Businesses moving into empty West End buildings

By Heather Sullivan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - New businesses are starting to chase the ghosts and cobwebs out of some buildings left vacant in Short Pump and the West End during the recession. The former homes of Circuit City, S&K, plus other buildings are seeing new life.

Walking into the vacant Circuit City headquarters is like going back in a time machine. The red logos are still there. Silver chains still dangle over the walls.

Said Michael Pruitt with DRCC Properties, which just bought the building, "We just felt like, with the access, the building, and some renovations we could do, we could really bring it up to that class A standard, that headquarters that Circuit City had originally intended."

DRCC Properties, partly owned by the Pruitt family, which developed Short Pump Towne Center, is planning to add a new roof and re-landscape. They 'll make it energy efficient and fix up the inside to suit new tenants, which they hope to secure within six months. Said Pruitt, "We're talking to a bunch of different prospects right now. Some that are looking at taking the whole building, some that would want a floor."

Ghosts are also being kicked out of the former S&K Menswear headquarters. Thalhimer Commercial Real Estate is renovating part of the campus for its own new headquarters. Said Thalhimer Executive Vice President Lee Warfield, "Stratford University has occupied the old warehouse building, which we had retrofitted. And TD Ameritrade is going to occupy the old retail location."

Capital One has bought two buildings in Innsbrook where it plans to open up a call center and operations center in the second half of next year.

The new Kroger grocery store across from Short Pump Towne Center will have new neighbors soon. Said Warfield, "There are several national retailers that are looking to sign leases there and I expect that space to fill up over the next year."

Warfield says the West End has more land to be developed and more vacant buildings to fill. "Really there are some great opportunities for new large tenants to come to Richmond. They have a great campus environment or large block of space to occupy."

Warfield says new investors have pumped money into West Broad Village and the adjacent shopping center over the last year and more growth may develop in those areas as well.

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