Shake Shack coming to Richmond as part of Willow Place shopping center redevelopment

Shake Shack is known for its burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries and shakes. (Courtesy of Shake Shack)

Shake Shack, the rapidly expanding restaurant chain known for its burgers, fries and milkshakes, has lined up its first Richmond-area location as one of the anchors of a soon-to-be-redeveloped West End shopping center.

Last week the company filed permits to begin work at 5400 W. Broad St., on the site of a boarded up former Applebee’s just west of Willow Lawn.

The parcel is part of the Willow Place shopping center near West Broad Street’s intersection with Libbie Avenue. Planning documents indicate the long-vacant 4,700-square-foot Applebee’s structure would be razed to make way for a new building to be occupied by Shake Shack.

A Shake Shack spokeswoman said in an email Monday that the new location will be about 3,200 square feet with 1,200 square feet of outdoor dining area. She added that they expect the location to open in 2023. It also will have a drive-thru.

The former Applebee’s in Henrico is set to be razed for Shake Shack. (BizSense file)

Richmond-based Sauer Properties owns the former Applebee’s and entire Willow Place shopping center. Sauer Properties President Ashley Peace confirmed Shake Shack’s plans.

Founded in New York City in 2004, Shake Shack has grown to over 360 locations globally, the majority of which are spread across 32 states in the U.S. It has dozens of locations in D.C. and Northern Virginia. It opened a location in Virginia Beach in 2019, but had not strayed further west until now.

The Richmond location looks to be a part of an overall expansion for Shake Shack. Per a report from trade publication Restaurant Dive, Shake Shack is on an aggressive growth plan and planning to open around 50 locations in the U.S. in 2022.

Shake Shack isn’t the only new tenant in store for the Willow Place shopping center.

Peace said Sauer Properties is planning a significant retail redevelopment of the center but wouldn’t disclose further details at this time.

Sauer Properties bought the bulk of the roughly 12-acre shopping center in 1990 for $1 million, county records show. It added the Applebee’s building to its holdings in 2009, buying it for $1.9 million, and a year prior bought the Car Pool Detail building at 5512 W. Broad St. for $745,000.

The largest piece of the shopping center is a 77,000-square-foot strip center at 5420 W. Broad St. Anchored until 2017 by Food Lion, the strip center is now home to tenants such as retailer Artee Fabrics & Home, Chinese restaurant Huang’s Express and dance studio Rigby’s Jig.

While Sauer Properties is keeping hush about the redevelopment plans, a flier from Thalhimer offers clues to the project’s scope.

Site plans on the Thalhimer flier show that the main strip center would be renovated and given new facades, while a pair of new retail buildings totaling 25,000 square feet would rise to the east at 5300 W. Marshall St.

The flier also shows that the existing River City Veterinary Hospital at 5305 W. Broad St. would be kept and expanded, however Car Pool’s building’s fate is unclear as it is listed as an available drive-thru outparcel.

The nearby Baskin-Robbins and year-old First Watch are not owned by Sauer and are not subject to the planned redevelopment.

Thalhimer’s Connie Jordan Nielsen represented Sauer Properties in lease negotiations with Shake Shack and is handling leasing for the overall redeveloped site.

Shake Shack is known for its burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries and shakes. (Courtesy of Shake Shack)

Shake Shack, the rapidly expanding restaurant chain known for its burgers, fries and milkshakes, has lined up its first Richmond-area location as one of the anchors of a soon-to-be-redeveloped West End shopping center.

Last week the company filed permits to begin work at 5400 W. Broad St., on the site of a boarded up former Applebee’s just west of Willow Lawn.

The parcel is part of the Willow Place shopping center near West Broad Street’s intersection with Libbie Avenue. Planning documents indicate the long-vacant 4,700-square-foot Applebee’s structure would be razed to make way for a new building to be occupied by Shake Shack.

A Shake Shack spokeswoman said in an email Monday that the new location will be about 3,200 square feet with 1,200 square feet of outdoor dining area. She added that they expect the location to open in 2023. It also will have a drive-thru.

The former Applebee’s in Henrico is set to be razed for Shake Shack. (BizSense file)

Richmond-based Sauer Properties owns the former Applebee’s and entire Willow Place shopping center. Sauer Properties President Ashley Peace confirmed Shake Shack’s plans.

Founded in New York City in 2004, Shake Shack has grown to over 360 locations globally, the majority of which are spread across 32 states in the U.S. It has dozens of locations in D.C. and Northern Virginia. It opened a location in Virginia Beach in 2019, but had not strayed further west until now.

The Richmond location looks to be a part of an overall expansion for Shake Shack. Per a report from trade publication Restaurant Dive, Shake Shack is on an aggressive growth plan and planning to open around 50 locations in the U.S. in 2022.

Shake Shack isn’t the only new tenant in store for the Willow Place shopping center.

Peace said Sauer Properties is planning a significant retail redevelopment of the center but wouldn’t disclose further details at this time.

Sauer Properties bought the bulk of the roughly 12-acre shopping center in 1990 for $1 million, county records show. It added the Applebee’s building to its holdings in 2009, buying it for $1.9 million, and a year prior bought the Car Pool Detail building at 5512 W. Broad St. for $745,000.

The largest piece of the shopping center is a 77,000-square-foot strip center at 5420 W. Broad St. Anchored until 2017 by Food Lion, the strip center is now home to tenants such as retailer Artee Fabrics & Home, Chinese restaurant Huang’s Express and dance studio Rigby’s Jig.

While Sauer Properties is keeping hush about the redevelopment plans, a flier from Thalhimer offers clues to the project’s scope.

Site plans on the Thalhimer flier show that the main strip center would be renovated and given new facades, while a pair of new retail buildings totaling 25,000 square feet would rise to the east at 5300 W. Marshall St.

The flier also shows that the existing River City Veterinary Hospital at 5305 W. Broad St. would be kept and expanded, however Car Pool’s building’s fate is unclear as it is listed as an available drive-thru outparcel.

The nearby Baskin-Robbins and year-old First Watch are not owned by Sauer and are not subject to the planned redevelopment.

Thalhimer’s Connie Jordan Nielsen represented Sauer Properties in lease negotiations with Shake Shack and is handling leasing for the overall redeveloped site.

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Josh Cozine
Josh Cozine
3 months ago

Only ever had Shake Shack that one summer I was on the east coast. Beats in n out I think

LARS DANCE
LARS DANCE
3 months ago

This is exciting! Thankful it’s not in the fan or downtown Richmond, or I and thousands of others would never venture out to patronize them. I believe this is Henrico county, outside of the city, so even more reason to go so as to not contribute to the ill-managed city’s tax coffers

Jackson Joyner
Jackson Joyner
3 months ago
Reply to  LARS DANCE

OK Dallas, we get it. You love the suburbs and Glen Allen is perfection. How does this persona help you with your business marketing?

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
2 months ago
Reply to  LARS DANCE

FYI, as the Western Henrico Antifa Commander, we will be having regular meetings at shake Shack. Consider yourself warned.

LARS DANCE
LARS DANCE
2 months ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

Now that you’re encampment on the once beautiful Monument Avenue has ended, I’m sure you’re looking for a new place, but I’m pretty sure shake shack doesn’t have a basement, so I guess your hunt continues for a meeting place where intersectional transgendered hate mongers replete within antifa, can gather

Thomas Nelson
Thomas Nelson
3 months ago

Slightly frustrating they couldn’t pick a more urban location as they do in other cities like DC, New York, LA, etc, but can’t complain. This is great news

LARS DANCE
LARS DANCE
2 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Nelson

I think they actually want business located somewhere where BLM won’t be harassing their customer base for drinking vanilla milkshakes, cuz you know….white supremacy

Yolanda Stafford
Yolanda Stafford
2 months ago

Im excited to try cant wait..

Last edited 2 months ago by Yolanda Stafford
Anne Kennon
Anne Kennon
2 months ago

I haven’t been this excited for a restaurant opening….EVER. So excited to finally get Shackburgers in town!! Extremely grateful they picked a central location and not Short Pump.

LARS DANCE
LARS DANCE
2 months ago
Reply to  Anne Kennon

And especially NOT in the city of Richmond WITH A 14% TAX ON EVERY MEAL. Keep it in the counties for success

Matt Faris
Matt Faris
2 months ago
Reply to  LARS DANCE

You do realize Henricco County alo has a 4% Meals tax, right?

Dan Warner
Dan Warner
2 months ago

When Shake Shack first came to DC in 2011 I was really interested to try it, it was one of the first locations outside of New York and I had read Danny Meyer’s “Setting the Table”, a book about hospitality. I was interested in how his commitment to excellence and customer service would translate to a chain fast casual spot. Turns out, it was just like every other fast casual joint. The food was good, but nothing spectacular, and the service was ordinary. Richmond today has so many great burger options I’d be surprised if this is going to be… Read more »

LARS DANCE
LARS DANCE
2 months ago
Reply to  Dan Warner

There’s zero good fast burger joints. And who wants to buy a $14 Burger somewhere they’ll have to park, if you can find a spot in Richmond, and then pay 14% tax and have to tip an intersectional blue hair more interested in their phone than in service. So shake shack, although service will still suck because it’s almost impossible to find decent fast food workers, will at least have burgers and a drive-thru that will be better quality than the garbage they sell next door at McDonald’s

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
2 months ago

Let’s hope they have a better go than Steak & Shake.

LARS DANCE
LARS DANCE
2 months ago

I so much love seeing restaurants beginning to open in the counties instead of Richmond City where you’ll pay 14% tax on a meal, and where you’ll more than likely have your dinner interrupted by a protester or by crime entering or exiting an establishment where you’ve had to either pay for a rare parking spot or hunt for somewhere to park, before you have to navigate the dangerous streets to get to the restaurant where you’ll still be required to be masked. Very smart move by shake shack, that those who are still opening soon-to-fail businesses in Richmond city,… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by LARS DANCE
Justin W Ranson
Justin W Ranson
2 months ago
Reply to  LARS DANCE

Give it a rest Lars, we all know your stance at this point.

Lee Clark
Lee Clark
2 months ago
Reply to  LARS DANCE

You must be fun at parties….in the county.

JORDAN TUCKER
JORDAN TUCKER
2 months ago
Reply to  Lee Clark

True , because folks living in the city know he is correct on many points.

Jackson Joyner
Jackson Joyner
2 months ago
Reply to  JORDAN TUCKER

Name one.

Matt Faris
Matt Faris
2 months ago
Reply to  Jackson Joyner

I will. There are fewer locals from neighboring counties coming to the city than before last summer. Don’t shoot the messenger. You asked.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt Faris

Scott’s Addition is part of the city.

Matt Faris
Matt Faris
2 months ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

Ed, I’d guess many of the newer patrons of that area are residents as opposed to visitors from the other localities. That’s not a bad thing, BTW.

kay christensen
kay christensen
2 months ago

Great news as Richmond needs more overly large behinds waddling around town… Take a look around…geez.