A 12-screen movie theater with an adjacent 8,000-square-foot restaurant and another 5,000-square-foot restaurant across the street could soon be developed a stone's throw from The Diamond, according to plans proposed by a group of Maryland-based commercial consultants and retail brokers.
According to site plans, the project would be called Boulevard Square and would be located at the intersection of North Boulevard and Leigh Street.
The corrugated building at 1301 N. Boulevard that is slated for the stadium-seated cinema preliminarily called Movie Land is home to Richmond Steel Inc., which has been in business in since 1944. Ironically, the shape of building's exterior resembles a movie theater. The property is assessed at $889,900, city records show.
"We do have a contract on the property, but we don't know what the intended use is," says Fred T. Mayers Jr., vice president of Richmond Steel Inc. Mayers declines to name the purchasers until attorneys OK the deal, but says that they aren't from Richmond and "have been doing a lot of buildings and apartments" elsewhere. Mayers says he's familiar with the plans for a cinema on the property, but has few details.
The plans for Boulevard Square come from a company called Streetsense in Bethesda, Md., which specializes in creating master plans for developers. Jeff Pollak, a real-estate broker with Streetsense, is the leasing agent for the project, the site plans show. When reached by phone, Pollak declined to give Style further details of the proposal.
Streetsense's projects include the Village at Valley Forge, a mixed-use town center that neighbors Pennsylvania's King of Prussia Mall, the largest retail center on the East Coast. Another Streetsense project under way is One Loudoun located in Dulles. That development includes a 16-screen movie theater, 3.5 million square feet of office and retail space, a 400-room hotel and a residential community. The consultants have worked with local developers Forest City.
City Councilman William J. "Bill" Pantele, who represents the Boulevard area, did not return Style's calls for comment by press time. But in recent weeks, as plans for a new stadium at Fulton Gas Works for the Richmond Braves have stalled, Pantele has revived a push to develop the area around Boulevard.
Mayor L. Douglas Wilder has also said several retail developers have expressed an interest in developing on city-owned land near The Diamond. S