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Lawsuit filed after Bella’s Italian restaurant closes in Short Pump

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A Short Pump shopping center is looking for a new restaurant tenant. (PHOTO: Michael Thompson)

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — The closure of the short-lived Richmond incarnation of a Charlottesville restaurant has left a local landlord with an empty Short Pump storefront and an alleged pile of unpaid rent. The owners of Short Pump Village Shopping Center have sued Bella’s Italian restaurant owner Doug Muir and Bellas Richmond LLC, which operated restaurant, claiming they defaulted on the lease of their 3,500-square-foot space at 11408 W. Broad St.

Muir opened the first Bella’s in Charlottesville in 2012 and expanded his restaurant to the Short Pump shopping center in July 2014, only to close about a year later. The Charlottesville Bella’s location remains open.

The lawsuit, filed Sept. 8 in Chesterfield County Circuit Court, seeks a judgement of $816,520, which amounts to the remaining rent owed under the life of the 10-year lease.

Bellas Richmond and S P Center LLC, through which the shopping center is owned, finalized the lease in March 2014, according to the lawsuit. Muir personally guaranteed the lease. The lease went into default for back rent in May, according to the lawsuit, about two months before Bella’s closed.

Muir said in July 2014 that it cost more than $500,000 to open in Short Pump and that he would look to open another Bella’s in the future. Muir could not be reached for comment for this story.

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