RICHMOND — The Diamond District is still in its early stages, but The Park at RVA, a multi-entertainment venue with bowling, mini-golf, and a six-restaurant food hall opened this week, bringing new life to the neighborhood.
The $8 million project features a 55,000- square-foot entertainment space near The Diamond, Richmond’s baseball stadium.
Organizers behind The Park at RVA said its concept is to transport people into a new place when they walk through its doors.
A group of investors behind the project is led by Michael & Son owner Basim Mansour. Managing partner Orcun Turkay brings over two decades of hospitality experience having previously managed a worldwide network of 55 hotels.
“We wanted to design a space that was relevant, engaging and above all, fun. What we’ve created is an indoor wonderland that caters to guests from all walks of life and brings people together with a sense of community and a level of customer service that makes our guests feel like family,” Turkay said.
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As soon as guests walk through the entryway they’re greeted by a 60 foot-long bar, billed as the largest in Virginia. At the back of the main bar area are 18 lanes of duckpin bowling — a version of bowling with smaller lanes and pins. Both sides of the main bar open into two large dining areas lined with activities.
An indoor beer garden features another full-service bar alongside a 30-tap self-pour beer station. The drinks program is aiming to have elegant options with garnishes like edible flowers.
The Park at RVA’s six food concepts are split with three at each end of the venue. Developers are working with contemporary food vendors for modern concepts in street tacos, Southern chicken sandwiches, Asian-inspired cuisines, burgers and wood-fired pizza from a 6,000 pound state-of-the-art pizza oven. A dessert station will also have boozy shakes and onsite pastries.
“Food, drinks and service are really important,” said Turkay.
“We might not be reinventing the wheel but what we’re serving is going to be best in category. We went through the entire country hitting spots from New York, to LA and Vegas to make sure we were doing things right.”
More than just its food concepts, the Park at RVA is organized around fun with activities that cater to both families and the 21-and-up crowd.
In addition to duckpin bowling in the center of the venue, it also has 18 holes of whimsical Wonderball miniature golf, three virtual golf bays, a karaoke room and a massive television display in the beer garden for experiences such as major sporting events. It also has a comedy club on site that will start booking acts around mid-summer.
“Comedy clubs are becoming more popular. This is slightly different. People can come and have fun, play games and eat, then head to the theater,” Turkay said.
The Park at RVA is part of a larger 273,000 square-foot facility owned by lead investor Mansour. It has other tenants like a Michael & Son office space, Code RVA magnet school, Richmond Community ToolBank and Next Round Golf.
The project itself has been in motion for over a year. Turkay said the project was partially motivated by development momentum in the neighborhood, now known as the $2.4 billion Diamond District project, which is rebuilding the area with affordable houses, a new baseball stadium and other amenities. The Park at RVA is just outside of The Diamond area near Brook Road.
“We’re very close to the Diamond District, there are a lot of things happening in the neighborhood, there are very few venues now but there are going to be a lot more in the future,” Turkay said.
Investors said the target market for The Park at RVA includes residents in the immediate area. They’re also expecting to pick up some regional “drive-markets” because of its proximity to Interstate 95 and such places as Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens.
Artwork inside The Park at RVA includes an array of murals from local and national artists. A majority of the venue is covered in a mural by Richmond muralist and artist Ed Trask. Other colorful designs cover its interior walls from artists Jared Fykes, Skela, Wing Chow and Mickael Broth.
The Park at RVA will be open from Wednesday to Sunday initially and eventually seven days per week. Hours are 4 p.m. to midnight on weekdays and until 2 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The venue will switch to 21 and over after 7 p.m.