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History

401 North 27th Street (1956)

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46 comments

Michael Hild 03/23/2016 at 7:33 AM

Awesome picture! What is the owner’s plan for that building? Surprised nothing has been done with it. Seems like a no-brainer to put retail/restaurant in there.

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John M 03/23/2016 at 8:11 AM

sometime in the next 10 years or so it became a Coke advert /2007/12/26/401-north-27th-street-1960s_1292/

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Eric S. Huffstutler 03/23/2016 at 11:47 AM

Great find John!

@1 Michael Hild…

The short answer is nothing is being done with the building and nothing planned due to a complicated situation. The longer explanation follows:

I have been following this building for years since it is historically connected to our house. It had been various types of grocery or combination stores including selling radios, before WWII. Afterwards, it became a Laundromat and remained so until the building was condemned in 2004 then sold. The new owner gutted it in hopes of making it a restaurant but found out with the now 201 year old age it needed a lot of work along with unavailable “off street” parking required by zoning due to a change of use of the building.

It has remained a hollow shell down to dirt floor and bare brick walls since 2004 and the owner played games with the city while changing ownership within their family. It became blighted and a series of code violations were attached to it and went to court but before they were completed, went on the sale block for a ridiculous amount that no one would touch (obviously did not want to sell). Was selling for $500,000. In the mean time, they completed an apartment upstairs. The city did a fair value appraisal of $105,000 when they thought about seizing the property. The Historic Richmond Foundation was also interested in purchasing the building at one time and wanted to restore it but everyone drug their feet until they lost interest.

At one time a group of people invited councilwoman Cynthia Newbille to tour Church Hill and point out restoration missteps and lack of work on buildings and I presented her with background on the building including a rendering on how the building looked back 200 years ago with open side windows and the door located front and center – brick exterior minus the stucco. She promised to get back with us but completely blew us off.

It is currently housing some catering equipment for someone local but as far as I know there is no plans but would make a great corner grocery store as it was originally built for.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 03/23/2016 at 12:08 PM

Sorry, wrote the above quickly but if you wish to know more about the history of the building and owners, I had written an article for the CHA Newsletter back in October 2013 which starts on Page 12.

http://www.churchhill.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/2013OCT_Finalweb-small.pdf

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Lee 03/23/2016 at 6:19 PM

@Eric – How big is the place? I can’t imagine how a grocery store could fit. I imagine it would have to be either a “gourmet shop” type setup like Union Market (to their credit, they do have some convenience items/good range, but sooo expensive) or just another corner store that sells beer, cigarettes and potato chips (presumably also at high markup) if they are going to sell anything resembling groceries and not go out of business. Not trying to naysay – would love to see the place restored.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 03/23/2016 at 8:42 PM

@7 Lee… keep in mind that the building is in two parts. The front brick section was built in 1815 and has a 20×30 feet footprint. Then there is the wooden extension facing Marshall added around 1855 which is open all the way open through the brick section. The combined square footage is probably similar to Captain Buzzy’s which was the Korean run Quick Check Market before 2003. It carried some canned goods, dry goods, coolers with milk and drinks, some fresh produce, bread, and snacks. In other words a small general store which is what we are talking about – not a full blown grocery store.

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Eric S. Huffstutler 03/26/2016 at 4:10 PM

I am assuming by the newness of the sign that the picture was taken after it was painted. There must have been a run by the TruAde people since there was at least this one, the one at 2211 E Clay (corner of Clay and Jefferson next to Cyclus), and the one on the old Church Hill grocery now Anthony’s On The Hill Pizza at 2824 E Broad… that I know of.

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