Restaurant owner makes big investment in Shockoe Bottom despite violence

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In Richmond, business owners tell 8News they believe in Shockoe Bottom despite recent violence.

Five adjacent properties were all purchased by the same couple, Paul Keevil and his significant other Linda Lauby.

“We really believe that when the market is finished here that this will be a really vibrant area,” Paul Keevil said.

They were already renting the buildings for their restaurants, Lulu’s and Tio Pablo’s.

Lulu’s has been on 17th Street in Shockoe Bottom for over 10 years. Tio Pablo’s has been there over five years.

The couple also owns Millie’s down the road and are also constructing a new coffee shop, Cafe Clang, on the corner of 17th Street and Franklin.

“We were already in place so it made perfect sense to take on the purchase,” Keevil said.

With the five properties they purchased, they just invested nearly $1.6 million into the neighborhood.

Keevil said he fell in love with the neighborhood right away.

“I think these buildings have a ton of character,” Keevil said. “Over the years, all the businesses that have been here add to the spirit and the charm of the neighborhood.”

When asked about criminal activity, Keevil said he believes the combination of strong businesses and the new market will slowly help push that out.

“There is an investment here not only from myself and my wife and my partners here and also from the people that are coming in down the street here from Eat Group,” Keevil said. “People are making an investment here, they believe in this area and I don’t think that will be an issue:”

He said he hopes businesses like his will add to the revitalization process of Shockoe Bottom.

“I think finally next spring when the market is finished and we have the patio seating here, you will probably have to stand in line because it’s going to be hot,” Keevil said.

He said his big concern is how other restaurants and stores along this construction zones will survive until the market is finished.

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