies through next summer. Photo by Evelyn Rupert.

“This is an evolutionary process,” said attorney Andy Condlin of Roth Doner Jackson, who is representing Westhampton LLC.

Some neighbors voiced concern during the meeting, largely wondering how the height will impact the look and feel of the Grove and Libbie area and worried about the loss of parking. Many use the large parking lot behind the theater as a public parking area, and some are concerned with the overflow of parking and general traffic with the development.

Randy Holmes of Glave and Holmes, the project’s architect, said the height was necessary to “justify the quality” of the street-level buildings, which are designed to add to the character of the area.

Mango Salon will be jumping across Grove to settle into the new space, leaving its other location at 123 Grove Ave. The salon opened its third location earlier this year.

The Westhampton location will be Tazza’s third Richmond-area store and sixth total; the Mediterranean and Mexican restaurant chain opened in Short Pump in 2013.

The move into Westhampton at Grove marks Taste Unlimited’s first foray into Richmond. It has seven locations in Hampton Roads, and its cafe offers a variety of sandwich and lunch options.

Guillot said Taste Unlimited approached the developers when their purchase of the Westhampton Theater became public knowledge.

“They called us,” Guillot said. “They’re huge fans of this area, and they know they have a huge following here.”

The Westhampton movie theater is currently operated by Regal Cinemas, which sold the building to the developers. The company said that location has been underperforming for years. The theater was set to show its last movie this month but will now continue operating until the summer.

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Jim Ashby
Jim Ashby
6 years ago

Fantastic news for the area and some great additions in terms of the retailers….

Andrew Peskin
Andrew Peskin
6 years ago

Where will everyone park? I see one parking lot gone and another 1/2 way consumed. All part of this project.