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New Richmond Arena

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1 hour ago, Hike said:

There are an estimated 600 million dollars of investment bonds, which is the estimated value over 30 years,  that the city would have to put up as part of the cost is how I'm reading this.  

Looking at it now, they have every right to be concerned. However, what I'm uncomfortable with is that there are no alternatives to this master plan or financing options. I highly doubt developers would take a total chance on this if the project wouldn't have a good ROI. And I'm sure they are looking at this from the perspective of past failed projects (6th Street Marketplace, Redskins Training Center; etc.). If greediness does take place and leads to mismanagement, there should be some sort of clause that should hold those parties accountable.

Either way, the area is draining the city of $1,000,000 or more now. Something has to be done. What I respect is that Stoney is taking the initiative to try and solve a problem with Richmond's most desolate areas, whether if it gets passed or not. I do believe the ball is in City Council's court now.

Edited by DalWill
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46 minutes ago, DalWill said:

Looking at it now, they have every right to be concerned. However, what I'm uncomfortable with is that there are no alternatives to this master plan or financing options. I highly doubt developers would take a total chance on this if the project wouldn't have a good ROI. And I'm sure they are looking at this from the perspective of past failed projects (6th Street Marketplace, Redskins Training Center; etc.). If greediness does take place and leads to mismanagement, there should be some sort of clause that should hold those parties accountable.

Either way, the area is draining the city of $1,000,000 or more now. Something has to be done. What I respect is that Stoney is taking the initiative to try and solve a problem with Richmond's most desolate areas, whether if it gets passed or not. I do believe the ball is in City Council's court now.

The $1 million loss is a false narrative. That does not account for the existing arena's admissions taxes, sales taxes, and hotel taxes it generated from its shows. Yet when we are supposed to look at the new proposal, of course they include those taxes revenues in their projections of how successful it will be. We are not getting apples to apples comparisons of the existing versus new cost/benefit. The proposal is so complex it is designed to mislead and hide the risks of the project from its citizens. 

I have taken a thorough look through Davenport & Company's financial impact statement on the proposal.  I pointed out numerous errors and blatant omissions of costs in their assumptions on just TWO SLIDES of their presentation and forwarded these to city council so they won't be duped. Not all costs have been accounted for with respect to Police, Fire, and Planning. Social Services and Richmond Public School costs were  even completely omitted from their analysis. 

There HAVE been development alternatives before going back over a decade. Piecemeal development proposals for sure, but the city declined them because the city owns the land and wants to control the outcome.  Cheerleaders of development in other resurgent neighborhoods (newly upzoned Monroe Ward, Manchester, Shockoe Bottom) will be waiting a LONG time for new development to occur if this is approved. Downtown residential and commercial development will stagnate for a 6 year period if this moves forward. This is based on Navy Hill's own market analysis conducted by CS&L (Page 283 of 589 of Navy Hill’s original development proposal; Page 23 of CS&L Analysis) claiming a 450 apartment unit absorption rate for downtown (which CS&L defines as VCU area, Jackson Ward, all of Manchester south to Maury Street, and Shockoe Bottom). This proposal will be all we get for quite some time - and none of the tax revenues are guaranteed to go to any city services other than servicing the arena debt.

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Not all costs have been accounted for with respect to Police, Fire, and Planning. A $2M annual cost for fire services should not be multiplied out 30 years equalling $60M. These costs increase with inflation. Millions undercounted. I guarantee $2M today will not get you the same $2M of goods and services in 2045.

Social Services relocation and Richmond Public School costs were completely omitted from their analysis, despite their report including a slide guesstimating $7K enrollment cost per student annually and estimate 300 students in a separate slide. The cost benefit summary just puts an asterisk in the public school cost row, essentially saying it’s zero cost over 30 years. Ironic, since one of the central arguments to do this is to help the schools but don’t deduct these costs against inflated revenue numbers .

Its all there in the first file posted to the City’s development webpage. 

Edited by vaceltic
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Thanks. From a real estate programming perspective, my biggest concern is the amount of retail proposed. The office, multi family, and hospitality programming all makes sense, but I have a hard time seeing over 200k sf of retail space in that location being successful.  Even a grocery or urban target type anchor would tap out under 50k sf, so that’s a lot of restaurant and small shop space. 

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15 hours ago, vaceltic said:

Not all costs have been accounted for with respect to Police, Fire, and Planning. A $2M annual cost for fire services should not be multiplied out 30 years equalling $60M. These costs increase with inflation. Millions undercounted. I guarantee $2M today will not get you the same $2M of goods and services in 2045.

Social Services relocation and Richmond Public School costs were completely omitted from their analysis, despite their report including a slide guesstimating $7K enrollment cost per student annually and estimate 300 students in a separate slide. The cost benefit summary just puts an asterisk in the public school cost row, essentially saying it’s zero cost over 30 years. Ironic, since one of the central arguments to do this is to help the schools but don’t deduct these costs against inflated revenue numbers .

Its all there in the first file posted to the City’s development webpage. 

I’d just go to one of the public meetings and ask a NH rep about your concerns here, but these do not seem to be deal breakers IMO.   Perhaps there is a logical explanation.  

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Perhaps this is just  Reva Trammell's position and other's don't feel this way.  We'll see how other council members feel once a vote is taken on whether or not this goes to a referendum.  If it's just Reva , maybe 1 or 2 others, this may go away.  Again, if it does go to a referendum, the wording & description of the proposal will be key.  The description alone can sell or collapse  this from moving forward.   Also, the writing description on a referendum will tell us the temperature of how they feel about the idea, are they trying to sell it or trying to kill it.  I know this is the city and a tax increment on city land, my frustration is that the surrounding counties will have no voice, no vote.  Portions of the money, that will ultimately support this, will come from all the surrounding areas, not just the city.  Event attendance,  people move there from the counties, buy food, park, perhaps become employed there,  but with no voice on whether it's something the counties want.  With no skin in the game, I get it, just seems to be a  bigger decision than  the city,  counties should throw some $ in the hat, but I know where that will go.    

Edited by Hike
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Voting for a referendum is an easy way for council to punt on doing its job and provide them with cover for future political aspirations. Keep in mind, this is the same council that pays for studies to study other studies on a topic, so they are often fearful of making decisions. If it does not go to referendum and council votes on the project, they need 7 of 9 votes to move forward. Trammell is clearly a no, I've heard at least 1 other is currently a "no" at this point. 

Edited by wrldcoupe4
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22 minutes ago, wrldcoupe4 said:

Voting for a referendum is an easy way for council to punt on doing its job and provide them with cover for future political aspirations. Keep in mind, this is the same council that pays for studies to study other studies on a topic, so they are often fearful of making decisions. If it does not go to referendum and council votes on the project, they need 7 of 9 votes to move forward. Trammell is clearly a no, I've heard at least 1 other is currently a "no" at this point. 

arrgh, that's right, we're doomed....

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52 minutes ago, wrldcoupe4 said:

Voting for a referendum is an easy way for council to punt on doing its job and provide them with cover for future political aspirations. Keep in mind, this is the same council that pays for studies to study other studies on a topic, so they are often fearful of making decisions. If it does not go to referendum and council votes on the project, they need 7 of 9 votes to move forward. Trammell is clearly a no, I've heard at least 1 other is currently a "no" at this point. 

This is what I meant by the ball being the council's court. City Council believes the  Navy Hill Master Plan might not be in the best interest for Richmond's citizens, but neither are they if they keep doing this habit of recurring studies with no action. What would be a better alternative to what's presented? One thing is for sure , accountability will be held from the administration to the developers for this project (whether this gets passed or not).

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from the RTD just now - Paul Williams gets it.  "Richmond City Council can't punt downtown redevelopment plan to voters"  Hopefully you can read the linked article.

https://www.richmond.com/news/plus/williams-richmond-city-council-can-t-punt-downtown-redevelopment-plan/article_5ba822ab-7e04-58c0-ae8e-23ee09145487.html

Edited by Hike
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1 hour ago, Hike said:

Perhaps this is just  Reva Trammell's position and other's don't feel this way.  We'll see how other council members feel once a vote is taken on whether or not this goes to a referendum.  If it's just Reva , maybe 1 or 2 others, this may go away.  Again, if it does go to a referendum, the wording & description of the proposal will be key.  The description alone can sell or collapse  this from moving forward.   Also, the writing description on a referendum will tell us the temperature of how they feel about the idea, are they trying to sell it or trying to kill it.  I know this is the city and a tax increment on city land, my frustration is that the surrounding counties will have no voice, no vote.  Portions of the money, that will ultimately support this, will come from all the surrounding areas, not just the city.  Event attendance,  people move there from the counties, buy food, park, perhaps become employed there,  but with no voice on whether it's something the counties want.  With no skin in the game, I get it, just seems to be a  bigger decision than  the city,  counties should throw some $ in the hat, but I know where that will go.    

My sentiments exactly. I always believed that a stronger city-core benefits the city and region itself. The counties should pitch in. 

3 minutes ago, Hike said:

from the RTD just now - Paul Williams gets it.  "Richmond City Council can't punt downtown redevelopment plan to voters"  Hopefully you can read the linked article.

https://www.richmond.com/news/plus/williams-richmond-city-council-can-t-punt-downtown-redevelopment-plan/article_5ba822ab-7e04-58c0-ae8e-23ee09145487.html

I believe it's only a subscribers' article.

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4 minutes ago, DalWill said:

My sentiments exactly. I always believed that a stronger city-core benefits the city and region itself. The counties should pitch in. 

I believe it's only a subscribers' article.

the article - sorry RTD, I guess I shouldn't do this but here goes.

It should have been simple.

As early as 2011, we were talking about replacing the Richmond Coliseum.  During the tenure of Mayor Dwight C. Jones, a consultant outlined a plan for a new $147.1 million downtown civic arena. But this was during the Great Recession, and money was tight. 

"I'm not focusing on the money right now," Jones said at the time. "We need to focus on the vision so we have that; when the time is right, we can deal with the money."

Eight years later, the 48-year-old Coliseum is older, uglier and more obsolete. But the plan to replace it, as part of a mixed-use development, has become maddeningly complicated. And somehow, the least controversial aspect of all this — the need for a new arena to replace our now-shuttered one — became a target of City Council.

Councilwoman Reva Trammell proposed a referendum on this question: “Shall the city of Richmond support taxpayer funding, estimated to be as much as $600 million, for a new Coliseum or arena in downtown Richmond?” (The stated price of the arena is $235 million but debt service over 30 years would drive costs much higher.)

“Personally, I’m tired of rich corporate millionaires and billionaires trying to drain city coffers of our taxpayer money to finance their pet projects,” Trammell said in a text message. “My view is if they want to build something, let them do it with their own money.”

Prior to Tuesday's meeting, it remained an open question whether Trammell had the necessary votes for her gambit. A council-led referendum on this proposal would be a cop-out. 

Public dollars would pay for a new 17,500-seat arena to replace the Coliseum, part of a mixed-use development proposed by a private group called NH District Corp, which would privately source $900 million for housing, a hotel and other parts of the project.

There's no good reason why a private-sector entity would build a civic arena in Richmond, which lacks a professional sports tenant.  

Trammell's question is misdirected. 

What the council members should be asking is why Richmond taxpayers alone are on the hook for a civic center that will serve Richmond's suburban residents as well. 

 

Will city residents get discount tickets if Bruno Mars comes to town? Would county residents pay a surtax to hear Taylor Swift?  

Of course not. A downtown arena would function as a regional facility.

You can debate whether a new arena should be a priority — and place me in the "yes" column. It's the "private" part of the project —- and its siphoning of new tax dollars within a special tax district away from the city's general fund to enable this project — that gives me pause. 

 

The city's need to replace its Coliseum has become bogged down in an exotic public-private project so complex that it would be irresponsible to punt this decision to voters, at least as it now stands.

Jim Nolan, spokesman for Mayor Levar Stoney, said in an email that the council should “first read the proposal” and let a council-appointed commission review the deal, as originally planned.

It's not unreasonable to suggest that taxpayers are looking to them for leadership and guidance. They won't have the luxury of the council's review commission to demystify this plan, nor the consultant Council President Cynthia Newbille says the body will hire.

The documents related to the north downtown redevelopment cannot become Richmond's version of the Mueller Report, which went unread by elected officials who'd already made up their minds.

We already have one referendum on the table for November, pushed by Paul Goldman, to change the City Charter to require 51% of the money captured through that special tax zone to instead go toward modernizing city schools. The Coliseum, in my view, rotted alongside the schools. Competent governments should be able to maintain both.

I'm all for the democratic process. But there's also a reason we have representative government and every question isn't put before the voters. There are a lot of moving parts to the NH District Corp. proposal, some more dubious than others. 

This downtown plan isn't as consequential as the vote by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. But the outcome of Brexit — nowhere close to being resolved more than three years later — is a cautionary tale about tossing an extremely complicated issue to an unprepared electorate.

Richmond taxpayers have a right to expect their City Council to do its due diligence and make the case — yea or nay for the redevelopment plan. We need the council to stay the course.

Edited by Hike
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Another question, did any of the council members attended the meetings and workshops when NH Corp were drafting and revising the proposals? Were they supposed to wait till everything is completed so it can be presented and formed a decision?

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4 hours ago, Shakman said:

Did anyone mention on this forum that the Navy Hill development will/ may include two towers south of Broad?

https://richmondbizsense.com/2019/08/06/1-5b-north-broad-plan-revealed-now-two-new-towers-south-broad-st/

I'm not sure,  interesting how there were schematic design drawings of a high rise near the dominion energy carpenter center not too long ago that just went quiet and navy hill now includes this.  

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According to RTD “Richmond City Council rejects advisory referendum on public financing of downtown arena”. I don’t feel comfortable pasting the article, but imo this is great news and forces city council to do their job! Now is it true we need 7 yays out of 9 for it to pass!? Maybe that referendum wasn’t a bad idea after all.....

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The referendum was an advisory one, meaning council would still vote on it afterwards. Having said that, I think it would be highly unlikely for council to go against the outcome of a referendum. 7 of 9 are required for it to pass. 

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From yesterdays city council special meeting -  quoted from the linked article below .  

"Richmond voters won’t have a chance to vote on whether tax dollars should pay for a new downtown arena when they cast ballots in November.  The Richmond City Council rejected a proposal to hold a nonbinding referendum in November on using public funds to pay for the centerpiece of the $1.5 billion Coliseum redevelopment project. A 3-5 vote, with one abstention, at a special meeting Wednesday night nixed the prospect."

https://www.richmond.com/news/plus/richmond-city-council-rejects-advisory-referendum-on-public-financing-of/article_adba805e-b00f-5e20-89e7-adee66a3d2cf.html

Edited by Hike
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I support the idea of a referendum in theory.  I think one of the primary issues I have is that there is so much misinformation regarding the project.  Half the people I have spoken to (offline, in real life) think the city is financing $1.5 billion of development and giving it to the developers and taking that money straight out of the school budget. 

 

I would be much more in support of the referendum if I thought it could adequately explain the details and have people make informed decisions. 

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Did anyone read the article in the RTD, opinion piece by Paul Williams, he's the same one who thought not to do a referendum, he's now saying the river is the best plan for this.  :tw_neutral:

 

https://www.richmond.com/news/plus/williams-the-james-river-is-downtown-s-best-plan/article_cdd8ced5-e92d-5e5f-b98e-99afb2c54ef8.html

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