Top Hits: Most-read stories of 2017

Richmond BizSense readers were diligent as ever keeping up with the city’s business news in 2017. From a TV pilot to a demolished mansion to the Coliseum, this year’s most-read stories run the gamut of metropolitan corporate coverage.

Here’s a list of our top 10 stories for the year according to readership:

  1. 1.Stuck overseas, Jackson Ward bakery owner forced to close business

netties naturally storefront

The Nettie’s Naturally store in Jackson Ward opened in 2015. (Jonathan Spiers)

Nettie’s Naturally owner Lynette Potgieter said she had no choice but to close her wholesale business and bakery-café at Adams and Clay streets after she was denied a required visa stamp while visiting her sister in Switzerland.

  1. 2.Local house renovators ready for TV spotlight

Breese and Josh Romano in front of one of the homes they restored in Richmond’s Northside. A different house in Battery Park is the focus of the episode they filmed for HGTV. (Jonathan Spiers)

The husband-and-wife team behind local home renovation and construction firm Cobblestone Development Group wrapped filming on an hour-long pilot episode for a show that aired on HGTV. Comparable to HGTV’s “Fixer Upper,” the episode follows Breese and Josh Romano and their crew during a four-month house renovation in Richmond’s Northside.

  1. 3.Bar-arcade war may be brewing in Scott’s Addition

Robert Lupica’s barcade is slated to host over 70 vintage pinball and arcade games.

Two groups – one backed by a local frozen yogurt franchisee, and the other steered by several well-known Richmond restaurateurs – planned what may amount to dueling entertainment venues in the Scott’s Addition neighborhood. A hip entertainment trend that’s caught on in a number of large cities across the U.S., so-called bar and arcade combos typically blend classic arcade games, draft beer and food into a casual setting.

  1. 4. New arena in the works to replace Coliseum


A 7-acre plot houses the city-owned Coliseum.(Kieran McQuilkin)

A group of investors led by Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell is backing and gaining momentum on a plan for a new arena downtown to replace the aging Coliseum, as well as potential redevelopment of surrounding properties, including remnants of the long-dormant 6th Street Marketplace and Blues Armory property. Dominion looks to play a big role in the process, eyeing naming rights for the new arena as it has done with other venues such as Dominion Arts Center.

  1. 5. Bowling alley set to roll along Boulevard

ben eubanks and robert long

River City Roll project managers Ben Eubanks, left, and Robert Long. (J. Elias O’Neal)

Rob Long, a former investment banker with BB&T Capital Markets, is leading a team that includes former Jefferson Hotel restaurant director Ben Eubanks to bring a high-end “boutique” bowling alley to a mostly vacant lot between the Boulevard and the Cookie Factory Lofts. To be called River City Roll, the $5 million project is planned for a 2-acre plot at 939 Myers St., a block east of the Boulevard across from Scott’s Addition.

  1. 6.Goodwin mansion demolished

demolition truck

Crews pile debris into a dump truck on the property at 101 S. Ridge Road. (Jonathan Spiers)

The most expensive home sold in the Richmond area in years was turned into a pricy pile of rubble this summer. The 80-year-old mansion at 101 S. Ridge Road, purchased last year by Matthew Goodwin for $5.5 million, was demolished in June. The work appears to clear the way for a new house to be built on the property, which was purchased in June 2016 in an off-market sale.

  1. 7.3-story, $25M golf range lining up Goochland site

driveshack rendering

A rendering of Drive Shack’s planned driving range in Orlando. (Courtesy Drive Shack)

Drive Shack, a New York-based firm that owns dozens of golf courses nationwide and is developing a brand of golf and entertainment venues similar to fast-growing Topgolf, is planning a three-story, 60,000-square-foot interactive driving range in Goochland County. The facility, which the company estimates will cost upwards of $25 million, would take shape on a 13-acre site that abuts Route 288 just north of West Broad Street.

  1. 8.18-story tower eyed for VCU gas station site; bowling alley included

sunoco demolition

Crews tore down Uphoff’s Sunoco gas station at the corner of North Belvidere and West Grace streets. (Jonathan Spiers)

Despite interest from VCU, local businessman Steve Uphoff is pushing ahead with his plan for an 18-story tower on his Sunoco gas station site next door to the under-construction Institute for Contemporary Art. Crews tore down the station at the corner of North Belvidere and West Grace streets to make way for the 209,000-square-foot tower, which would consist of 129 apartments, a pharmacy and other retail on the ground floor, and above that a one- or two-story location of Uphoff’s bowling alley chain, Uptown Alley.

  1. 9.Concrete couple lists Henrico mansion for $2.5M

The home is on 2 acres at the end of a cul-de-sac in the Hunton Estates neighborhood. (CVRMLS)

A local couple behind a Henrico-based concrete company is looking to sell their 13,000-square-foot home in a Glen Allen subdivision for nearly $2.5 million. Located on 2 acres at the end of a cul-de-sac in the Hunton Estates neighborhood, the five-bedroom, six-bathroom home at 3200 Lavecchia Way was listed April 14 for $2.49 million.

  1. 10.Virginia Center Commons sold for $9M

Virginia Center Commons, a suburban mall at 10101 Brook Road, was purchased for $9 million.

Virginia Center Commons, a suburban mall at 10101 Brook Road that has been hindered in recent years by high vacancy rates and the recent loss of an anchor tenant, was purchased by Great Neck, New York-based Kohan Retail Investment Group for $9 million. The purchase includes 577,000 square feet comprising the main arteries of Virginia Center Commons, but does not include the buildings occupied by J.C. Penney, Sears and the former Macy’s.

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