Local businessman has big plans for revitalizing Richmond’s Manchester District

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — If you stroll through the business area of Manchester, you might see several vacant, boarded-up buildings.

Richard Smith, however, plans on changing that. He has a vision of turning Manchester into a ‘Southside Carytown.’

Smith. the owner RJ Smith Companies which is developing Manchester, says, “we believe that this could be a ’Hulltown,’ like Careytown, that this general area of the Manchester district is in desperate need of restaurants and retail and boutique shops that will support all the residents that live here that just do not have those types of services. “That’s the great thing about it, they’re already here, there’s just nobody to service them.”

Smith has already invested millions of dollars and purchased several buildings, including the old Art Center in Manchester.  Smith plans to demolish the center and build apartments.

One local restaurant owner has already gotten a head start in bringing his business into the neighborhood. Frank Pitchford owns Send-a-Chef, and said he sees great things for Manchester.

“Well so much has gone on in the Manchester area, we were here ten years ago and we had the opportunity to be invited back in the same building so we came back over here,” Pitchford said. “The Manchester area is really, really growing and we’re doing remarkable things here.”

Pitchford added, however, that he knows it will take some time to turn Manchester into the southside’s Carytown.

“Well, in matter of years in a matter of years, it’s not going to happen overnight you just have to be patient,” he said.

 

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