A request for proposals for restaurants at Roanoke’sRiverside Station development has yielded interest from several restaurants, but developers haven’t yet decided which restaurant will open there.
The development near Carilion Clinic is envisioned as a 20-acre riverfront community with retail, office space and housing. The development is located on the former scrap yard and mill sites on South Jefferson Street and adjacent sites under the Walnut Street bridge. Roanoke River Associates - which includes former city manager Bern Ewert; Bill Rakes, a partner at the law firm Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore; and Burrell Saunders, a Virginia Beach architect – is financing the project.
The request for proposals sought a tenant, or tenants, for the old stables, a 6,700-square-foot building at South Jefferson Street and Riverside Circle.
John Nielsen, a broker with the real estate firm Thalhimer, said several restaurants submitted proposals. He would not name the interested restaurants but said all were from outside the area. He and the developers are hoping that some local restaurants will step forward, too.
“We were expecting to get at least one or two groups that would be local to the area,” Nielsen said. “For a project like this be successful, you have to have that merchant mix of locals and tenants from outside the area.”
The stables could accommodate one large restaurant, or it could be broken up into two spaces with a restaurant and a coffee shop, or even two restaurants, Nielsen said.
A franchisee for one restaurant, Newks Express Cafe, expressed interest about the project before the request for proposals was sent out to more than 750 restaurants, Nielsen said. The restaurant’s menu includes salad, pizza, sandwiches and soup. Newks’ owners started McAlister’s Deli and sold that business to start Newks, which is based in Mississippi.
Nielsen also is looking for a tenant to occupy the Trolley Barn, a 21,500-square-foot historic warehouse on the Riverside property, close to the Walnut Street bridge. Nielsen said he would like to see a microbrewery go in there. He is marketing the space to such users.
The Riverside Station project is expected to break ground later this year or in January, Nielsen said.
Also in the column:
- Replay Games and DVDs, a Roanoke company that sells used video games and DVDs, has put up for sale the buildings that house two of its stores and the company’s headquarters as it moves to cut expenses.
- Walgreens has rolled out a store brand line of products, Ology, that the company says is free of harmful chemicals.
- PetSmart, which said in May and again in July that it was in the process of opening a second store in Roanoke, now has no definite plans for the store, a spokeswoman said.