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Apartments rising in former bakery … Juice gets a local fizz … Kabuto gets a new address … Glave gets a new name.

Street Talk

Apartments to Rise From Old BakeryLocal Business Puts Fizz in JuiceGlave Firm Begins TransitionAfter Fire, Steakhouse Rebuilds in Slip

Apartments to Rise From Old Bakery

Work begins this month on a $9.5 million development that could help pipe some life into a stagnant section of Church Hill's historic district.

By the end of June, local developer Jim Hart hopes to start gutting an old bread factory on East Broad between North 25th and North 26th streets, preparing it to become a 93-unit apartment complex with first-floor retail stores.

"It'll be a fantastic benefit for Church Hill because it will bring people in to live there," says Hart, who is developing the property with a partner in California.

Hart bought the 110,000-square-foot building near St. John's Church for about $1 million in the summer of 1999. He's been working to draw architectural plans, get permits from the city and receive approval for historic tax credits.

"We're taking the existing building and using what's there," he says. "And the outside will be renovated to look like it was originally built."

The property originally housed the Nolde Brothers Bakery. In the '80s, Goodwill used part of it as a store and training center.

The oldest part of the Italian Renaissance-style, red-brick building, was built between 1911 and 1916. A later addition, seen from the corner of 26th and East Broad streets, features yellow brick and an art deco-style cast-stone entry.

In all, there were five add-ons to the original building, which accommodated Nolde's expanding business. It's that mix of buildings — all attached — that will give the apartment complex its unique feature, Hart says: five courtyards that are all connected and open to the sky. All apartments will open into a courtyard.

The complex, which will be called Cornish Nolde Brace (the Brace, meaning "Safe Haven," comes from a favorite Neil Diamond lyric) includes 47 one-bedrooms and 46 two-bedrooms. Most apartments are loft-style and will rent from about $500 to $1,200. They're scheduled for occupancy in February.

Tom Rosman, who brokered the sale of the old bakery for Spotts & Carneal in Richmond, says Hart's project will give the area an economic boost and finally fill a building that has been underused for about 15 years. "I think it's the real centerpiece of Church Hill," Rosman says.

Jason Roop

Local Business Puts Fizz in Juice

Hoping to tickle tongues throughout the country, two local entrepreneurs are introducing a line of fizzy fruit drinks to the Richmond market this week.

Bill Hargiss and Mike Gilbert plan to roll out The Switch, a beverage line they describe as the first to use a process that carbonates 100 percent juice.

"It makes it extremely refreshing," boasts Hargiss, 38, who spent most of his career in the beverage industry with Lipton, Guinness and Miller Brewing Co.

Plus, Hargiss says, the drink is good for you. "Everybody's looking for something that's healthy," he says. "There's no bells, no whistles, no mystery ingredients here."

Flavors for the 12-ounce drink, which will sell for about $1.29, include orange-tangerine, watermelon-strawberry and apricot-peach.

Gilbert, 44, a former executive in the canning division of Reynolds Metals Co., came up with the idea for The Switch. He figured out how to make the juice, and last year teamed up with Hargiss, who had recently helped turn around a Petersburg company.

They test-marketed their product last summer, raised money in the fall, and last week saw their first bottle pop off production lines in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Already, The Switch faces big odds, says John D. Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest. Although juice drinks are a $5.7 billion-a-year business in the United States, he says, Hargiss and Gilbert have giants to battle.

"The beverage graveyard is full of delicious products that could never get distribution or were simply not different enough or could not get the marketing to succeed," Sicher says. "It's a very competitive industry."

Hargiss says he knows that. But he says his process is unique. And he hopes that slow, steady marketing, starting with help from stores all over Richmond, will help spark sales.

Richmond-based Loveland Distributing Co., an investor in the business, has agreed to distribute the product. Other investors include Johnny Johnson, owner of the Community Pride chain; Jim and Scott Ukrop of Ukrop's Super Markets; and venture capitalist and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Warner.

Scott Ukrop, who has signed onto the board of directors for The Switch Beverage Co., has high hopes. "It'd be great to see sort of local guys make good, with a new type of beverage that would eventually get national distribution," he says.

Ukrop says the drink will make the shelves of Ukrop's this summer.


Glave Firm Begins Transition

One of the region's best-known names in architecture, James M. Glave, is easing out of his firm, handing day-to-day operations over to a fellow principal.

Why? "I'm 68," Glave responds. "Does that give you enough reason?"

Richmond-based The Glave Firm recently started operating as Glave & Holmes Associates, reflecting a transition in ownership to include H. Randolph Holmes, 44, who first became fascinated with the firm during his college years.

"I was impressed with it even then," says Holmes, who toured what was then Glave Newman Anderson as part of an undergraduate class at the University of Virginia.

Holmes, a South Hill native who was hired 11 years ago, takes charge of a firm founded in 1965 that has come to be known for adapting historic buildings for new uses.

Some of those projects are now landmarks: Union Theological Seminary, Theater Row on Broad and 8th streets, and the Ironfronts at 1011 E. Main St.

The firm's name is stamped on other well-known buildings, too. It designed the Virginia Historical Society's reading room and another addition currently under construction. It designed the shiny, Monticello-inspired Virginia Credit Union building in the Boulders. And it is currently working on an $18 million-$20 million project at Jamestown Festival Park that includes a new museum, theater and visitors' center, to be built for Jamestown's quadricentennial in 2007.

The firm's transition, Glave says, means little in the way of its future work. "We're not going to change the way we practice architecture," he says. But he has confidence in Holmes, he says, who can "sell it, design it and produce."

Holmes says he plans to keep the firm concentrated on three key markets: cultural institutions, higher-education projects, and renovations and adaptive reuse. Other than that, Holmes says, "We're going to continue to try to be the sort of quality design firm that we're known for."


After Fire, Steakhouse Rebuilds in Slip

Six months ago, 40 firefighters tried to put out the blaze that ravaged Kabuto Japanese House of Steaks in Fountain Square Shopping Center on West Broad Street.

With more than $1 million in damage, The 22-year-old restaurant was almost destroyed. Since the fire, loyal West End patrons have had to trek to the restaurant's South Side location in Midlothian.

Soon that will change.

The West End restaurant has been under construction and is expected to reopen in July, says owner Sam Yamaguchi.

Also, Yamaguchi has signed a lease to rent space for a third Kabuto location in Exchange Alley, the former site of This End Up's offices in Shockoe Slip. "When the West End [restaurant] burned our customers lost convenience. We thought we'd make it up to them by opening not one but two," Yamaguchi says.

Both restaurants will be open weekdays for lunch and daily for dinner. The Shockoe Slip location is expected to open by September. The 50,000-square-foot space will be converted into offices, 16 apartment units and the new Kabuto restaurant.

Attracting Kabuto's is a feather in the cap for city boosters. The restaurant is "moving from the suburbs to the heart of downtown," says John Woodward, economic development director with the city of Richmond. Woodward says businesses such as Kabuto increasingly are interested in locating in the urban historic areas like Shockoe Slip because city, state and federal tax incentives make the investment attractive.

And that's good news for the city. With the Canal Walk, the convention-center expansion and plans for an arts complex, the city has invested hundreds of millions of dollars downtown. Now it just needs people — an impressive number of people — to spend time and money there.


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