Shockoe Bottom continues next phase of revitalization project

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Community development leaders are in the next phase of their revitalization plan in Shockoe Bottom. They released a framework in the fall, but now they're really trying to reach out to businesses to see what their needs are.

Restaurants, shops, and living spaces are what makes most communities survive. It's tough, with a roller coaster economy, for any business to make it.

"I think it's a great concept and I hope it continues," said Jeb White, co-Owner of Station 2 Burgers in Shockoe Bottom.

The Station 2 just opened this summer. The City's Director of Economic Development, Lee Downey, says it's one of many businesses he has his eyes on. His goal is to speak with business owners like White and figure out their needs.

"It's kind of like a doctor's check up," said White. "Let's see how things are. Is there something we can do differently? If we hear something over and over, are there programs we can adjust to meet the needs of the business community?"

Downey also is watching These Four Walls, a Shockoe Slip business that recently announced it's closing due to a bad economy and not enough businesses. Downey believes the new revitalization framework should help attract more people, with changes like turning one way streets into two way streets, especially around 17th and 18th streets to help the restaurants that bring heavy traffic through there.

Revamping the train shed concourse at Main Street Station is also high on the list. Construction on the $29 million project is scheduled to begin this summer. A welcome center and spaces for shops are set to go inside too.

"To showcase it like they're doing with the train station is an unbelievable opportunity," White said. "I'm so glad to be close to so I can watch it first hand and see how it develops."

With that growth also comes more neighbors. Loft apartments and town homes are going up left and right along Main Street and the surrounding area. Leaders say it's just one more way to help the Bottom thrive.

You can see more details of the Shockoe Bottom Revitalization Plan here.