Developer plans to raise the roof next to nightclub

A parking lot next to Shockoe Bottom’s most notorious nightclub, Have A Nice Day Cafe, is getting a $22 million makeover from a local developer. What might this mean for the nightclub, and just how much will the development alter the Shockoe landscape?

This story first appeared on, Richmond’s leading source for business news.

A parking lot next to Shockoe Bottom’s most notorious nightclub is getting a $22 million makeover.

Longtime local developer Louis Salomonsky is planning a 124-unit apartment development on a lot adjacent to Have a Nice Day Cafe.

Salomonsky told BizSense on Wednesday that the project, called Canal Lofts IV, would be slightly more up-market than his other three Canal Loft buildings, and that he is aiming for a more affluent tenant.

“We plan to raise the bar a bit in Shockoe Bottom,” Salomonsky said.

The development will feature one three-bedroom, 39 two-bedroom and 84 one-bedroom apartments and a three-story parking deck with about 320 parking spaces, according to permits filed with City Hall. Between the parking deck and the apartments, it will be an almost 200,000-square-foot structure.

Salomonsky gave a ballpark estimate of almost $22 million for the apartments. Historic Housing, which Salomonsky co-owns with David White, is close to a deal with a lender for the project, but Salomonsky wouldn’t comment on which bank would finance the project until it’s settled.

Salomonsky’s companies, SWA Construction and SWA Architects, will work the project. Bacon Housing is the property owner, and Main Street Realty will manage the property. All those companies are subsidiaries of Historic Housing.

Once the new project is complete, Historic Housing will operate almost 900 apartments in Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom, Salomonsky said.

Salomonsky said that the proximity to Have a Nice Day Cafe, which has been the source of some ill will among owners in the Bottom, wouldn’t drive away tenants. But he said the owners of the nightclub should keep their operation from causing problems in the neighborhood.

“They are going to need to run a good operation there if they want to stay in business,” Salomonsky said.

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