Renewed interest, vital improvements in English Village prompt business growth
The English Village this year began a revival, and Lake Havasu City business owners are noticing.
Spanning the northern end of Bridgewater Channel, the English Village is home to a range of small businesses, watercraft rentals, tour agencies and restaurants. Continuing renovations by property owners Virtual Realty Enterprises include the installation of new chain-barricades, new walkways and repairs have worked to beautify the area, and the recent construction of a Holiday Inn Express has brought the promise of increased foot traffic through the English Village.
Dallas Finch owns a cabana boat rental business and tour business in the English Village, and soon plans to open two new businesses.
On Tuesday, he and business partner Danny Finch were preparing a new restaurant to open within the next 30 days, at a property less than 100 yards from the London Bridge. “It’s going to be called The Blue Chair, after a Kenny Chesney song,” Finch said. “It’ll have an island feel to it, with a restaurant, bar, and a huge patio. It’ll be very fun and casual.”
They intend to open a small convenience store in the Village shortly afterward, providing sundries, refreshments and alcohol to customers by delivery or in person.
“We’ve been planning this since April,” Dallas Finch said. “I’ve been in the English Village for seven years. When plans were made for a hotel to be built, and properties started coming up for sale, we took them. We’re anticipating things getting a lot busier in the English Village.”
Renovations are still being completed at the Lake Havasu City Visitors Center, however, as VRE continues to beautify the channel-side property. Walkways surrounding the Lake Havasu City Visitors Center are in the process of being modified, and the English Village’s iconic cast-iron entry gate has been removed for repair and refinishing.
While the area north of the London Bridge is owned by Virtual Realty Enterprises, the southern half of the English Village is owned by the London Bridge Resort, which leases its channel-side storefronts to local business owners.
“We don’t have any new spaces on our side of the bridge,” said London Bridge Resort General Manager Cal Sheehy. “But over the last 18 months I’ve noticed more requests from businesses that are planning to relocate to the area, and are looking for space.”
Sheehy credits the development of Holiday Inn express for growing interest in the English Village, as well as recent renovations to the area, and he’s glad for it.
“It’s exciting that people are showing a renewed interest in the area,” Sheehy said. “It’s good for locals to come and see what’s changing, and it’s a reason for visitors to spend more time here. It’s an exciting time to see all of these changes happening.”