RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A bulldozer moves loudly across the construction site. It is the sound of progress in Church Hill.
A mixed-use community is going up at North 25th Street and Nine Mile Road. This project is years in the making.
“It’s going to change the landscape for lots of people,” says Dr. Gary Rhodes, the President of Reynolds Community College.
The Reynolds Culinary & Pastry Arts and Hospitality Program will anchor the development. It will move to the East End from the Downtown campus.
“It allows the opportunity to grow students, offer a variety of classes and new programming,” explains Jesse Miller, the Program Head and Associate Professor.
Miller says training more chefs will help meet demands in Richmond’s booming restaurant scene.
Students will also be able to get job skills in a full-service grocery store that is going up in the complex.
The market will be a first for Church Hill, which has been designated as a food desert. Right now the nearest full-service store is more than a mile away.
The grocery store will also hire more than 50 locals to start.
“Maybe be a pathway to something else,” says Norm Gold. “They can come in, get a job there and then be successful somewhere else, and we’ll keep hiring people to come in and really become more self-sufficient.”
Gold is bringing 44 years of grocery and food bank experience to operate the store.
He says it will be a cornerstone of the plan to help the neighborhood take steps forward.
“It’s gonna be a great thing, and everybody’s excited,” says Gold. “Everybody I talk to is really excited to make this, what’s going to happen in Church Hill.”
The grocery store is scheduled to open in November 2018.
The Reynolds Culinary & Pastry Arts and Hospitality Program will launch at the new East End location in time for the fall 2019 semester.