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Real Estate

Would this be a good location for a restaurant?

My name is Daniil Kleyman and I buy/renovate/develop a good amount of property in Church Hill. I recently bought 801-805 N. 23rd St and plan to redevelop that property as apartments and possibly a restaurant downstairs (it already has a hood). A great restaurant there (maybe a brunch spot?) would really help the area and make a significant, positive impact on the neighborhood.

[…] I am seeking a restaurant tenants. I could use all the help getting the word out I can get in order to find the right operation to go in there. I have limited time and if I don’t find someone soon I’ll just do all apartments there.

The restaurant can be either 1100sq ft or 2200sq and there is a HUGE backyard that can be outdoor dining. Picture a brunch spot with a big patio!

I appreciate your help/time. I can always be reached at 804-991-4111. Thanks!

According to the city’s Parcel Mapper, Kleyman owns 18 properties in the city (other than this one), including 8 in the immediate area:

  • 504 North 22nd Street
  • 521 North 30th Street
  • 901 North 35th Street
  • 1112 North 35th Street
  • 1224 North 35th Street
  • 1218 North 37th Street
  • 1310 North 38th Street
  • 2005 Cedar Street

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Alex 04/22/2012 at 11:07 AM

No. It’s in a scary place that will get very little traffic. The building having an uninviting exterior will further jeopardize its chances. It would take an incredible PR investment for this to be viable and even then it would have to be really good food.

The restaurants on the Hill that have done well get a fair share of their business from folks outside the neighborhood. Most of them would be scared off by how close this is to Mosby.

Union Hill 04/22/2012 at 11:14 AM

Yes, please!! Excellent location!

Observer 04/22/2012 at 12:43 PM

I think it would be wonderful if this property was developed but I think there are a number of important things to consider.

First, parking around this area is always tricky. I used to live right down the street and often had to circle the block or park a few streets over due to events or services at the church. It’s not just on Sundays (also a peak brunch time!) but many weekday evenings as well (peak dinner time) that the church has events that generate a lot of street parking.

Second, as Alex stated, this location is definitely on the edges of what has been developed and is considered “safe” versus what many people consider to be an area that they don’t feel comfortable venturing into. I think many Church Hill/Union Hill residents would be comfortable traveling over to patronize the restaurant, but non-locals might not.

If you consider that a restaurant needs customers from outside the area to sustain it, then the parking and perceived safety issues might be substantial barrier to a successful business.

I’m all about seeing that corner developed, but PLEASE do it thoughtfully. We don’t need another Que Pasa or Buff’s Corner up here!

ewc 04/22/2012 at 12:53 PM


What are you talking about? DO you live in that area? I live four blocks down from the spot and never have questioned my safety or my proximity to Mosby. Our neighborhood is SAFE and in need of people to invest in our community. We need GOOD traffic and a brunch spot may be the thing to satisfy that need.
I think the location would be an issue though. It is in an obscure place. However, the Church might bring in brunch traffic. I agree that it would need more PR etc…

Union Hill people, do you agree????

Dear Neighbor 04/22/2012 at 2:02 PM

Richmond’s acclaimed Roosevelt is two blocks away. This corner is ready for Prime Time. All the church parking stands empty for most of the week. They only pack it in for funerals and sunday morning. There are never weddings at that church.

Je, we need you, come back!!!

Teresa 04/22/2012 at 2:41 PM

I live two blocks from this spot and have never felt it terribly unsafe compared to other areas.

The building doesn’t scream restaurant though because it doesn’t have that inviting open feel to it. That block is kind of underdeveloped as the house right next door is in decay and there are only two houses across the street if I remember correctly. Then an open lot.

I don’t think Mosby plays any issue. Jefferson Park is only blocks from Mosby and it sees a fair share of traffic.

laura 04/22/2012 at 2:48 PM

As much as I’d like to say “Yes”…unfortunately, I have to agree with Alex. The neighborhood has got some work to do to get cleaned up before others will venture in. ewc- your perception of the neighborhood’s safety does not extend to others. These restaurants will definitely need the support of the larger Richmond area to survive since there’s a density issue.

Once the housing in the area get’s cleaned up, businesses will come later and be able to survive.

Houdon 04/22/2012 at 3:49 PM

@Alex, why the venom and vitriol? This is an amazing space with great potential (I’ve actually been inside).

As the prior commenter said: this is two blocks from the Roosevelt. I’m ready to be a regular customer and I’ll walk there with my baby in a stroller. Get to work!

Dear Neighbor 04/22/2012 at 6:34 PM

Alex and Laura, you are not well informed. The Roosevelt and Alamo give lie to your location argument.. And when they peel that dumb 50s brick out of the windows of this building, it will be all window. You could be right if they make the same design error of OMG and That Nightclub That Has Never Opened On Leigh And Jefferson and leave the windows bricked up. Those places are like Yogi Bear’s cave from Kings Dominion.

The truth is almost everything up by this is renovated. The house next door is pretty heinous but it is the exception, and thus stands out.

The real scar within the immediate blocks of this is the acres and acres of windswept empty parking lots the church has given us. Everywhere else up here smells like fresh mulch and looks like a Rose Parade float … Except that church parking lot. Plant a tree, people.

DA 04/22/2012 at 6:47 PM

A huge difference between this location and where the Alamo and Roosevelt are located is that this not on a major thoroughfare. They are close by, but situated differently.

Dear Neighbor 04/22/2012 at 7:00 PM

Yes, DA – Sally Field was telling me when i saw her there that she chose the Roosevelt for a dinner party because she was travelling down Nine Mile on her way to Hotter Dryers, not because of the restaurants good reputation.

It’s more of a thoroughfare than Pescado’s or Mama Zu have on Pine Street. If a good tenant with a good reputation came here, it would be a game changer. But I guess H8rs gotta h8, it being the east end and all. Good luck, Daniil – get a good commercial retail broker!

eddie 04/22/2012 at 7:22 PM

about five yrs ago a lady sold smothered pork chops… the church owns the property … they were great…

Alex 04/22/2012 at 8:42 PM

Sorry if I pissed anyone off, just stating facts as I see them. I would love to see another good new restaurant in the area. I just don’t think that this would draw enough business from anyone other than maybe a hundred or so folks who live very nearby. Folks from outside Union Hill are not likely to drive this far back unless the restaurant is very very good. Even if it is very very good, they’d always be better off opening up somewhere less ‘scary’ to some of their potential customers. If you want to blow smoke up this guys ass and talk him into building out a restaurant, be my guest. I’ll go if the food is good but think those of us like that may be in the minority. Opening a restaurant is hard enough without cutting out potential customers.

ann 04/22/2012 at 9:24 PM

If the restaurant’s good, people will visit. I’ve lived just a block north for years and haven’t been scared for any part of that time.

Dear Neighbor 04/22/2012 at 9:48 PM

Here’s hoping the owner and any tenant prospects base their decisions on good information and sound advice!

Houdon 04/22/2012 at 10:04 PM

What’s even better about this location than even Roosevelt or many other locations is the fact that the neighborhood actively sought out liberal zoning to encourage development of corner parcels under R-63. It’s already zoned for a restaurant with upstairs apartments free of parking restrictions! I have a feeling that’s what really rankles at least one of these commenters: the idea of a zoning model they opposed coming to good for this neighborhood. This ready-made zoning will be a HUGE savings for any investor.

Matt Jarreau 04/23/2012 at 10:15 AM

I think it’s a great location to do a restaurant. I’ve been in this neck of the woods for years now and think it’s a prime time spot ready for a new venture. This block looks a little dreary because of this building, once its brought back around perceptions will change. Daniil please, please take out that brick and give us some nice glass to look at and a patio off the rear. I’m ready to commit to drinks and apps 3 nights a week just to see you turn this into a great spot. Who else is with me??!!

Daniil Kleyman 04/23/2012 at 12:15 PM

I appreciate everyone’s feedback and I’ve already gotten calls from a few people! Wanted to address a few issues;

1) Exterior -of course it’s dreary right now. I plan to do a full renovation to interior and exterior. Taking out brick in the front and putting in glass is definitely an option. This will most likely be a historic tax credit project so DHR and CAR will have sign-offs.

2) Parking – I haven’t looked into the Church’s lots yet but there is actually space behind the property to put both an outdoor dining area AND parking in.

3) As some of you have stated, this location will not get a lot of street-traffic and people going in because they happened to drive by. That’s why I would love to get someone that already has a track record in there that will attract people from elsewhere. Someone that already has a great operation elsewhere that’s looking to expand.

Look forward to other comments and ideas! I see huge huge potential in Church Hill and would love to see a great restaurant go here to enhance the neighborhood.

Bret 04/23/2012 at 1:55 PM

Daniil – I would seek out Chef Nate from the old Louisiana Flair restaurant. One of my favorite all-time Richmond spots. They had a dedicated customer base and I know he is looking to get his own restaurant going again. And anyone from New Orleans should not be afraid of a Richmond neighborhood that is rough around the edges. He’s on Facebook if you look up Louisiana Flair. Good luck!

Melissa B 04/23/2012 at 1:59 PM

BRING BACK LOUISIANA FLAIR here!!!!! This is an ideal location and Chef Nate is looking for relocation after his successful downtown restaurant lost the foot traffic from layoffs in the Times-Dispatch area. His food is the best New Orleans cooking in the city. Period. What a great fit. I’m going to link you two up via Facebook and hope for a miracle!

Mike 04/23/2012 at 2:02 PM

If you are looking to put a restaurant in, why not talk to members of the Cedar Street Baptist congregation for leads? Instead of viewing church activities in that area as a potential hindrance, I would see that as potential business. If there are a lot of weeknight activities as well as Sunday services, that seems like a huge clientele waiting to be tapped. I’m sure many of the congregants would look to that location for lunch after Sunday service, or perhaps dinner before an evening event. Plus, to counter some other arguments, the fact that Cedar Street attracts people from Church Hill and outside of Church Hill/Union Hill means that there is actually a lot of drive by traffic that would be exposed to a restaurant here.

Melissa B 04/23/2012 at 2:02 PM

Omg, Bret…..great minds! Your comment posted right as I was awaiting approval. I couldn’t agree more. This is excellent! Let’s hope this happens. I’ve been craving a po’boy like nobody’s business.

Lauren 04/23/2012 at 5:13 PM

I work near Croaker’s spot in manchester, which is an area with less development than this proposed spot. It seems to always be full…

Daniil Kleyman 04/23/2012 at 5:47 PM

Bret/Melissa: thanks for the idea! I just reached out to Chef Nate on facebook. I love new orleans food!

Mike: absolutely. I would want the local churches involved on some level and welcomed no matter what kind of restaurant goes in.

Jessica Schlachter 04/24/2012 at 7:37 PM

Is this the site located across the street from Cedar Street Bapist church but also next to the seminary?

Jessica Schlachter 04/24/2012 at 7:39 PM

If it is the location across the street from Cedar Street Bapist church but also next to the seminary, these are very very vey old pictures you are posting here

Daniil Kleyman 04/25/2012 at 8:49 AM

Jessica – yes this is the property that sits next to the seminary on the corner of Cedar and 23rd. It used to be the Seminary’s cafeteria and had classrooms upstairs. Those pictures are pretty current – you can actually see they are time-stamped from 2011.

K.M. 04/25/2012 at 10:39 AM

Zoiks!! Another “yes, please!” re: Chef Nate! Daniil–have you heard from him?

Lora 04/25/2012 at 12:24 PM

Daniil, on-and off-street parking will be an issue during church services, but I’d encourage you to talk with the church about the possibility of renting one of their lots at night and other times when the church isn’t using them. I’d encourage you to do whatever you can to NOT build more surface parking in Union Hill. With the exception of one other small structure, the entire block on which that building sits is a surface parking lot that stays vacant almost all the time.

Daniil Kleyman 04/26/2012 at 9:31 AM

I haven’t heard from Chef Nate yet. If anyone has a direct contact # for him, I’d definitely appreciate it!

Gwomper 04/26/2012 at 10:52 AM

How about a convience store with actual good beer . Good food . Not a malt liquor and potatoe chip outlet . It would be a lot easier than a restaraunt . Even though that would be sweet. The building needs too much work. And that means rent would go up. And any real investor with a clue would pay the same money for a better location…. But good luck with whatever you do.

K.M. 04/26/2012 at 3:01 PM

Daniil–I believe Chef Nate is working at Boychick’s…if not, they could definitely put you in touch with him.

crd 04/26/2012 at 10:18 PM

K.M. #33, if you are interested in helping, why not call Boychick’s yourself or find a good phone number for Chef Nate and either post it or get in touch with Daniil on Facebook? Seems like it might help put them in touch quickly, thanks.

teresa 05/12/2012 at 1:37 PM

seems he is going forward with finding a tenant

This could be 801 North 23rd Street ‹ Church Hill People's News 01/09/2013 at 6:16 AM

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