Formerly known as a dead zone, city’s Arts District seeing major growth

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — An area that has long been known as a dead zone in Richmond is now seeing major residential and commercial growth.

City officials say the Arts District is growing substantially and there are programs that could further spur growth.

Just last week Friday, a new restaurant called Pop’s Market opened at 415 E. Grace street.

“We have been dreaming about this for six years,” said Patti Wright, who’s son started the business.

At the lunch hour, the business is bustling, despite being open for only four days, and there are many others on the same block that in the past, has been considered a no man’s land.

“When we first moved here from the Miller and Rhodes building, this block was like a ghost town, and it was very sad because we are native Richmonders,” said Wright.

“I have seen this building empty for so long and it was time for something to cool to come and pop up in here,” said Cate Belleman, a customer. “I feel like this area of town has been neglected for so long, there was way past due for this area to get the attention that it deserves.”

The city says it’s been working on revitalizing the Arts District for a long time, now the progress is becoming apparent. Other restaurants in the area include Julep’s, Pasture and the Rappahannock Restaurant.

“We are seeing a lot of residential growth, and businesses like this need a market, and that market is being increased by the new people living downtown, by the new people working downtown,” said Lee Downey, the interim deputy chief administrative officer for planning and economic development in the city.

If you are planning on opening a business in Richmond, click here to contact the office of economic development for options that may benefit you.

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