Written by | Rick Jarvis
Beatles or Stones?
Yankees or Red Sox?
Mac or PC?
Scott’s Addition or Manchester?
For years, most of the development community fell into one camp of the other. Much like the examples above, those who were rebuilding Richmond tended to focus on one area at the expense of the other one. For whatever reason, those who played in both neighborhoods on any scale were for the most part, nil.
Why? Good question.
Perhaps it was necessary to concentrate one’s efforts. Perhaps it made sense to create critical mass. Perhaps absolute devotion increased the likelihood of success. Or perhaps the development community really did prefer one to the other. Regardless, it seemed the folks who rebuilt Manchester had little interest in Scott’s and vice versa.
So what are the differences?
Manchester enthusiasts tout their neighborhood’s proximity to the River, to Shockoe and the CBD along with its spectacular views of Downtown. They also feel, as an older neighborhood, that Manchester had a somehow prettier stock of historic structures to renovate. And Manchester, despite lacking services, still has condos selling above $700,000 and penthouse rentals well over $3,000 per month. Who would have ever guessed?
Manchester’s detractors felt that the whole ‘South of the River’ thing (can we please put this objection to bed, finally?) meant it would never reach its full glory. Additionally, the neighborhood’s true industrial grit would never wash off and would prevent Manchester from taking its rightful place in the pantheon of Richmond revitalization lore.
Scott’s Addition, said the Manchester folks, is flat and ugly. Where is the height? Where is your River? And what is that weird Art Deco vibe? And all of the the one way streets … come on!
The advocates for Scott’s Addition admit that they may not have as much inherent charisma as Manchester, but Scott’s is 20 minutes closer to Innsbrook, a hop, skip and a jump to the Fan, directly across from the movie theater and (at least for now) a short walk to the ball park. It also is soon to be close to a Whole Foods. Oh, and it has about 9 breweries (ok, an exaggeration, well sorta) and easy access to a myriad of restaurants and other services that make life there easier.
I love both neighborhoods… they are different but great in their own way. I think Scott’s Addition has the benefit of being surrounded by more mature neighborhoods and an amazingly strategic location, but Manchester seems to connect to every other Richmond neighborhood via a collection of bridges, Interstate, Expressway or major roadway … oh, and it has a little ol’ 17 acre project called South Plant right smack dab in the middle of it that changes EVERYTHING.
At the end of the day, we should speak of Scott’s and Manchester as complimentary, not competitive … there is plenty of room for both.