Posted by: Amy – May 12, 2016
By next month, the Mediterranean-style architecture known as the Historic Hofheimer Building that sits on West Broad Street across from Chanello's Pizza and Sheltering Arms will be up running as an event venue and rooftop happy hour spot.
Developers Carter and Annie Snipes of Snipes Properties purchased the 14,400 square foot building for $350,000 back in December 2014, using $1.6 million in historic tax credits to rehabilitate the building with four tenants including a Peter Chang's restaurant, concierge car service Uzurv, a loft for events and space for another potential restaurant.
"It’s one of the oldest buildings in Scott's Addition, it’s been dormant for nearly 20 years and I've in the process of restoring the building for the last year and a half,” said Carter Snipes during a tour of the space Wednesday. "There’s a really nice view of fireworks at The Diamond, sunsets in Scott’s Addition, and views of the skyline."
The big draw for the spot is its 3,600 square foot rooftop patio and bar which Snipes opened earlier this month to the public.
Every Thursday in May they will host a cocktail rooftop party series called "Sunsets at the Hof" until the building’s grand opening in June. The free parties will feature catering by Mosaic, a cash bar by Groovin' Gourmets, music, and art exhibits.
Snipes said the idea for "Sunsets at the Hof" was modeled after the Virginia Museum for Fine Arts' happy hour.
"Sort of the happy hour cocktail for three or four hours than go somewhere else," he said. "We figure people on Thursdays, they'll come here then go to one of the breweries and we think this will be a good synergy for the neighborhood."
Guests can see a panoramic view of the city including views of Interbake Foods, the Science Museum of Virginia and The Diamond.
Ceramic tile lines the rooftop patio along with a minaret tower similar to that of a Mosque sits at one corner of the rooftop.
A temporary bar will be brought in on the rooftop so caterers and wedding planners can host events up there.
"It’s very industrial, we wanted to have a minimalist look," Snipes said. "We're building all this custom made furniture out of cedar and it’s all mobile so you can configure your event however you want."
The rooftop can accommodate 220 people standing and 70 seated.
Peter Chang's restaurant will open in late May on the first floor. The world-renowned chef known for his Szechuan Chinese cuisine, signed a lease with Snipes Properties in December 2014.
"He was the first one to call me, he really wanted to be in this location," Snipes said.
Chang operates restaurants elsewhere around Virginia including Short Pump, Williamsburg, Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, and Arlington.
A second restaurant is slated to go in on the ground floor, but for the time being the space will serve as a pop up gallery. The second floor contains the loft, or the main event space for wedding receptions, corporate parties, art exhibitions and other events along with Uzurv’s office toward the back of the building. The event space can accommodate up to 428 people standing and 220 seated.
Erected in 1928, the "exotic revival style" building located at 2818 W. Broad St. was home to Herold R. Hofheimer Fine Rug Company from then until around the 1950s according to Snipes.
"You could buy oriental rugs here, hence the whole Mediterranean, Middle Eastern architecture, but you also brought your rug here to be cleaned,” he said. “They built this structure on the roof to take the rugs and hang them on the roof…they would clean the rugs and dry them.”
The Hofheimer family sold the building to Adam’s Camera in 1980 which was operated by the Rudlin family until 2007.
Snipes said he knew the family who owned the camera shop from selling property for them in the Fan and when the father who ran Adam’s Camera passed away, the son approached the developer about selling the building for him.
“Over the last few years, I helped him rent the space to artists," he said.
Seeing the potential of the space, Snipes brought in the local community for opinions
in February and March of 2015, when it was decided the building would be converted into an event venue.
"We did a series of charrettes where we invited the community to come here and give us ideas we actually had different concepts on the walls," he said. “There's a lot of event and catering companies in Scott's Addition, the overwhelming feedback was don't do apartments…they kept telling us event space.”
Snipes said soon after those community meetings, people began calling to rent the space. So far, the Hofheimer Building has bookings from now until December most recently hosting RVA’s Fashion Week.
Rental rates for the spaces will range from $1,000 to $6,000 depending on the day of the event.
The Historic Hofheimer Building will open to the public sometime in June after an elevator upgrade and Peter Chang’s restaurant opens.
Snipes said depending on popularity and demand from the community, they could extend the happy hour cocktail parties beyond this month.
"If people like it, and people want to show their art work and play music and caterers want to sell beer and wine, we'll go all summer long."
Check out their Facebook page for their weekly "Sunsets at the Hof" cocktail parties in May.
Words by Amy David