In Richmond’s East End, an area east of downtown that includes historic neighborhoods such as Church Hill and Fairmount, more than two-thirds of residents live below the poverty threshold. To improve economic and financial sustainability, redevelopment efforts in the Church Hill neighborhood have been underway with an eye toward creating jobs and providing access to healthy food, affordable healthcare and quality education.
When the Church Hill North Retail Center opened in 2019, it brought a grocery store, pharmacy, bank, culinary school and retail space to the area that was previously designated a food desert. Not only did this investment support public health and food access initiatives, it also provided an opportunity for small businesses like Hope Pharmacy to serve the neighborhood. The $40 million project was supported by $26.5 million in NMTC financing, which was led by Capital One.
The Market at 25th
The Market at 25th, a community-driven grocery store, was identified as the single greatest need for the neighborhood to provide healthy food choices to residents in an area that faces chronic public health issues such as diabetes and obesity. Within the Market at 25th, Hope Pharmacy accommodates the needs and wants of the diverse patient population within Church Hill, while ensuring they receive quality, affordable medication and services.
J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College Culinary Arts Building
J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College is expanding its culinary arts program in a move that will create jobs, inspire careers, and help supplement Richmond’s booming restaurant scene. The building, designed by O’Neill McVoy Architects, provides kitchen courses, a greenhouse for lessons on the farm-to-table movement, and a demonstration kitchen. Long term, the building will include a market café to give students a real-life experience and offer the community a place for prepared meals. The building also includes space in the 3rd and 4th stories for an additional restaurant and 12 apartments.
About 300 students are in the culinary program now, and Reynolds believes it can expand to 750 with this new building. With food as the common denominator, the Culinary Institute at Reynolds and the East End Grocer at the neighboring mixed-use center will help complement one another.