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BizSense Beat: January 12, 2024

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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 January 12, 2024:

Mayo Island sold to city in $15M deal
Reported by Richmond Bizsense’s Jonathan Spiers

With a recently closed deal, Mayo Island, the highly traveled but hardly accessible landmass in the heart of Richmond, is now set to become part of the James River Park System.

Richmond officials confirmed Friday that the city had finalized its nearly $15 million purchase of the long-desired island between downtown and Manchester.

The previously privately-owned, 15-acre island that supports the Mayo Bridge hit the market two years ago and had been under contract for just over a year, initially by the Capital Region Land Conservancy before the city stepped in as the contract purchaser.

VPM spends $4M to buy site of future downtown headquarters
Reported by Richmond Bizsense’s Jack Jacobs

VPM has taken another step forward with its plans to relocate to downtown Richmond.

The public media nonprofit recently bought for $4.2 million a 0.7-acre parcel at 13-17 E. Broad St., where the organization intends to build its future headquarters.

The deal follows VPM’s June announcement, in which it unveiled plans to build a five-story, 53,700-square-foot building envisioned to serve as the home of VPM’s news operations as well as a venue for civic programs and events.

The facility is slated to rise on what’s now a parking lot next to the Waller & Co. jewelry store, and the parcel fronts both Broad Street and Grace Street. The seller was an LLC tied to Fred Shaia. The property’s assessed value is $2.2 million, according to online city records.

EAT Restaurant Partners owner says Scott’s Addition food hall is off the table
Reported by Richmond Bizsense’s Mike Platania

For the second time in recent years, an effort to bring a food hall concept to Scott’s Addition has fallen through.

EAT Restaurant Partners is no longer planning to open a food hall at 3017 W. Leigh St., company president Chris Tsui confirmed.

EAT, whose portfolio counts about a dozen restaurants in the region including Fat Dragon and Pizza & Beer of Richmond, bought the warehouse at the corner of Summit Avenue and Leigh Street for $3 million in 2022 and announced plans to convert it into a food hall with six stalls, many of which would be home to new concepts from EAT.

After renovations began, EAT’s plans hit a snag last year with a legal dispute with its contractor. The company then attempted to move forward with the project, but Tsui said this week it ultimately pulled the plug, though he did not elaborate as to why the decision was made.

Former Bryant’s Cider building in Shockoe becomes new home to simple syrup maker
Reported by Richmond Bizsense’s Mike Platania

It’s out with cider, in with simple syrups for a Shockoe Bottom storefront.

Crescent Simples is preparing to move its operations to 2114 E. Main St., a space left vacant by Bryant’s Hard Cider, which recently relocated to 3423 W. Cary St. in Carytown.

Crescent Simples is owned and run by married couple Megan and William Miller and offers non-alcoholic syrups for drink mixes. Since founding the business in 2019, the Millers have grown Crescent into a national operation with around 300 wholesale accounts across the country.

The Millers started Crescent Simples while working as bartenders in New Orleans, initially selling them directly to consumers. It wasn’t until after they moved back to Virginia that the wholesale side of the business started to take off.

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