While it keeps an eye on the Diamond District, a local development firm has strengthened its position around Arthur Ashe Boulevard and secured some big-name tenants for a neighboring retail and restaurant project.
Thalhimer Realty Partners purchased 1711-1801 Ellen Road for $2 million in a deal that closed last month, city records show. The property consists of a pair of two-story warehouses totaling about 18,000 square feet on a 1.23-acre parcel.
The deal gives TRP control of nearly four acres at the corner of Ellen Road and North Arthur Ashe Boulevard just northwest of The Diamond, which is in line to be part of a massive redevelopment of the surrounding city-owned acreage.
TRP principal Jason Guillot said the firm’s exact plans for the Ellen Road land haven’t been finalized but that it’ll likely be part of Scott’s Walk, a retail and restaurant project at 3002 and 3064 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. Once an Idealease truck rental complex, TRP bought that 2.6-acre parcel for $4 million in 2020.
“We’ll try to integrate (the Ellen Road land) somehow. We do want it functioning as one mixed-use project,” Guillot said.
Slated initially to be a single two-story, 20,000-square-foot building, the specs on Scott’s Walk have since changed. Plans recently approved by the city show the project will span five buildings totaling 16,000 square feet and that several are already spoken for.
Raising Cane’s, Chipotle and Starbucks are listed as tenants in three buildings in the Scott’s Walk plan of development. Each of their buildings is outfitted with a drive-thru, plans show.
Thalhimer’s Annie O’Connor and Connie Jordan Nielsen are handling leasing for the project. 510 Architects is designing it.
Despite having drive-thrus on some of the buildings, Guillot said they’ve tried to design Scott’s Walk to be pedestrian-friendly with sidewalks connecting each building, and possibly more.
“Something substantial should be happening across the street, we want our project walkable from that,” Guillot said, referencing the roughly 60-acre Diamond District redevelopment project just to the east. “We’re trying to design (Scott’s Walk) with an urban frame of mind.”
To the south, TRP is also working with Charlotte’s Crescent Communities on “Novel Scott’s Addition” a seven-story, 272-unit apartment building at 2902 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. Matt Raggi, another principal at TRP, said they’re awaiting final approvals from the city for that project.
Beyond Novel Scott’s Addition and Scott’s Walk, TRP’s been one of the more active developers in the Diamond area.
Last summer it bought a warehouse at 1717 Rhoadmiller St. for $2 million and in 2018 it spent $5.5 million on the former PET Dairy facility at 1505 Robin Hood Road.
With the deadline for submissions to the Diamond District RFI approaching on Feb. 15, TRP is among a long list of developers, both local and non-local, that have shown an interest in the project that’ll see The Diamond and its surrounding acreage redeveloped.
The warehouses TRP just bought on Ellen Road are currently occupied by logistics firm Accurate Courier Express at 1711 Ellen Road, and Neo-Classic Cars, a classic Land Rover car importer, at 1801 Ellen Road.
Accurate Courier Express CEO Dwight Hicks was the seller in the deal and had owned the land since 2003, when he bought it for $350,000. The parcel was assessed by the city this year at $1.8 million.
Guillot added that Accurate Courier Express has leased back its space for a short period. Neo-Classics is preparing to exit its space next door for a new spot in Scott’s Addition at 1004 N. Sheppard St.
The Scott’s Walk Chipotle is the second recent deal between TRP and the burrito chain. Chipotle has signed on to open in TRP’s City View Marketplace on Hull Street in Manchester.
Raising Cane’s, meanwhile, is amid a Richmond-area expansion, with another new location in Chesterfield recently confirmed to be in the works.