By Alex Trihias, The Progress-Index
HOPEWELL — A new restaurant was announced at the Hopewell city council meeting on Tuesday that will take over the building that was once known as the Navigator’s Den.
The Boathouse at City Point will be the fourth branch for owner Kevin Healy, located at 701 W. Randolph Road, with a $6 million renovation to the building. The new space is 6,000 square feet and will have an outdoor patio area overlooking the James and Appomattox rivers. Approximately 75 staff members will be hired from the Hopewell community.
Healy said that a mutual acquaintance of Assistant City Manager Charles Dane had reached out to him about the location.
“They said that Hopewell was looking for some restaurant to maybe open up in the old Navigator’s Den,” Healy said. “One conversation led to another, we came to the site and visited it and looked at the view and said ‘wow this is a special place.’”
Healy owns three additional Boathouse locations at Sunday Park, Rockett’s Landing and Short Pump in Richmond. He also owns Casa del Barco on the Canal Walk in Richmond and Dinner in the Field, which is a popular “table to farm” dining program.
Assistant City Manager Charles Dane said that trying to find the right fit for the Navigator’s Den location has been one of the top three priorities for the last 18 months.
“That’s an iconic restaurant that everybody in Hopewell remembers from their childhood and it was a very successful, fairly high-end restaurant for a long, long time,” Dane said. Unfortunately, it has been vacant for a dozen years or so. We worked hard and we were fortunate enough to make a connection with Mr. Healy and we worked for close to a year now on the project, at least eight months.”
Healy hopes that this location will bring more people to Hopewell and, in turn, bring more opportunities to Hopewell.
“The Beacon Theatre is pulling hundreds, if not thousands, of people per week,” Healy said. “The people that are paying $33 to $100 a ticket are looking for some sort of an entertainment night out and we think that we will complement those people very nicely.”
Brenda Pelham, Mayor of Hopewell, said that the city is excited to welcome a big name in the restaurant community to Hopewell.
“The Boathouse at City Point will add yet another exciting development to our local economy and will help us achieve our desire to focus on the waterfront as part of the resurgence of the Wonder City,” Pelham said. “We continue to have good things happen in Hopewell.”
“I am proud to be a current member of the Hopewell Economic Development Authority when so many great development opportunities are happening in Hopewell,” said EDA member Debbie Randolph. “We are proud to be an integral part of the city’s efforts in bringing The Boathouse City Point to Hopewell. It will be a wonderful addition to our beautiful waterfront and anticipate it will draw crowds from all over the tri-cities.”
The Boathouse at City Point is slated to open late summer or early fall of 2016.