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RVA entertainment venue park in a work near The Diamond

Managing partner Orkun Turkey in front of the under-construction entrance to The Park at RVA, an entertainment venue under construction near The Diamond. (((Photo of Jonathan Spires).

Richmond has a food hall. There is a sports bar and a beer garden. There are miniature golf, duck pin bowling and indoor simulator golf.

But not all of them are under one roof.

Bassim Mansour

A group of investors led by Basim Mansour, president of HVAC company Michael & Son, is trying to change that at The Parkat RVA, a multi-entertainment venue that fills 55,000 square feet of space in the Michael & Son complex at 1407 Cummings Drive. ..

The venue, sold as an “indoor wonderland,” includes an 18-lane duck pin bowling alley, an 18-hole mini golf course, 3 bars, a food hall with 6 restaurant concepts, and a beer garden style with 30 self-services. Area is included. Bowling tap, 3 golf simulator rooms, banquet hall for 200 people, live music, comedy act, auditorium for corporate functions.

Construction of the venue will begin in December and the group is aiming to open this fall. In addition to interior equipment, a two-story extension that forms the entrance to the park is formed on the south side of the complex, hugging the interstate highway between Feedmore and the Diversity Lift, east of Diamond.

Over the course of over a year, it was conceived as a rooftop beer garden with a dog run and event space. But when the space on the second floor, formerly the Cocentrics call center, darkened during the pandemic, Mansour said he had the opportunity to solve the problem.

“I lost 45,000 square feet of office users, and obviously COVID is changing the world now in the aftermath of it. I can’t figure out getting another 45,000 square feet of office users in my space. So now I’m left behind in this situation a year after trying to lease it: what can I do here? “Mansour said.

“I happened to be with a friend in Miami, drinking and smoking a hookah on the balcony, and I was thinking of doing a food hall,” he said. “Like any other great idea, it all starts with drinking. This was no exception.”

The rooftop was demolished due to timing and cost, but Mansour, 52, said the park would be different from any other park in Richmond.

Rendering of a 60-foot long main bar with a duck pin bowling lane behind. (((Rendering provided by RVA’s The Park).

“By the time we got here, there were 1000 productions,” he said. “I love great food, but I also love customer service. This is my world. It’s about customer service, customer experience, great food, and entertainment.”

The guideline for the effort is Orcun Turkay, the managing partner of the group in which Mansour participated as Vice President of Operations. Turkay has 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry and previously served as restaurant director for Shaner Hotels, a hospitality group with dozens of Marriott and Hilton branded hotels.

Ten years ago, Mansour, connected through a mutual friend who was one of the other partners in the group, brought Turkey from Florida, especially to lead the park.

“To be successful in this business, you need excellent customer service, and Orcun is the perfect person for this spot,” says Mansour. “We have formed a great team. It’s a team effort. The business is built on the head and shoulders of Orkun and his experience.”

Turkey-born Turkay, 38, said he and Mansour toured entertainment venues and food halls across the country, but couldn’t find anything like The Park.

“There is nothing better in this country than this. There is definitely no such thing in Richmond,” said Turkey. “This is a very unique project and we are very excited to put it into action and make it open.”

The park, which fills the space on the top floor above the local high school Code RVA, is in the center of the 60-foot-long main bar, where Turkey said it could be the largest in the state.

According to Turkey, the 60-foot-long main bar is considered to be the largest in the state.

“I don’t know the facts, but it’s rumored to be the largest bar in Virginia,” he said.

Huge flat-screen TVs will be mounted on the walls at both ends of the bar, and additional TVs will feature a variety of sporting events, including Turkey’s highlighted FIFA World Cup this fall.

Alongside the main bar, 18 duck pin bowling lanes line the wall opposite the entrance. After lifting one of the two 20-seater elevators from the parking lot, patrons are greeted with two park-style swings. There is a staircase on the other side of the entrance.

The swing is the centerpiece of The Park’s branding, featuring logos and other designs created by local marketing agency Release the Hounds. The agency also assists in naming food hall restaurant concepts, including names such as “Bowl Mama” and “Chick Flick.”

Rendering of some food hall stations.

All restaurant concepts are managed in-house and include the smash burger and pizza station, the aforementioned food bowl and southern fried chicken station, taco spots, sushi, bao bread and Asian culinary concepts. Vine me sandwich. The six concepts conclude with a sweets station with ice cream and coffee, desserts, heavy drinker shakes, and brunch items.

The concept is led by Executive Chef Robert Autry, who works for Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck, most recently at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

“He has a great experience,” Turkey said of Autory. “He spent almost 20 years in Las Vegas and opened many casinos there.”

Eighteen duck pin bowling lanes fill this space next to the main bar.

The beer garden area has 30 self-pore taps and some local and regional craft beers. The bar area also has a DJ booth and a karaoke party room for rent. According to Turkey, more than 500 people will be seated throughout the venue.

At both ends of the floor are an 18-hole mini golf course, which Turkey said is designed and manufactured in the UK, and three simulation golf rooms, one of which can be closed and rented out for private parties. I can do it.

In addition, the banquet hall that can accommodate up to 200 people and the auditorium that doubles as a comedy club and a small concert hall have more than 200 seats and can be used for corporate meetings.

The auditorium accommodates more than 200 people and is used as a comedy club and concert hall.

“It’s all about the park,” Turkey said of the venue’s overall theme. “After all, we’re creating an indoor wonderland. It’s going to be a predominantly adult-led concept, but we see many families hosting over the weekend. We’re thinking of opening early on the weekends so that families and kids can play putt putt and duck pin bowling. Fathers can enjoy virtual golf. “

Operated as The Park RVA LLC, the group acts as the project’s own general contractor, with Turkey estimated at approximately $ 7 million. He said the group is funding the project itself and Mansour is a key supporter. Mansour also retains ownership of the space.

Based in Los Angeles, the Ellis Adams Group helps design interiors and build food and beverage programs. Mr. Turkey said he had previously worked for the company, including when he was the general manager of Vaso, a rooftop bar in Ohio.

Add murals to the exterior walls of the building and the silo structure next to the entrance.

Other companies involved in the park include Cleveland’s Global Custom Furniture. London-based Smith & Devil designed a mini golf course. Hamid Moumni of Buildix Inc., based in Falls Church, is a project architect.

Turkay said he was discussing coffee and ice cream offerings with Richmond-based vendors, and Release the Hounds was supporting the planned lineup of local artists for indoor and outdoor murals. I did. Richmond artist Ed Trusk participated in the mural paintings on the exterior walls of the building and the silo structure next to the entrance to the venue, he said.

Mr. Turkey said the park wouldn’t contain a sign the size of a Michael & Sun sign, but said the building would have additional external lighting. The group is quietly teasing the park with an ad adjoining digital signage. The website has been staged and your social media account is active.

According to Turkey, the park will employ about 100 people. The goal is to be open 24/7 by extending business hours on weekends from 4pm to midnight on weekdays. He said Saturday and Sunday may have early brunch hours.

Some floors of the tower dormitory building have been converted into short-term rental apartments.

As a supplement to The Park, Mansour recently stayed on several floors of The Tower, a six-story former Wyeth building that is part of the Michael & Son complex, for 3, 6, and 9 months. The second floor of the building remains a dormitory for students enrolled in the company’s vocational school.

With visibility from the interstate and just a stone’s throw from the planned redevelopment of the Diamond District and the planned athletic village of the VCU, Mansour says the park is located for success. rice field.

“I’m very excited about Richmond. Richmond knows that things have always taken a long time to happen, but what’s happening at Richmond is very exciting and part of it. I am very proud and lucky, “said Mansour.

Of the Palestinian descendants, Mansour undertook and built a business initiated by his late father. Headquartered in Alexandria, Michael & Son employs approximately 1,000 people company-wide and more than 100 in Richmond. Cummings Drive locations include corporate offices, call centers, and warehousing operations.

“I am very grateful that Richmond has accepted me and my company, and I pray to God that they will accept Park as well,” he said. “I think it will be a great product. Orcun is a great person and he will provide great service and make people happy.”

Mr. Turkey added: “What we want to achieve here is one of the best eating and drinking experiences the city offers. When this is the right place, we want it to be done properly.”

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