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BizSense Beat: June 30, 2023

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BizSense Beat is a weekly collaboration between VPM News and Richmond BizSense that brings you the top business stories during NPR's Morning Edition on Fridays.

Here’s a recap of the top stories for the week of June 30, 2023:

550-unit apartment towers next to Legend get City Council go-ahead
Reported by Richmond Bizsense’s Mike Platania

A new development that will drastically change the Manchester skyline is a go.

Richmond City Council voted Monday night to approve Avery Hall Investments’ special-use permit application for a pair of high-rise apartment buildings at 301 W. Sixth St. next to Legend Brewing.

Reaching 16 and 17 stories and totaling over 550 units, Avery Hall’s project is one of the highest-density developments proposed in the city in recent years.

VCU Health OK’d to demolish city-owned Public Safety Building
Reported by Richmond Bizsense’s Jonathan Spiers

As it continues to pay for its costly exit from an ill-fated downtown development project, VCU Health has been given a go-ahead by the city to begin demolishing and clearing the project site, at an estimated cost of $5 million.

City Council on Monday authorized the health system to access the city-owned property at 500 N. 10th St. to begin demolition of the old Public Safety Building, which had been planned to be razed as part of the VCU Health-anchored development.

The $325 million project was aborted in February after VCU Health decided to back out of its lease and the city took back ownership of the 3-acre property.

Carytown Burgers and Fries searches for new owner
Reported by Richmond Bizsense’s Charlotte Matherly

Carytown Burgers & Fries, a mainstay in the Richmond restaurant scene since 1999, is up for grabs.

Founder and owner Mike Barber recently put the business with its two locations at 3449 W. Cary St. and 5404 Lakeside Ave. up for sale. He’s also listed the real estate for the Carytown spot.

Barber said he’s giving up the reins to focus on his health. He hopes to find a buyer who will keep the business running mostly as-is for Richmond residents and visitors.

Restaurant chain Taco Bamba to join Willow Lawn shopping center
Reported by Richmond Bizsense’s Jack Jacobs

The recent spurt of activity at a Willow Lawn retail strip continues with the impending arrival of an out-of-town taqueria.

D.C.-area chain Taco Bamba is planning to open its first local outpost in the shopping center in early 2024.

The restaurant has claimed an end space in Willow Lawn’s eastern strip, which is undergoing a transformation to make room for beauty supplies store Ulta and discount store Five Below. The two retailers are taking over storefronts once occupied by Dollar Tree and Ledo Pizza, among others.

‘The jury did not buy what he was selling’: Prosecutors fire back at Hild’s new trial request
Reported by Richmond Bizsense’s Michael Schwartz

Prosecutors are striking back at Michael Hild’s latest attempt to overturn his federal fraud conviction, arguing the embattled local businessman does not deserve a do-over on charges related to the downfall of his former company Live Well Financial.

The response from the U.S. Attorney’s Office follows a filing from Hild last month, in which he called for a new trial based on what he claims is newly discovered evidence in his case.

The former Live Well CEO and Southside real estate developer was found guilty by a jury in 2021 for his role in a reverse mortgage bond pricing scheme that defrauded multiple lenders and helped topple the Chesterfield-based lender. He was sentenced by a federal judge in January to 44 months in prison, a sentence that remains pending while he appeals the verdict.

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