Downtown Norfolk’s formidable food stuff hall undertaking has operate aground. Its room is now for lease.

Catrina P. Smith

Granby Station has been a gradual disappearing act.


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Almost two several years ago, direct partners Robert and Alvin Barnuevo announced formidable plans to elevate the profile of foodstuff in downtown Norfolk: a 10,000-square-foot, 13-seller foodstuff corridor with communal seating, a cocktail bar, a bakery, and a world wide selection of bites that ranged from modern-day Filipino to Mexican street food stuff.

Development commenced quickly. The Granby Station foodstuff hall was projected to open up in summer season 2019, in a distinguished town-owned house at 103 and 111 Granby St. in just a stone’s throw of The Principal resort.

Partners mounted a festive mural proclaiming “Norfolk’s 1st food stuff hall”, and a Adore sculpture that was immediately festooned with inscribed locks proclaiming bonds that would last for good.

A roster of attention-grabbing chefs signed on to serve their foods: Charu Patel of adventurous Indian chaat residence Tamarind. Creole chef Tasha Roberts. A number of chefs, from numerous incarnations of Maymar Filipino restaurants. Cuban-foods chef Brenda Cardoso, who has due to the fact opened brick-and-mortar restaurant Cohiba in Chesapeake.

But two yrs later, immediately after stalled development and a worldwide pandemic, there is no food items corridor on Granby Road.

And as of late January, the area is accessible for lease.

The Granby Station associates are still signed to a lease with the town. When contacted for remark, Robert Barnuevo referred the newspaper to broker Chris Zarpas of S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co., whom companions enlisted to sublease the 50 %-finished space to a new tenant. With renewal selections, the lease could increase to 14 many years.

Zarpas claimed the Granby Station partners had resolved to concentrate on other priorities.

Alvin Barnuevo runs many cafe projects in the D.C. spot. And in July 2020, some of the similar associates from Granby Station opened another huge job in Virginia Seashore, a 27,000-sq.-foot roller rink and pleasurable center known as Sk8 House that The Pilot described as “an indoor day-carnival, with beer for mothers and fathers.”

In May possibly 2020, Robert Barnuevo informed the newspaper that development experienced been halted on Granby Station due to the fact late 2019, a victim to both equally construction delays and unanticipated renovations required to the space.

The food items corridor was however moving forward, he claimed at the time, as soon as they observed new setting up contractors.

But the associates had a urgent trouble to solve: How do they open a busy, multi-seller meals corridor with communal seating all through a coronavirus pandemic that can make limited-quartered gathering areas appear to be like a danger?

“Because of this pandemic, we’re owning to rethink a good deal of matters,” Barnuevo reported in May well. “In the starting, the strategy was bringing men and women alongside one another as a result of the energy of foods. It’s centered on foods and individuals sitting in shut quarters. Now we’d have to sort of picture and reconfigure how we can have that, to the place we’re not putting individuals in harm’s way when it comes to them sitting and interacting.”

Now, it seems, the foodstuff hall will not be relocating ahead.

Zarpas, their true estate broker, is optimistic about bringing yet another ambitious project to the house, which presently has 6 of its kitchen hood methods put in.

Despite the struggles of firms for the duration of the pandemic, he mentioned, actual estate momentum has not slowed in high-density areas. Couple downtown Norfolk spaces have remained fallow for extended, even as some eating places have shut all through the pandemic.

“One interesting thing about the affect of COVID-19 on local retail is this,” he said. “For every single restaurant that shut in Hampton Roadways, there have been two to 3 potential tenants waiting to get the space. I should have received a fifty percent-dozen electronic mail blasts from brokers declaring ‘second technology restaurant space desired.’”

Zarpas rattled off the options: A drug store with a generate-via in the alleyway. A compact urban grocery store with multiple food stuff vendors. An urban WAWA. A ghost kitchen commissary with numerous cafe ideas. A brewery or cidery.

“Most chefs I’ve encountered are artists. They’ve often acquired at least two suggestions in their back again pocket, waiting for an chance,” he mentioned. “I imagine this is an amazing possibility for any individual to consider at least some of the place.”

Matthew Korfhage, 757-446-2318, [email protected]

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