Local juice bar chain signs first retail lease at Westhampton Commons

The Pit and The Peel juice bar has signed on for Patterson Avenue-facing retail space in Westhampton Commons. (Mike Platania photos)

The redeveloped Westhampton School property continues to attract new commercial tenants, this time signing on a local juice bar chain.

The Pit and The Peel has leased space at Westhampton Commons, the mixed-use project rising on the site of the old school property at 5800 Patterson Ave.

The new West End outpost will replace The Pit and The Peel’s Carytown location at 3321 W. Cary St., which it has operated since 2017.

Co-owner Craig Brosius confirmed the Westhampton deal, something he said the chain began thinking about last year.

“A few things popped up in the Libbie-Grove area but just through the pandemic it was hard to look at expansion at that point in time,” Brosius said. “We’ve always been looking in that area.”

The Pit and The Peel is the first retail/restaurant tenant to sign on for Westhampton Commons, joining office tenants Raymond James & Associates and the University of Richmond’s Spider Management, both of which leased space there last year.

The $73 million mixed use project has been in the works since 2013. Work kicked off in 2019, a year after Bon Secours selected Thalhimer Realty Partners to redevelop the old school into a mix of apartments, retail and office space across 250,000 square feet.

Brosius said The Pit and The Peel is leasing about 1,700 square feet. That leaves about 3,200 square feet of retail space remaining in Westhampton Commons.

The Pit and The Peel’s VCU location is nearing completion, and will feature a rooftop deck overlooking West Main Street.

The lease for The Pit and The Peel comes as the juice bar is finishing up work on its new VCU-area location. It’s taking shape in an old printing building at 1102 W. Main St., which Brosius and co-owner Kevin Urbanowski bought a few weeks before the pandemic hit Richmond last winter.

During the lockdown-induced slow months of 2020, Brosius said they looked inward and began revamping all aspects of The Pit and The Peel, including its menu, front- and back-of-house equipment, brand and operations.

“We spent an astronomical amount of money on the latest and greatest technologies and equipment,” Brosius said, noting that they’ve built a new mobile app and brought in cubbies and refrigerators for better online ordering and contactless pickup.

“There’s going to be a lot of options for everybody in how they want to handle (ordering and dining). Whatever the new normal is going to look like, we’re going to be ready for it.”

They’re also adding weekly lunch specials that will vary by location, Brosius said, including pork loin Banh Mi and chicken cacciatore sandwiches.

Brosius said he hopes to have the Fan and Norfolk locations soon, and that he’s aiming for a fall opening for The Pit and The Peel in Westhampton.

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