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West End

Westhampton Theater project approved by city council

The plans were approved by city officials Monday evening.

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Back in January the last curtain call for Westhampton Theater was announced. Concerns were raised and alternative plans proposed. On Monday the City Council approved plans on the project. During the meeting 11 spoke against the project and 8 in favor.

Richmond BizSense has the summation of the changes and in the full article quotes from those opposed.

The plans approved Monday are a scaled-back version of what Guillot and Cametas initially proposed after buying the theater building in 2014. They tweaked the design from four stories to three; dropped the height from 60 feet to below 40 feet; decreased the total size from 85,000 square feet to 49,800 square feet; and switched from nine condos to 12 apartments. Restaurant chains Taste Unlimited and Tazza Kitchen will be tenants, as well as Mango Salon and Long & Foster.

Image: RichmondBizSense.com

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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West End

Elephant Insurance donating $61,500 to organizations serving underrepresented communities

The second round of Elephant employee-driven COVID-relief donations focused on nonprofits that positively impact diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and serve underrepresented parts of the community.

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Elephant Insurance announced late last week the second round of recipients for its Helping Herd initiative, where Elephant is donating $300,000 to organizations and programs that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic or who are providing COVID-19 relief to their community.

The second round of Elephant employee-driven COVID-relief donations focused on nonprofits that positively impact diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and serve underrepresented parts of the community. The first round of recipients were announced in August and focused on mental health, with $64,500 being distributed among a number of different organizations.

“The Elephant team is so proud to offer this opportunity to organizations focused on diversity, equity and inclusion that have been impacted by the pandemic,” said Alberto Schiavon, Elephant CEO. “Elephant is grateful we can provide extra support to these organizations with the help of our parent company Admiral Group.”

Elephant team members were involved in the Helping Herd selection process, either by nominating deserving groups by survey or participating in the voting process to finalize the recipients. There will be four rounds of donations, with each round focusing on a specific area to include: mental health, diversity, equity, and inclusion, physical health, or community health. The physical health and community health funds will be distributed in the coming months.

For the second round of Helping Herd, the Better Housing Coalition and Boys and Girls Club received the most votes and received the largest donation amounts. The full list of second-round recipients and donations includes:

“COVID challenged every aspect of our programming, but also gave us an opportunity to engage with our members and families more deeply than ever,” said Todd McFarlane, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond. “Funds that support our general operating expenses give us the flexibility to assist our families in unique and individualized ways. We are so grateful to be included in Elephant’s Helping Herd generosity.”

“We are grateful to have been selected as a recipient of a Helping Herd grant! These funds will be so impactful in providing joy to children across Richmond on their birthdays–we are fierce believers in the power of celebration,” said Julia Warren Mattingly, found and Executive Director of Celebrate RVA. “It’s an honor to work alongside Elephant to accomplish that mission.”

Through the Helping Herd, Elephant’s aim is to reach at least 50 organizations or programs with the funds, with gifts ranging in size from $2,000 to $20,000. A large portion of the funds are anticipated to be distributed in Virginia, where Elephant is headquartered, but Helping Herd funds will also go to organizations in other states where Elephant services are offered, including Texas.

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Community

RVA RIMBY Festival

Right In My Back Yard wants to see everyone get outside and enjoy what our backyard has to offer.

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RVA RIMBY is a free festival highlighting unique things going on in Richmond and it includes food, drinks, games, prizes, a BBQ Competition and live music ALL day provided by East of Blueridge.
Proceeds provide outdoor adventure and environmental education opportunities to individuals with disabilities, at-risk youth, vets, and recovery programs as provided by Beyond Boundaries.
Check out the latest on sponsors, activities, and prizes on their Instagram.
It all goes down Saturday, October 9th, 11am to 5pm at Libbie Mill. 

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Business

Tazza Kitchen owners bringing new Mexican concept to Patterson and Libbie

Conejo (pronounced Koh-nay-ho) will feature a lunch and dinner menu of fresh drinks, a curated list of mezcals and tequilas, house-made masa, rotisserie meats, tacos, unique salads, and vegetarian options, and a variety of classic Mexican antojitos, the owners said in a press release.

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Big Kitchen Hospitality, the Richmond-based restaurant group which owns and operates Tazza Kitchen, has announced plans for a casual Mexican restaurant at the Westhampton Commons development at the corner of Patterson and Libbie Avenues.

Conejo (pronounced Koh-nay-ho) will feature a lunch and dinner menu of fresh drinks, a curated list of mezcals and tequilas, house-made masa, rotisserie meats, tacos, unique salads, and vegetarian options, and a variety of classic Mexican antojitos, the owners said in a press release.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Mexican Chef and cookbook author, Danny Mena, who has become an integral part of our menu and concept development,” said partner Susan Davenport. “He has a wealth of knowledge about Mexican cuisine and Mezcal – both from his upbringing in Mexico City and his work on his cookbook, Made in Mexico. He has owned and operated several Mexican restaurants in New York but was ready for a change and has moved his family to Richmond to join us on the project. As a Virginia Tech graduate, Virginia is familiar ground. The pieces just fell into place.”

“In addition to being Spanish for rabbit, Conejo is one of the varieties of Mexican heirloom corn we plan to use for our masa. And according to the Aztec myth of the 400 Conejos, divine rabbits are the gods of agave spirits. So, the word Conejo represents elements of this restaurant that are important to us. I am very excited to be here in Richmond and be a part of this team,” said Mena.

The 4,474 square foot full-service restaurant will seat 120 inside and 50 on the partially covered patio. A separate entrance will provide easy access for take-out orders.

The targeted opening date is around year-end. Big Kitchen Hospitality Partners include John Davenport, Susan Davenport, and Jeff Grant. The company has engaged 510 Architects as the architect and Whiting-Turner as the general contractor.

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