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‘Off the Hookah’ to vacate Shockoe spot at end of July

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Built in 1894, the multi-use commercial building has been used as the Virginia Paper Company, a hat factory, a concert venue and various other commercial purposes including offices. The space was formerly occupied by Toad’s Place and the club Off the Hookah is a tenant in the same building.

RICHMOND, Va. – The popular Shockoe Slip club Off the Hookah will close at the end of July, confirmed manager Roland West.

The club has consistently placed in Style Weekly magazine’s “Best of Richmond” poll since opening in 2010.

The doors aren’t shuttering for lack of business, but rather over an unforeseen situation.  Earlier in the year, CarMax, Inc. announced they will open a new digital and technology innovation center in the  historic Lady Byrd building at 140 Virginia St.

CarMax originally planned to just lease a 26,000 square feet space in the bottom half of the building. Built in 1894, the multi-use commercial building has been used as the Virginia Paper Company, a hat factory, a concert venue and various other commercial purposes including offices.

West said that the club was also in negotiations to extend the lease on a part of the space they still controlled, but the building owner decided instead to turn the area over to the Fortune 500 company.

He said that the situation caused them to look elsewhere for the club’s next home.

The building owner, Jon Ondrak, contacted CBS 6 and said that isn’t how events transpired.

“Off the Hookah provided notice they did not intend to renew their lease on July 31st, 2015,” Ondrak.

West said it isn’t a question of if they will be back, rather, when they will be back. He said they have already looked at a couple of locations and are at least past the “touring the building” stage.

For now, 40 people will lose their jobs, West said.

Carmax’s corporate campus off Tuckahoe Creek Parkway will remain open. The downtown location will hold between 80 and 120 associates, some of which will come from the home office and some of which will be new hires.