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The staff of Triple Stamp Press, a Richmond-based screen-printing shop, attend the event launching the Clopton Siteworks development at a former tobacco storage complex in the Jefferson Davis corridor. (Photo by Cole Smith)
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Clopton Siteworks consists of 26 former tobacco warehouses covering a total of 520,000 square feet. (Photo by Cole Smith)
Something big is coming to the South Side’s Jefferson Davis corridor — as in 520,000-square-feet big. On Tuesday, Fountainhead Properties held a launch event for a development initiative, Clopton Siteworks, that will create business space in 26 separate 20,000-square-foot warehouses on 25 acres between Maury, Clopton and Decatur streets.
The warehouses were previously used as a Philip Morris tobacco storage complex, but have since gone empty and unused over the past 40 years. With these spaces now being rented by small and medium-sized businesses, the initiative’s leaders hope the influx of jobs will boost the area’s economy.
“Everything was here physically,” says Fountainhead’s director, John Gregory, in addressing those who attended the launch. “It looked like it did 50 years ago. But there was one thing missing. The place was a ghost town.”
The $30 million development of the 26 warehouses is set to be finished in stages. The first of these, which created 80,000 square feet of space, was finished in June. Since then, all that room has been filled with self-storage units by CubeSmart, the first business to move into the development. Those planning to move in once the second stage is completed in January include Triple Stamp Press, a Richmond-based screen-printing shop, and Monster Fitness.
Reva Trammell, Richmond’s 8th District councilwoman, says she believes these projects are going to provide the jump-start her district needs.
“Jobs, jobs and more jobs,” Trammell says. “This is going to restart the Jeff Davis corridor. It’s something we’ve been talking about doing for four years.”
The warehouses are planned to contain climate-controlled areas for office space. This is something Fountainhead’s co-founder, Rick Gregory, says he hopes widens the range of potential occupants. His son, John, says he hopes the developments bring this space into modernity.
“Cleaning up this area will spur development,” he says. “There’s no point in preserving the past if no one is going to use it.”