Escalating rent in one of Richmond’s hottest neighborhoods is forcing the hand of a longtime family-owned business to move its operation to the Southside.
Sportscar Workshops, which sells and maintains classic sports cars, is leaving its building at 1210 Myers St. on the edge of Scott’s Addition in favor of a property it purchased this month at 2661 Hull St.
“The neighborhood has definitely changed,” said Michael Moore Jr., who owns the auto shop with his father Michael Moore. “It was simply time for us to have a place of our own where we didn’t have to worry about the rent going up every year.”
The company paid $500,000 for the former Brooks Grey Sign facility, on about an acre in the Swansboro neighborhood, just south of Manchester. Moore Jr. confirmed the deal, which closed Oct. 16.
Elliot Warsof, a broker with S.L. Nusbaum Realty, worked the deal.
Sportscar Workshops has operated from its 14,000-square-foot Myers Street facility near the intersection of Leigh Street and the Boulevard for nearly 20 years.
The shop works on mostly vintage European cars, from Porsche to Lotus. The Moores purchased the business in 2005, and have grown its client base while watching Scott’s Addition transform beyond its industrial roots to a hotbed for development.
The company hopes to be operational in Southside by January, Moore Jr. said, although the lease on its Myers Street location doesn’t end until the summer.
The elder Moore said he plans to invest about $100,000 in the Southside location, mostly to transform the interior, which includes adding a steel extension to the 7,000-square-foot structure onsite. He said a fresh coat of paint and resurfacing the parking lot are needed for the exterior.
Moore Jr. said moving from Scott’s Addition to the Southside was the most strategic thing to do given the rise of redevelopment and investment in the neighborhood.
“We think the area has a tremendous amount of potential,” Moore said. “It also remains an affordable place to invest.”
Earlier this month, Michael and Laura Dyer Hild’s Church Hill Ventures purchased the old Siegel Supermarket property at 2005 Hull St., a few blocks north of the future Sportscar Workshops facility. The Hilds are also redeveloping and opening a donut shop, brewpub and market/restaurant at 1204, 1209 and 1213 Hull St., which will anchor a portfolio that totals two dozen properties around the neighborhood.
Moore said he’s impressed with the recent investment and renewed interest along the Hull Street corridor, which helped sway his decision to buy the property.
“We missed the boat on buying in Scott’s Addition,” he said. “Driving up and down Hull Street you can see the level of investment occurring, and that’s encouraging.”