Principals of a Virginia-based oyster-harvesting and restaurant company and of a large regional hotel business are teaming up to open a new brewery, restaurant and kitchen commissary in Middlesex County.
Cook’s Corner Partners LLC will invest $2 million to open the new commissary kitchen in the former Rappahannock Central Elementary School cafeteria. The project will include a new brewery and restaurant in a relocated and renovated historic African-American schoolhouse, formerly known as St. Clare Walker High School.
Plans call for constructing 24 units of affordable housing by 2020 to help attract and retain skilled workers.
The project is a joint venture by Travis Croxton, co-owner of Rappahannock Oyster Co., the oyster-harvesting and restaurant operator based in Topping that runs Rappahannock restaurant on East Grace Street in downtown Richmond; and Jay Shah, vice president of Chester-based Shamin Hotels, the Richmond region’s largest hotel operator.
State and local government agencies are putting millions into the project, including $2.25 million in Vibrant Community Initiative funding, a program that draws money from multiple sources to support affordable housing or economic development projects.
Gov. Ralph Northam also approved a $100,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, or AFID, which supports projects that utilize Virginia agricultural products. That grant will be matched by funds from Middlesex County.
Northam’s office announced Monday that the brewery and commissary kitchen expect to buy more than half of its agricultural products such as seafood, meat, produce and hops — about $600,000 worth of products over three years — from Virginia.
The business will employ about 20 people, Northam’s office said.
The state also is providing $480,000 in Industrial Revitalization Fund awards administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, and $215,000 through a Community Impact Grant from the Virginia Housing Development Authority. VHDA will also provide permanent loan financing for the affordable housing units, which totals approximately $2.2 million.