RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Residents and business owners in the Manchester neighborhood are worried that a New York-based development company, Avery Hall Investments, could devastate tourism and a beloved view in the community.
The out-of-state company’s proposal outlines a two-towered residential complex in the Manchester neighborhood, with one building reaching 11 stories and the other at 17 floors.
One of the businesses that would be most impacted by this new development is Legend Brewing Company. Legend serves food, drinks, and views on its outdoor patio in the Manchester neighborhood. Community members tell 8News the business is an iconic location in town, serving people not just within the community but also tourists from across the world.
David Gott, a spokesperson for the company, said his greatest fear when it comes to Avery Hall Investment’s proposed residential complex is a “complete obliteration of our view.”
Legend Brewing Company isn’t the only local business that would be impacted by the introduction of the large scale, 525-unit installation. Manchester Alliance, a community advocacy organization made up of many local business owners, has continuously followed the project since its initial proposal.
According to Maria Beall, president of Manchester Alliance, the community always knew the land between Legend Brewing Company and the James River would eventually be developed into some sort of property at some point. But she, along with other residents and business-owners, hoped any proposal would take into consideration a variety of factors that would best accommodate locals.
Beall notes that this apartment complex would bring in individuals disconnected from the community. While this would attract new faces to the neighborhood’s charm, the community would thrive off of the introduction of more long-term residents with stronger devotion to the long-term success of the community.
“We’re so lucky in Richmond to have this beautiful river going through it,” Beall said. “We don’t think that view should be dominated by one developer, especially a developer who’s going to be marketing to renters who are going to be here today, gone tomorrow.”
Parking is also a point of concern for Manchester locals, who say there’s already too little parking availability in the area. Community members like Beall fear that the introduction of 525 new apartments — and at least that many new residents — might exasperate this concern.
The zone in which the new property would be built does not allow for 17-story complexes, so a special permit would be required for the building to be approved and for construction to begin. While Gott and Beall explain that development on the lot is inevitable, there’s still a chance it can be done with residential interest taken into consideration.
Beall and Gott encourage community members to attend a Manchester Alliance meeting in September, where the team will meet with representatives of Avery Hall to more thoroughly discuss the proposal and its timeline.
Community members can also support Legend Brewing by submitting photos to “ViewsFromLegendRVA” on Instagram. The account will showcase the role the company’s patio view plays in the lives of locals and will be used to advocate for maintaining the view, but it also serves as a time capsule for residents to reflect on the iconic Manchester location.
“If they do succeed and they destroy the view, at least we’ll have our memories.” Gott said.