RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The buzz surrounding a food hall arriving in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition this year has since been halted.
The food hall, called ‘The Belleville,” would have featured 18 vendors, a roof-top bar, and a new taproom for Veil Brewing Company. Stakeholders in the project announced Tuesday that they have decided to pull the plug on the new endeavor, citing the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trevor Dickerson, president of the Scott’s Addition Boulevard Association, says the food hall would have brought in a lot of revenue to businesses. Dickerson, however, did acknowledge that it would have been a financial gamble during the pandemic.
“I’m disappointed,” Dickerson told 8News. “But with all that is coming down the line and all the uncertainty of whether folks will come back out or whether we are going to have a second wave, it makes it really hard, financially, for folks to take a gamble on such a thing, especially with something that’s such a new thing for Richmond. I think it would have been embraced with open arms, but I can’t blame the owners for taking a step back.”
The Neighborhood Restaurant Group, an organization in Northern Virginia, was heading the project development and released a rendering to 8News showing how the transformed building would appear. The group was also tasked with finding local and national chefs to fill the kitchens. Lee Gregory, head chef and owner of Southbound and Alewife, was one of the selectees.
“One giant restaurant community under one roof was kind of a cool concept that hasn’t been brought to Richmond yet,” Gregory said. “Hate to see it go, but completely understand the reasons why.”
The group says they decided with their partners to mutually let the project go because of the uncertainty of the restaurant industry right now, something Corey Martin, owner of the Dairy Bar in Scott’s Addition, told 8News he is all too familiar with.
“It’s hard times right now, everyone is unsure and panicking,” Martin said.
The Dairy Bar owner shared with 8News that in March he cleared everything out of the restaurant to do a deep cleanse and hired Aaron’s Cleaning Service to clean their facility three times a week.
“We just want to assure them to the best of our ability to make sure they will have a safe place to eat,” he said.
With business at restaurants slower than usual, Martin says he and other businesses are disappointed that plans for a Richmond food hall were abandoned.
“It hurts us too,” Martin said. “Scott’s Addition has become so residential now that a lot of these businesses depend on that foot traffic.”
The Neighborhood Restaurant Group says although the food hall isn’t coming to Richmond this year, they haven’t closed the door completely. Officials say they’re not ruling out the possibility of revisiting the idea in the future.
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