August 06, 2015
By Tara Bozick
Look for more restaurants and stores opening at the Marketplace at Tech Center in Newport News in the coming months, starting with BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse on Aug. 17.
"Once BJ's Brewhouse opens in the middle of August, there will be a steady stream of retailers opening up over the next four weeks," said Jay Douglas, director of leasing for Georgia based S.J. Collins Enterprises, Tech Center's retail development partner.
Forty percent of the stores in the retail section of Tech Center at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Oyster Point Road will open by September, Douglas said.
Major anchor Whole Foods hasn't announced a target opening date yet, but is hiring its initial group of employees, spokeswoman Katie Malloy said. To apply for a Whole Foods job, go to wholefoodsmarket.com/careers.
The retail construction, aside from new tenant buildouts, will be finished by November, said Skip Smith, vice president of development for W.M. Jordan Co., the Tech Center developer. Work on the two-story office building behind Whole Foods, which will house Monarch Bank, is starting this week and should be finished by May next year, he said.
BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse
BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, known for its beer and deep-dish pizza, will be the company's fourth Virginia restaurant as part of the Southern California-based company's expansion in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, said Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Mayer of BJ's Restaurants Inc.
The company is investing about $4 million to launch the Brewhouse restaurant, which will employ about 170 workers, he said. The 7,500-square-foot Brewhouse can seat about 225 people with about 25 seats available for outdoor dining.
The casual family-friendly restaurant with TVs throughout has 140 menu items. People in the West specifically like its Pizookies, which are large oven-moist cookies topped with ice cream. While BJ's has a brewpub-feel, it doesn't brew beer onsite, Mayer said. The Brewhouse plans to have 40 beers on tap, including 12 of its own (two seasonal) and local craft beer.
BJ's executive brewer Alex Puchner handpicked Virginia craft beer for the restaurant, including Hampton-based St. George Brewing's English IPA, Williamsburg-York-based Alewerks Brewing's Chesapeake Pale Ale and Norfolk-based Smartmouth's Notch 9 Double IPA. The restaurant should also open in time for a limited-release wheat, elderflower and experimental hops beer called the Temple of Stone IPA brewed in partnership with Southern California-based Stone Brewing, which plans to open an East Coast brewery in Richmond.
BJ's also offers beer sampling in 5ounce "tasters" and concocts beer blends and beer cocktails, Mayer said.
Quarterly, the Brewhouse plans to host beer dinners.
The restaurant has an app that's popular with the lunch crowd that lets customers pay with their smartphones or order ahead, Mayer said.
The Tech Center Brewhouse will be the company's 166th restaurant. BJ's has put the word out about free local invite-only rehearsal dinners Aug. 1115 to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Mellow Mushroom has a sign on its building advertising that the pizza restaurant is hiring. Job interviews begin at the end of August for a fall opening, according to its Newport News Facebook page.
Zoe's Kitchen shouldn't be far behind BJ's, Douglas said.
Starbucks opened in June along Jefferson Avenue.
Other yet-to-open retailers include: P.F. Chang's, Cafe Rio, Jimmy John's, Conte's Bike Shop, Mattress Firm, Ulta, Stein Mart, Point 2, Navy Federal Credit Union, Five Below, DSW, Carter's, OshKosh B'gosh and Massage Envy.
Bozick can be reached at 7572474741. Sign up for a free weekday business news email at TidewaterBiz.com.
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