Auto repair shop pumps brakes on Boulevard space

The former North American Transmission building at 1208-1216 N. Boulevard. (Jonathan Spiers)

The owner of a local car-care franchise is yielding to Scott’s Addition’s real estate market before pulling into his planned Boulevard location.

Signs posted outside the former North American Transmission building at 1208-1216 N. Boulevard, recently renovated to house a Midas of Richmond location, advertise the building as available for lease.

Franchise owner Mark Smith, who purchased the 15,700-square-foot building last April for $1.29 million, said he is ready to move in but wanted to test the market first, in light of interest he’s received while wrapping up renovations.

“In the time I’ve been finishing the building, I have had a half-dozen people approach me and say, ‘You are making the wrong decision putting a Midas store there; there are far more lucrative uses for the property,’ so I’m weighing my options,” Smith said.

He said he’s set to receive a certificate of occupancy this week and could move in right away, but inquiries from real estate brokerages and developers, as well as a competitor, prompted him to wait before committing to the space.

“Scott’s Addition is so hot. If I tie this thing up with a Midas franchise, it’s a 20-year commitment,” Smith said. “Don’t get me wrong, I love my Midas stores; it’s been a lucrative business for us. I’ve got one shot to get this right, so I’m going to take my time.”

Among those who Smith said approached him was Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, which represented Midas in the building purchase last year and now is marketing the property for lease. Thalhimer’s Will McGoogan and Amy Broderick have the listing.

A flyer markets the building as retail or office space that can be subdivided and moved into right away. The flyer notes the former garage is renovated with polished concrete floors, exposed ceilings and skylights.

Smith would not say how much he has put into the renovation, which was done by Capstone Contracting Co. and designed by Susan Orange and Ray Trevillian of Baskervill.

He said he’s giving Thalhimer six months to secure a tenant, supplying the brokerage with terms he would need met to go forward with a lease. If a deal isn’t reached by the five-month mark, Smith said, he’d start preparing to move Midas in.

Should he decide to lease the building, Smith, who said he was on-site talking to a possible tenant Monday, said he would consider options for another site to add to his franchise’s four Central Virginia locations.

“This is our first development venture, it’s been kind of fun, so once I survive this one, I would anticipate exploring another one,” he said.

As for the Boulevard space, Smith said he’d let the market dictate its fate.

“Whatever happens will be in the best interest of long-term Scott’s Addition,” he said.

The stretch of Boulevard that borders the east side of Scott’s Addition is transforming by the day, with construction underway on the River City Roll bowling alley on nearby Myers Street and a AAA service center next door in the former Woody’s Auto Service building.

Sportscar Workshops is on its way out of its corner location at 1210 Myers St, across Leigh Street from the Bow Tie Movieland cinemas. Across Boulevard from there, ice cream chain Gelati Celesti moved in last year.

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2 Comments on "Auto repair shop pumps brakes on Boulevard space"

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Jenners Ribauld

Thank goodness. Had a discussion on here when this was first annoucned and I said it a hoorible idea for that location, glad this guy came to his senses. This can be a prime spot for a great restuarant or retail outfit.

Jack Johnson

I hope something besides Midas comes in. The renaissance of the Boulevard will not be notable because of Cort Rental Furnishings, AAA Auto Service and Midas. Go west on Broad Street!