Food hall planned for Scott’s Addition leads to legal spat between owner, contractor

eat food hall exterior Cropped scaled

The former Hutcheson & Co. building was sold last year to EAT Restaurant Partners. (Mike Platania photos)

The project that’s making way for Scott’s Addition’s first food hall has become the subject of various legal proceedings, but still looks to be moving forward. 

Last month, local restaurant group EAT Restaurant Partners filed a lawsuit in Richmond Circuit Court against Commonwealth Construction Management alleging that the contractor performed deficient work on EAT’s planned food hall at 3017 W. Leigh St. 

Just days after EAT filed its lawsuit, the contractor took to the offensive and filed a complaint seeking to enforce a mechanic’s lien against its client, claiming that it’s owed more than $200,000 for its work on the project. 

With restaurants including Fat Dragon Chinese Kitchen, Pizza & Beer of Richmond, Lucky AF and Wong Gonzalez in its portfolio, EAT is one of the more prolific restaurant groups in the region. Last year it set out to expand even further when it bought a 17,000-square-foot Leigh Street warehouse for $3 million with plans to renovate it and bring the food hall trend into the neighborhood. 

eat food hall interior scaled

The former electrical parts warehouse is still planned to be converted into a food hall.

EAT hired CCM for the project last fall, court documents show. The Henrico-based contractor’s previous work includes River City Roll, Northside Dental Co.’s building on Hermitage Road and social club Common House’s space in the Arts District.

By March of this year, the relationship between EAT and CCM began to unravel, according to court filings. 

EAT alleges that CCM’s work on the building was “beset by frequent ongoing issues regarding quality and failures of communication,” and that EAT had to bring on others to re-do CCM’s work after terminating its contract with CCM in March. EAT is alleging breach of contract and is petitioning the court for a hearing, and is seeking an unspecified amount of damages. 

On Sept. 1, CCM filed a response to the lawsuit, denying EAT’s claims and seeking that the case be dismissed with prejudice.

In its mechanic’s lien filing, CCM claims it’s owed over $224,000 for the work it’s done on the building. CCM is seeking that amount, plus attorney’s fees, interest and other costs totaling an additional $46,000.

On Sept. 11 EAT filed a response denying CCM’s claims and requested that CCM’s filing be dismissed. 

No hearings in either legal matter had been set as of Friday. 

Attorney Stephen Faraci Sr. of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston is representing EAT in the case. S. Sadiq Gill of Durrette, Arkema, Gerson & Gill is representing CCM. Neither attorney responded to requests seeking comment in recent weeks. EAT owner Chris Tsui also did not respond for comment. 

Despite the legal wrangling, city documents indicate that the project is still on. In mid-September, EAT filed for a slew of building permits for the project, specifying that the food hall would include six vendor stalls, a snack shop and a speak-easy. 

At least some of those stalls would house concepts from EAT restaurants, including Foo Dog, which it closed in the Fan last year.

The batch of building permits for which EAT applied have yet to be issued by the city. One of the permits list the general contractor as to-be-determined. 

Parking lot dispute continues

scotts addition parking lawsuit lot scaled

The parking lot Dalian’s lawsuit centers on is now chained up and unused.

Another lawsuit centering on Scott’s Addition real estate also has seen some movement recently after more than a year of inaction. 

A hearing was recently set for this fall in the case between Dalian Development and Hem + Spire, two development firms based out of D.C. and North Carolina, respectively. The dispute concerns a Dalian-owned parking lot at 3210 W. Marshall St. that Hem + Spire is leasing. 

Dalian was one of the earlier out-of-town developers to buy into Scott’s Addition when it purchased the 2.6-acre Party Perfect site at 3210 W. Marshall St. for $3.8 million in 2018. That deal included the adjoining 51-spot parking lot.

A few years later, Hem + Spire bought the neighboring mixed-use parcel at 1300 MacTavish Ave. for nearly $11 million. That deal included a lease for the Dalian-owned parking lot that was renewed in 2020 for 10 years.

In its lawsuit in Richmond Circuit Court, first filed in spring 2022, Dalian seeks to confirm it has the right to terminate Hem + Spire’s lease on the parking lot at the end of its current term on Dec. 31, 2030. Hem + Spire claims in its responses in the case that Dalian doesn’t have the authority to terminate the lease based on the language in the lease documents. 

Though Dalian hasn’t filed any plans for the former Party Perfect site, the firm has stated in court documents that it’s planning a multifamily residential project on the site, one that would cover the leased parking lot. 

Dalian claims in court documents that Hem + Spire insists that it has the right to renew the lease, “presumably forever,” and that Hem + Spire’s position “stymies (Dalian’s) ability to increase the value of its property and prevents the development.”

The parking lot in question, which is just a block from the food hall site, is chained shut.

Last month a judge set a hearing in the case for Dec. 12. 

eat food hall exterior Cropped scaled

The former Hutcheson & Co. building was sold last year to EAT Restaurant Partners. (Mike Platania photos)

The project that’s making way for Scott’s Addition’s first food hall has become the subject of various legal proceedings, but still looks to be moving forward. 

Last month, local restaurant group EAT Restaurant Partners filed a lawsuit in Richmond Circuit Court against Commonwealth Construction Management alleging that the contractor performed deficient work on EAT’s planned food hall at 3017 W. Leigh St. 

Just days after EAT filed its lawsuit, the contractor took to the offensive and filed a complaint seeking to enforce a mechanic’s lien against its client, claiming that it’s owed more than $200,000 for its work on the project. 

With restaurants including Fat Dragon Chinese Kitchen, Pizza & Beer of Richmond, Lucky AF and Wong Gonzalez in its portfolio, EAT is one of the more prolific restaurant groups in the region. Last year it set out to expand even further when it bought a 17,000-square-foot Leigh Street warehouse for $3 million with plans to renovate it and bring the food hall trend into the neighborhood. 

eat food hall interior scaled

The former electrical parts warehouse is still planned to be converted into a food hall.

EAT hired CCM for the project last fall, court documents show. The Henrico-based contractor’s previous work includes River City Roll, Northside Dental Co.’s building on Hermitage Road and social club Common House’s space in the Arts District.

By March of this year, the relationship between EAT and CCM began to unravel, according to court filings. 

EAT alleges that CCM’s work on the building was “beset by frequent ongoing issues regarding quality and failures of communication,” and that EAT had to bring on others to re-do CCM’s work after terminating its contract with CCM in March. EAT is alleging breach of contract and is petitioning the court for a hearing, and is seeking an unspecified amount of damages. 

On Sept. 1, CCM filed a response to the lawsuit, denying EAT’s claims and seeking that the case be dismissed with prejudice.

In its mechanic’s lien filing, CCM claims it’s owed over $224,000 for the work it’s done on the building. CCM is seeking that amount, plus attorney’s fees, interest and other costs totaling an additional $46,000.

On Sept. 11 EAT filed a response denying CCM’s claims and requested that CCM’s filing be dismissed. 

No hearings in either legal matter had been set as of Friday. 

Attorney Stephen Faraci Sr. of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston is representing EAT in the case. S. Sadiq Gill of Durrette, Arkema, Gerson & Gill is representing CCM. Neither attorney responded to requests seeking comment in recent weeks. EAT owner Chris Tsui also did not respond for comment. 

Despite the legal wrangling, city documents indicate that the project is still on. In mid-September, EAT filed for a slew of building permits for the project, specifying that the food hall would include six vendor stalls, a snack shop and a speak-easy. 

At least some of those stalls would house concepts from EAT restaurants, including Foo Dog, which it closed in the Fan last year.

The batch of building permits for which EAT applied have yet to be issued by the city. One of the permits list the general contractor as to-be-determined. 

Parking lot dispute continues

scotts addition parking lawsuit lot scaled

The parking lot Dalian’s lawsuit centers on is now chained up and unused.

Another lawsuit centering on Scott’s Addition real estate also has seen some movement recently after more than a year of inaction. 

A hearing was recently set for this fall in the case between Dalian Development and Hem + Spire, two development firms based out of D.C. and North Carolina, respectively. The dispute concerns a Dalian-owned parking lot at 3210 W. Marshall St. that Hem + Spire is leasing. 

Dalian was one of the earlier out-of-town developers to buy into Scott’s Addition when it purchased the 2.6-acre Party Perfect site at 3210 W. Marshall St. for $3.8 million in 2018. That deal included the adjoining 51-spot parking lot.

A few years later, Hem + Spire bought the neighboring mixed-use parcel at 1300 MacTavish Ave. for nearly $11 million. That deal included a lease for the Dalian-owned parking lot that was renewed in 2020 for 10 years.

In its lawsuit in Richmond Circuit Court, first filed in spring 2022, Dalian seeks to confirm it has the right to terminate Hem + Spire’s lease on the parking lot at the end of its current term on Dec. 31, 2030. Hem + Spire claims in its responses in the case that Dalian doesn’t have the authority to terminate the lease based on the language in the lease documents. 

Though Dalian hasn’t filed any plans for the former Party Perfect site, the firm has stated in court documents that it’s planning a multifamily residential project on the site, one that would cover the leased parking lot. 

Dalian claims in court documents that Hem + Spire insists that it has the right to renew the lease, “presumably forever,” and that Hem + Spire’s position “stymies (Dalian’s) ability to increase the value of its property and prevents the development.”

The parking lot in question, which is just a block from the food hall site, is chained shut.

Last month a judge set a hearing in the case for Dec. 12. 

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Justin Reynolds
Justin Reynolds
8 months ago

There is a lot of bad blood here and I can imagine this could take awhile in court. However, the parking lot dispute is completely separate—aside from close proximity to the food hall. Why is the parking lot issue at the bottom of this article?

Steve Cook
Steve Cook
8 months ago

It would be fine to have both stories in one article. It just needs a more encompassing title, such as “Lawyers Clean Up in Scott’s Addition”