A group of developers has taken another bite out of Southside, this time with a deal that puts the fate of a planned food co-op in doubt.
Forest Hops LLC, an entity tied to Charles Bice and Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s Birck Turnbull, last month purchased the Family Dollar building at 1200-1209 Westover Hills Blvd. for $1.4 million.
The building was planned to be the home of the Richmond Food Co-op, which has been in fundraising mode since 2013. Calls and emails made to co-op leadership were not returned by press time.
Bice said they have no immediate plans for the building, which still is occupied by Family Dollar but is temporarily closed due to a rat infestation.
“It’s not going to be anything sexy in the immediate future,” Bice said. “Family Dollar has renewal rights on its lease for many years in the future.”
Divaris Real Estate’s John Madures and Eric Hammond represented the seller, and Turnbull represented Forest Hops in the deal.
While it is unclear what the future holds for the co-op, Bice said it will not be in the Family Dollar building.
“There’s no future of the co-op at this location. I don’t know what it’s planning,” Bice said.
Co-op generated news, but no lease
Madures added that the co-op never had a letter of intent or lease on the building, which was previously a thrift store and Safeway. That’s despite numerous local news reports about the organization’s plans for the property.
Co-ops are grocery stores that are owned by its members, who take part in decision-making for the store as well as receive discounts and equity in profits. Nonmembers typically are welcome to shop at co-ops.
On its website, the Richmond Food Co-op said it must reach $800,000 in its capital campaign to move forward with the project, and that memberships cost $125 plus a $25 joining fee. Per an October WCVE report, the group had over 1,000 members signed up.
The co-op would be the only such concept in Richmond.
The nearly 2-acre plot is just around the corner from 4910-30 Forest Hill Ave., where Bice and Turnbull are planning a mixed-use development with up to 38 apartments and 12,000 square feet of commercial space to be anchored by a satellite taproom from The Veil Brewing Co.
Bice said they’ll likely wait and see the Forest Hill Avenue development through before considering anything for the Westover Hills property.
“It was just in such close proximity to the other development, we felt it’d be a good property to own,” Bice said. “In the worst case, Family Dollar is a reliable corporate tenant, which is not a bad consolation.”
Bice’s group purchased the building from D.C.-based investor Joginder Jassal. The property most recently was assessed at $1.4 million.
Meanwhile, at the Forest Hill Avenue development, Bice said talks are continuing with other commercial tenants to join The Veil.
“We’re very bullish on that part of town. We think it’s going to change the whole character of that intersection,” Bice said.