Oct 13, 2023 - News

A renaissance seems to be happening in Petersburg

Old Towne Petersburg. Photo: Karri Peifer/Axios

Petersburg is having a moment. For maybe the second time in 20 years.

What's happening: The city 20 miles south of Richmond spent much of the last 100 years in RVA's shadow, but an influx of young creatives, a partnership with the state and extremely affordable real estate seem to be breathing new life into the city that nearly went bankrupt eight years ago.

Why it matters: There's a vibe and energy that seems to suddenly be coming out of Petersburg. And Richmond should be paying attention.

Everywhere you look in Petersburg there are signs of life and something interesting to do.

A mural in Old Towne. Photo: Karri Peifer/Axios

A flurry of restaurants, independent shops and art galleries opened in the past two years, mostly concentrated in Old Towne, a neighborhood reminiscent of Shockoe Bottom, sans cars zipping through.

The new restaurants include Beaunuts, a pandemic-born biscuit-doughnut concept that was popping up around Richmond proper — until a Petersburg developer offered them a storefront in Old Towne.

Other ventures have joined the restaurants: an indie bookstore, new bakeries, an outdoor concert series and event spaces like Haus on Market — an art gallery and recording studio that regularly hosts creative events.

  • Meanwhile, developers are pumping millions into new apartments and retail spaces.
  • A boutique hotel, artist studios, a grocery store and a wine shop are also in the works; next month, 106 Ktchn & Mrkt, a food hall from a Richmond restaurant owner and the Haus folks, is slated to open.
  • And there's even more to come, like Euterra, the brick-and-mortar home for the elevated, fine dining pop-up series that launched in Richmond in 2019 and should open in Petersburg in January.
Photo: Karri Peifer/Axios

Real estate lured the Euterra owners to Petersburg two years ago, co-owner Lori Ann Bullock tells Axios.

The couple was working in Richmond, her chef-husband Corey as executive sous chef at Longoven, while looking for a Richmond space to open their own restaurant — and finding themselves priced out.

So they expanded their search and found in Petersburg not just cheap properties, but grant opportunities for small businesses, an arts scene and other like-minded creatives just looking for an affordable place to build their lives.

The couple ended up selling their suburban Richmond home and moving themselves — and their businesses — to Petersburg.

There they'd found an 8,000-square-foot building that gave them enough space for Euterra, a second more casual restaurant, artist studios, a workshop for Lori Ann's stained glass — and a whole second story for their own apartment, complete with a backyard for their dogs.

  • In Petersburg, Lori Ann says, they found a small-town community, fellow business owners that support each other, and a place where she and her husband (and in-laws, who left Chesterfield for Petersburg last summer) can grow.
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