While there’s no guarantee a casino will be built on Arthur Ashe Boulevard next to Scott’s Addition, Max Fischer said he isn’t sticking around to roll the dice.
The owner of local video camera rental company Gearhead Camera said he is relocating his business out of the otherwise sought-after neighborhood, in part due to the possibility that a proposed casino could end up a few blocks away.
In June, Gearhead Camera will leave its home of five years at 3007-A W. Clay St. for 6010-C N. Crestwood Ave. in Henrico County.
“I wasn’t going to sign a five-year lease with that even as a possibility,” he said of the casino, noting that his current lease in Scott’s Addition was coming to a close anyway.
One of the two finalists in the bid to become the city’s selected casino operator is The Cordish Cos., which wants to build a casino on 17 acres owned by Bow Tie Partners at 1301 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd., a few blocks away from Gearhead’s current space.
The city is anticipated to select its preferred casino proposal in May. City voters will then decide whether to grant the license to the city’s pick in a referendum on Nov. 2.
Fischer said that he was already cooling on Scott’s Addition even before casino conversations started. The neighborhood has become a place of constant and disruptive construction and limited parking, he said, and public drunkenness has become an issue. He said the possibility of a casino landing nearby was the last straw.
“Scott’s Addition over the last couple of years has changed a lot, and for a small business owner like me it hasn’t changed for the better,” he said.
Scott’s Addition has been in a state of brisk transition in recent years thanks to new development, which is changing the historically industrial district into a residential, office and entertainment hub.
Gearhead is moving into a 2,500-square-foot space, which Fischer said was about the same size as the company’s current location.
The 21-year-old shop offers a variety of filming equipment — cameras, lenses, monitors and related items — for rent. Fischer doesn’t plan to change products or services as part of the move. He hopes the new space, which is in a building just off Broad Street with its own parking lot, will be more accessible to customers.
Aside from the proposed casino, more new development is on the horizon for Scott’s Addition.
Local real estate firm Capital Square is under contract to buy the N. Chasen & Son building at 2924 W. Marshall St. and some surrounding parking lots with plans to redevelop the site into about 350 apartments. The Veil Brewing Co. has a second location planned for the neighborhood 1509 Belleville St. And Capital Square is eyeing a food hall at 3015 W. Leigh St.