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Richmond area’s $30 million in 2018 Occupancy Tax revenue sets record

As Richmond Region’s popularity as a tourist destination continues to grow, local jurisdictions are seeing a tangible financial impact.

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As Richmond Region’s popularity as a tourist destination continues to grow, local jurisdictions are seeing a tangible financial impact. For the first time, the collective occupancy tax for hotels in Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and Richmond climbed past the $30 million mark in 2018, a total that marks a near 50 percent increase in just six years and a year-over-year jump of 2.06 percent.

And according to local tourism officials, the rosy revenue trend line has contributed to S&P Global Ratings’ decision to raise its long-term rating on the Greater Richmond Convention Center Authority’s debt from “A+” to “AA-,” representing a jump of one rating category.

“These figures reflect the empirical evidence of what I think everyone knows by now, and that is Richmond – with its great restaurants and breweries, cultural and historic assets and parks and year-round sports tourism – has arrived as a top-flight tourism destination,” said Jack Berry, president and CEO of Richmond Region Tourism.  “Tourism strengthens quality of life and provides an economic stimulus not only to hotel and restaurants and the like, but as these statistics bear out, it also contributes significant revenue to local governments.”

The current occupancy tax rate in the region for hotels, motels, campgrounds and other entities is 8 percent.

Bond Rating Moves Up

In announcing the improved bond rating, S&P Global Ratings said that its conclusions were based on the “generally stable growth in the pledged revenues.” Additional criteria included the region’s “very strong economic base” featuring a “broad and diverse economy;” stable employment base; moderate levels of volatility; and strong coverage and liquidity.  The rating announcement also noted the region’s popularity for attracting events such as NASCAR and a variety of sports tourism competitions, and it cited the fact that Richmond has been named as a “top 10 choice destination” by Lonely Planet and Forbes magazine.

“The improved bond rating is a validation that we are moving in the right direction, and in practical terms, it means that the authority can borrow at more attractive interest rates,” said Michael Meyers, Spectra’s general manager at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.  “It makes the news twice as good – higher revenues, reduced costs in servicing our debt.  Suffice it to say, we are in a very healthy position.”

Convention Center Renovations

The convention center also announced that it is undertaking a comprehensive 24-month renovation at a cost of around $7 million. The work includes the installation of LED lamping in the exhibition hall and a digital signage program; marquees on 3rd and 5th streets; the renovation of the food court; and the replacement of aging furniture, among other projects. The renovations will be paid for out of existing funds earmarked for capital improvements.

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New York Deli crowdfunding project to add Carytown’s first rooftop bar, outdoor movie theater, and event venue

The plans would see the one-story restaurant add a deck and dining options to their roof as well as a stage for events and a large projection screen upon which to show movies.

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One of Richmond’s oldest restaurants has announced a new Kickstarter campaign they hope will help them become Carytown’s first rooftop bar and movie theater, and one of the few event spaces in the neighborhood. New York Deli, located at 2920 W. Cary Street, announced the campaign yesterday.

The plans would see the one-story restaurant add a deck and dining options to their roof as well as a stage for events and a large projection screen upon which to show movies.

The campaign has already raised $17,000 as of this writing; owners hope to raise $145,000 to cover construction costs in addition to a $25,000 downpayment made to a local construction company handling the project.

New York Deli is offering a range of incentives to supporters ranging from a date night dinner for two package all the way up to a catered event and full event venue rental that’s being pitched to brides and grooms to be who may have had to change their wedding plans during the pandemic.

If all goes to plan, the space should open in July. You can learn more about the project here.

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Mediterranean restaurant taking over former Urban Farmhouse spot in Scott’s Addition

The vacant space at 3031 Norfolk Street is being renovated for a planned July open date.

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From Richmond BizSense:

One of the more prominent restaurant spaces in Scott’s Addition left vacant due to the pandemic has been snapped up by a pair of local industry veterans.

John Reynolds and Steve DeRaffele are preparing to open Pinky’s, a full-service Mediterranean restaurant in the former Urban Farmhouse space at 3031 Norfolk St.

Pinky’s menu will take influences from the entire Mediterranean region, while the restaurant’s name is a nod to DeRaffele’s late mother whose nickname was Pinky.

“I learned how to cook from her and want to make the kind of stuff I learned to make at home,” DeRaffele said. “Now I can bring people into our space and cook for them like I would if they were at my house.”

Continue reading here.

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Arts & Entertainment

Weekly pop-up market coming to the Diamond every Saturday beginning April 10th

River City Festivals is partnering with The Richmond Flying Squirrels to present a new weekly Popup Market that will be held Saturdays at The Diamond in Richmond, beginning April 10th from 10 am-4 pm.

RVAHub Staff

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River City Festivals is partnering with The Richmond Flying Squirrels to present a new weekly Popup Market that will be held Saturdays at The Diamond in Richmond, beginning April 10th from 10 am-4 pm.

PopUp Market at The Diamond will feature dozens of rotating artisans, craft, and other local business vendors as well as food and dessert sales and beer and wine. Each week will showcase a new lineup of vendors including Woodworking, Art & Homemade, Activities & Games, Clothing, Jewelry & Accessories, Kitchen & Beverage, Beauty Supplies & Services, Pet & Pet Supplies, Kids Games & Activities, Desserts, Beer & Wine, Locally Grown Products, CBD, Non-Profit & Cause Based, and more, according to organizers.

The full lineup of participating vendors can be viewed at RiverCityFestivals.com. Local vendors and other businesses interested in participating can find more information and register at the same website.

PopUp Market at The Diamond will be held rain or shine in the “Blue Lot” directly next to The Diamond located at 3001 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd.

All COVID guidelines will be strictly adhered to according to the then-current requirements and guidelines.

The Richmond Flying Squirrels are the host organization for the PopUp Market, River City Festivals is the organizer and promoter, proceeds from the event will go towards Giving Local, helping to support small businesses.

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