Street improvements begin in Richmond's Scott's Addition as residents worry about neighborhood's future

Posted at 2:49 PM, Nov 27, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- If you look down the street in Richmond's Scott's Addition neighborhood, you'll see patched potholes and new pavement.

It's part of a $1.2 million street improvement plan for the entire Richmond neighborhood, set to be completed by the spring of 2024. The plan will include speed tables, bike lanes, and new and improved sidewalks.

"This is something that the city and the neighborhood has been asking for, for years," said City Council Member Katherin Jordan, who represents the 2nd District, which includes Scott's Addition.

"At the end of the day, we know that stronger neighborhoods lean on stronger infrastructure throughout the city," said Mayor Levar Stoney, surveying the newly paved Bellville Street near Brambly Park Monday.

While walking in Scott's Addition, if you look up, you'll see that the neighborhood is growing skyward.

Tall apartment complexes and condominiums going up corner after corner.

Over the last nine months, Scott's Addition resident Sam Wood says he's seen a lot of change.

"Lot of people coming in, and a lot of stuff kind of closing down," Wood said. "It feels like it's losing a bit of its local feel I guess, and I question who's going to live here in two or three years, that kind of makes Scott's what it is."

Earlier this month, The Circuit Arcade Bar closed its doors permanently. Richmond Biz Sense reported its owners sold it to Dodson Development Group for about $4 million. Isley Brewing Co., Scott's Addition's first brewery, also closed its doors permanently toward the end of October. In June, Tang and Biscuit, another Scott's Addition staple, shut its doors in June.

"I just think it's getting pretty expensive. I mean the rents in general around here are pretty high, so I can only imagine a place that has a big building with employees and stuff like that, to then pay the rent on top of it, it's just gotta be pretty intense to stay here," Wood said.

Mayor Stoney said Monday the growth coming with the new apartments and condos will have a positive impact on business in Scott's Addition.

"This administration has always been focused on growth. The more people we can get living in places like Scott's Addition, Manchester, and other growth nodes, we want that to happen," Stoney said. "But obviously, we want to do that in a smart manner. And we know that more residents means more business for our small business as well."

Jordan told CBS6 that members of the Greater Scott's Addition Association worked in collaboration with city leaders and planners to prepare for the growth in the area, not just in Scott's Addition, but in the neighboring Diamond District.

"We don't control the market, right?" Stoney said. "There are a lot of things going on in the market worldwide. Richmond is not exempt from that. From the economic challenge that this country that the state will face in the coming years. What we can do though is ensure that we can continue to grow."

During a press gaggle Monday morning, Stoney also mentioned the city's $50 million dollar investment in creating more affordable housing in the River City over the next five years, an investment matched by LISC to bring $100 million in total investment.

"We've seen population growth, we've seen economic growth, and cultural growth in the city," he said. "All of those things are good for business. So all I can do is ensure that we continue affect and impacting the conditions to allow for growth."

Apartment complexes and condominiums going up will utilize first-floor commercial space, Stoney said.

Still, Wood worries that smaller businesses in the Scott's Addition will struggle.

"I'm just curious to see what happens to this block specifically, I guess," Wood said, pointing to the block that housed Tang and Biscuit. "I think it'll be really important for the direction Scott's takes if it's actually all leveled for just another big apartment building. I think that would be kind of a scary thing to see."

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