New Carytown building won’t look back

The existing 2929 W. Cary St. building is condemned by the city. (Mike Platania)

It’s out with the old and in with the new for a condemned building along one of the city’s prime commercial corridors.

Demolition begins early next year on the fire-damaged structure at 2929 W. Cary St. in Carytown, most recently the home of restaurants Don’t Look Back and Buon Giorno Pizzeria.

Lewis Little, a local real estate broker and developer, is developing the site after purchasing the building following its foreclosure. He purchased the property in August for $725,000, according to city property records.

“This was a great opportunity to bring new construction to Carytown,” Little said. “There isn’t a lot of new construction in Carytown, and with the new Capital One Cafe next door, I wanted to build on that synergy with this project.”

The structure has sat mostly vacant since a fire last year in one of the apartments above Don’t Look Back damaged the building. Buon Giorno Pizzeria, which occupied the neighboring unit at 2929½ W. Cary St., closed this year.

Don’t Look Back opened a reincarnation of its Carytown establishment in the former Triple Lounge space at 3306 W. Broad St. It also has opened a second location at 7524 Forest Hill Ave. in South Richmond’s Forest Hills neighborhood.

Little said the fire damage was too great to try to save the building, which prior to being converted into a mixed-use building in the 1970s was a residence dating to the 1920s.

Plans call for the entire structure to be razed. It will be replaced with a new two-story building that will include a ground-floor commercial space of up to 2,500 square feet that could include a 335-square-foot patio space.

The existing building at 2929 W. Cary St. in Carytown will be demolished and replaced with another two-story mixed-use development. (Charlie Appich)

Little said the commercial space in the new structure will not be subdivided, unlike the existing building.

In keeping with the mixed-use character of Carytown, Little said two two-bedroom apartments are planned for the second level of the building.

Construction is slated to begin in spring 2019, Little said, with the units delivered in the second quarter.

Charlie Appich has been retained as the project’s architect and engineer. Little said a general contractor has not been selected.

Don’t confuse Little with his father, who shares the same name and owns Richmond-based Shockoe Construction. Little said his father’s firm is not involved in the project.

Peter Vick and Harrison Hall of Divaris Real Estate are marketing the commercial space. Vick said they’re seeing interest from multiple restaurant users, but would not identify them.

“This is going to be first-generation retail space in Carytown,” Vick said. “That makes this project very popular given Carytown’s draw for retail and restaurants.”

Little would not disclose a cost estimate for the project.

He said he sees the development as an opportunity to capitalize on the area’s popularity with residents and tourists.

“I always looked at Carytown as a prime retail spot in Richmond,” Little said. “I couldn’t pass this up.”

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4 Comments on "New Carytown building won’t look back"

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Kate Reisinger

This is a shame. A structure original to Carytown will be razed and replaced with what I can only imagine will be tacky new construction. Probably cheaply done, only for the interest of the developer. We are letting the character slip away from Carytown one building at a time.

Ashley Smith

And one tennant at a time. Speculative real estate is pricing out the types of businesses that shaped and formed CaryTown. Richmond is changing.

Ed Christina

Kate; why would you “imagine:” this will be ” tacky new construction”.

It’s a fire damaged building that can’t be fixed, why are you so negative about this project?

David Humphrey

If you would like everything to go back to what is original to Carytown you would have to take off the front projections of many of those buildings. The character of a place develops and evolves over time and places that don’t continue to evolve usually end up dying. I for one am glad Carytown continues to evolve. Besides, the new building in the renderings actually looks pretty similar in terms of elements to the old one.