Welcome to…

Carver Station

CARVER STATION is planned as a community hub, blending the best features of innovative local food and micro-retail with cowork and “third-place” gathering spots. Located in Richmond’s Carver Industrial Historic District, the project celebrates the old and the new, creative work and leisure, the recycled and the up-cycled.

Project features will include the restoration and adaptive reuse of the 1910 Virginia Railway and Power Company substation, a food hall of ‘Original-To-Richmond’ food concepts, a micro-retail center featuring local makers, and a cowork center for small and emerging businesses.





The Challenge

In 2019, the Carver Area Civic Improvement League approached Future Cities with the challenge of how best to preserve and re-purpose a decommissioned Dominion Energy substation located at the center of their community. The substation, built in 1910, was noteworthy as one of 13 structures that made up the Historic Carver Industrial District. It was also the only building not adapted to a residential use.

To Future Cities, finding new civic value from such an historic site was an intriguing challenge, both in creating new community uses, but also in its design potential as a representative of an industrial no-frills style. Its architecture was as much an efficient machine as it was a building.

Our Approach

Through conversations with local area businesses and residents, the project evolved from simply an adaptive reuse project to include elements that would be complementary in both program and design: a community gathering place, a food hall, micro retail and co-workspaces. These additional uses could be created from up-cycled maritime shipping containers, also a product of industrial efficiency.

The Result

Following two years of program analysis and case study research, interviews with area residents and members of Richmond’s food scene and the local maker community, a concept began to emerge.

The resulting development, Carver Station, is imagined as a bridge from a previous generation of city-builders and entrepreneurs, to a future one. It is designed as a melting pot where people with diverse interests and ideas can come together.

Preserving the Substation

The historic two-story substation at Harrison and Clay was built in 1910 by the Virginia Railway and Power Company as a power substation. It stored motor-generators and switching equipment that was used to power Richmond’s internationally recognized electric streetcar program.

The building, later known simply as the West Substation, featured an exterior designed to be compatible with the other industrial district buildings of the area and characterized by seven-course American-bond brickwork, wide door and window openings with rock-faced granite lintels and smooth granite sills.

The main room was subdivided into two spaces by a row of steel columns that supported a 12’ deep “switch gallery” mezzanine along a part of the east wall.

The 25’-wide, two-story area that held the motor-generator area accommodated a large “fish-belly” crane that rolled from north to south, designed to shift or replace the motor-generators. Three large iron ventilators were spaced above this room. The motor-generators were augmented by transformers and oil switches along the east wall on the first floor, and by a voltage regulator on the north end of the main room.

Fortunately, for those who admire the design of these historic industrial structures, the building, the crane assembly and supporting framework are all in excellent condition and waiting to find a new purpose with a new generation of Richmonders.

The Crane Room

Vibrant, sustainable communities have a center – a town square, a gathering place for meeting friends and sharing news.

The Crane Room creates an authentic core for the Carver community, grounded on 110 years of history, and appropriately scaled and in balance with neighboring residential uses. The convertible space will allow for gatherings of up to 250 people, space for daytime coworking, and a venue for wine & spirits educational seminars.

Historic Industrial Interior

Cowork Lounge by Day

Small Plate / Wine & Spirit Lounge by Night

The Food Hall

The success of any food hall is dependent on a celebration of regional or cultural authenticity. Celebrating local cuisines and a farm-to-fork approach is more valuable than a mass-market concept.

The Food Hall at Carver Station will feature quality and diversity sourced from the experienced and diverse Richmond food ecosystem. Each local vendor will be organized around a multi-purpose common dining area, with shared infrastructure and utilities.

12 Unique Food Concepts

Beer, Wine, & Spirits

Integrated Online Ordering

If you’re a chef or food entrepreneur who would value being part of a new and original Richmond food experience,
we want to hear from you:


Micro-retailing can provide Richmond’s small merchants and makers with perks that standard storefronts cannot. A micro-business can experiment with establishing a brick & mortar presence in a lower-risk physical retail space.

The mixed-use design of the larger project creates a continuous flow of visitors from the Food Hall and a resident population of office workers.

Independent Shops


Retailer Support

If you’re a maker or specialty retailer interested in the benefits of being in a mixed-use space, we want to hear from you:

Coworking & Micro-Office

Carver Station is designed to serve an eclectic variety of entrepreneurial work environments, from modern co-work spaces, to dedicated desk areas, to innovative private offices. Maritime shipping containers will be organized to provide larger and more identifiable spaces for new and small businesses.

Carver Station creates a place for entrepreneurs, startups, and incubator businesses to establish an identifiable brand presence, while benefiting from a shared infrastructure.

“A niche working community between coworking and traditional office leasing is realized in the ‘office pod’, a modular system derived from the dimensions of a maritime shipping container.”

We are in the process of determining office and cowork features and benefits. We’d like to hear from you.

Share Your Thoughts

Are you interested in being a part of Carver Station? We welcome your thoughts and questions.