HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – It's a sign that developers find Henrico's far West End a little more appetizing these days. Two popular national restaurants along with other businesses are making plans to move into West Broad Village, and The Corner at Short Pump.
It was designed to be the centerpiece of yet another retail destination. In July, a super-sized Kroger opened at The Corner at Short Pump. It was surrounded by excitement, but also a lot of dirt; land waiting to be developed.
Half a year later, that appears to be changing. A developer wants to put in a new Olive Garden restaurant, and Bassett furniture store on the property. The chains do exist elsewhere in the county, but far west enders like Kwon Wongvian of the Wellesley community say closer is better.
"People here, it's all about convenience, they'd rather just go somewhere where it's a few minutes away, versus 10," Wongvian said.
At the same time, there's a separate, unrelated, deal to bring the restaurant Bonefish Grill to West Broad Village by mid-Summer. A sign the economy is making a positive turn, says developer Chris Pine.
"We're seeing a clear shift in the momentum," said Pine, of Markel Eagle Advisors.
After so many months of slow growth, Pine says "The Village" also is seeing more interest.
"And as tenants open up that's really what's gonna create the excitement," Pine said.
While Bonefish is a done deal, the developer for Olive Garden and Bassett remains in serious talks with the county.
The result will be more competition for the business of so many families, like David Mara's.
"My family goes out to eat all the time, so it's good to have other options," said Mara, who also lives in Wellesley.
Bonefish Grill is expected to open by mid-Summer. Olive Garden and Bassett Furniture must first be reviewed by Henrico County, but current expectations are for each business to open in 2011. Other restaurants and retailers are also considering the area, but sources for this story said the names could not be discussed publicly.
Citizens who wish to comment on the plans can offer their opinion on new developments at the next meeting of the Henrico County Planning Commission, February 23, 9:00 a.m., at the main government complex on Parham Road.