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eandslee

New Richmond Arena

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1 minute ago, drayrichmond said:

That's going to be hard to say without knowing the lot it's to be built on. But for reference, the 10 story Hyatt planned for the Canal District has 144 rooms on 6 floors. So assuming a similar lot size, we could be looking at something about 15 stories; but again it depends on a lot, the size of the lot, the size of the actual rooms, etc..

good analogy - that reminds  me, when will the Hyatt planned for the Canal District get started, here's another one we get to look forward to.

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10 minutes ago, Hike said:

good analogy - that reminds  me, when will the Hyatt planned for the Canal District get started, here's another one we get to look forward to.

However, if they indeed put this thing where I've read that they want to put it (between the armory and the new arena), there is not much space there.  I've seen some 400 room hotels online (with a pretty large base) that were 24 stories tall.  It does depend on the plot they put it on for sure.  Remember, 400 rooms in the MINIMUM...could be more.

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Here is the RFP - fair amount of interesting items.  City School impact and contemplating renovation of the coliseum.  Also, I think there is an error on the asset listing exhibit - must be the parking deck that has $27m in debt not 6th st. right?

 

http://www.richmondgov.com/PressSecretaryMayor/robocopy/documents/RFP-North-of-Broad-Downtown-Development.pdf

 

 

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After today and the thrill of the news, albeit not nearly enough to be this tired,  I feel like Forest Gump who had run for 3 years, 2 months, fourteen days and 16 hours and they asked him why he stopped running and he said "I'm tired" and with that I'm going home now and will pick this up again tomorrow!

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I’ve gotta say, after looking at the RFP, the area identified for redevelopment is a lot larger than I had originally thought.  If a developer comes in and revamps that entire area, a good portion of downtown will be brand new...and hopefully a lot taller and dense.  I have some ideas flowing through my head as to how all of this could look like and I would be very interested in seeing some artist renderings when the responses are submitted (if any).  I wonder if any major developers have had a heads up on this RFP?  Otherwise, 90 Days is not a lot of time to put something together of this magnitude.  Interested developers have to be scrambling right now if they didn’t already start the process already. 

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20 minutes ago, eandslee said:

I’ve gotta say, after looking at the RFP, the area identified for redevelopment is a lot larger than I had originally thought.  

from the RFP

image.png.0fdebc3019afed055e37ef0c236e33dc.png

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This article is a pretty comprehensive one regarding the RFP.  It also addresses the timeline I’ve been looking for.  Looks like City Council wants to vote on a final plan by next September. 

http://www.virginiabusiness.com/all-headlines/article/richmond-seeks-request-for-proposals-for-major-redevelopment-project

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I am glad to read that the RFP states that the capacity has to be at least 17,500 in one configuration.  It is nice to see a proposal in which Richmond acts like the "big town" for the region.  While I am hoping for a greater capacity, 17,500 would significantly upgrade the caliber of the events that Richmond can host. 

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This whole press release seems like folly to me.  “Assume our debt, incur the costs of development, adhere to these requirements (viability be damned), solve our affordable housing problem (I don’t think any residential should be included here) and pay us $50k for the privilege  of doing all of our work for us on an unreasonable timeline”

 

That’s my takeaway. 

Edited by Brent114

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2 hours ago, Brent114 said:

This whole press release seems like folly to me.  “Assume our debt, incur the costs of development, adhere to these requirements (viability be damned), solve our affordable housing problem (I don’t think any residential should be included here) and pay us $50k for the privilege  of doing all of our work for us on an unreasonable timeline”

 

That’s my takeaway. 

I agree with most of your take actually, except for the residential bit. Residential will always activate a corridor because you'll have residents living there and thus retail would likely follow. Using that whole area exclusively as government offices has created a dead zone. Residential should definitely be included. That's the most exciting prospect of the project, along with the hotel.

But ye I'm surprised at the audacity of the city's proposal lol. But I guess its working because there is that one firm working on a plan with that Los Angeles firm. 

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On 11/10/2017 at 8:17 AM, Brent114 said:

This whole press release seems like folly to me.  “Assume our debt, incur the costs of development, adhere to these requirements (viability be damned), solve our affordable housing problem (I don’t think any residential should be included here) and pay us $50k for the privilege  of doing all of our work for us on an unreasonable timeline”

 

That’s my takeaway. 

As stated by RVA-Is-The-Best residential should definitely be included. There shouldn't be any area this central in any city that doesn't have residential. Single use neighborhoods are rarely successful. You need multi-purpose/multi-use areas so that the area is always being used and not wasted during the day or at night. This is exactly whats wrong with the area right now. You have a lively Jackson Ward to the west that just dies at 3rd street if its after 5 or 6 o'clock. 

Very interested to see what will come of this. Anything has to be better than what is there now. 

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Nah.  No residential is necessary here.  

 

The area isn’t big enough to support enough residential to become livable with the services that make neighborhoods desirable.  100-200 people plopped down between a hospital, a valley, an interstate, courts buildings and the biotech park will achieve absolutely nothing.  It’s the worst place to house the economically challenged (affordable housing requirement) too.  If every developable lot left in the area had residential on it, the customer base would still be too small for it to be anything other than a food desert. 

It is 100% acceptable for the civic center of a city to be just that. 

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Ideally it would be mixed use and have mixed-income housing.   Just because it is residential doesn't mean it can't be commercial too.

I would not call that area a "food desert."  It is right near the BRT which takes you to multiple grocery stores.  There is fast food within walking distance (at MCV).  You have tons of restaurants as soon as you cross Broad as well.  

The more square footage we can get out of the development the better, in my opinion.

What I would like to see included is some regional cooperation to expand the community college campus downtown, which is located very close to this development.

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3 hours ago, RiverYuppy said:

What I would like to see included is some regional cooperation to expand the community college campus downtown, which is located very close to this development.

 

Just curious here - I assume we are talking JSRCC?  Why would it take regional cooperation?  Better yet, why would the regions care when you have a big JSRCC campus in Henrico and John Tyler in Chesterfield (and maybe others?)

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6 hours ago, meegwell said:

Better yet, why would the regions care when you have a big JSRCC campus in Henrico and John Tyler in Chesterfield (and maybe others?)

It allows for more options for those who are in JSRCC.  In high school I took classes at TCC.  If I couldn't find the class I wanted at the Chesapeake campus, there was a good chance I could find it at the Norfolk or Portsmouth campus at a time I wanted.  It also distributes classes better so someone far east doesn't have a huge disadvantage to someone who is more west.

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I’m not anti residential.  This footprint is just too small for it to be included (especially as a requirement).  It can never be enough residential to sustain itself and has nowhere to grow in any direction.  

And it is a food desert, especially for the economically challenged (again, a requirement).  Eating at Vagabond every night isn’t an option.   Fast food at the hospital isn’t either. We can expect a pricey and subpar restaurant to be included with the hotel and maybe a lunch place that can serve the VCU Medical Center and City Hall lunch crowds.  You simply cannot move enough people (and an arena, large hotel, parking decks  and courts buildings) onto this small plot of land to support much else.

Hotels and arenas are their own microcosms.  An apartment building isn’t.

I️ like the expanded J Sargent idea.   I’ve always wanted to see them do more with their downtown campus.  I️ love what TCC has done over the past few years.  Their downtown Norfolk location should be the model for J Sargent Reynolds.  I’ve been to their VA Beach, Portsmouth and Chesapeake locations too.  All of them are beautiful! 

Edited by Brent114

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I agree the site is somewhat tight, because it’s highly unlikely anything will happen at the federal Bldg block or the courts,/John Marshall House, and one would think the parking decks would remain ( and aren’t designed for a major vertical addition). After the arena, hotel, and blues armory restoration, that leaves you with 3 blocks max for everything else which assumes a new home is provided for what remains in the public safety building and social services building. Let’s not forget they also want a grtc transfer center in the mix despite this location integrating poorly into the BRT... that will take up another half block or so. 

 The institutional/civic  Bldgs surrounding the site (especially VCU Health, the convention center, etc) create some rather large barriers for integrating residential into a pedestrian friendly fabric. 

Edited by wrldcoupe4

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While I have no idea if including residential in this is the right move, it is my hope that the area becomes a twenty-four hour neighborhood.  The neighborhood around the Verizon Center, Penn Quarter, is teeming with energy and includes a decent amount of residential despite being an office-centric area.  I realize that comparing the Verizon Center to whatever Richmond builds is not an "apples-to-apples" comparison, but the goal should be to emulate the DC experience as much as possible in this regard.  There are real barriers between this area and Jackson Ward that will be difficult to overcome and the point raised about a lack of services is valid.  For that to change, the new residential units would need to number in the thousands, not hundreds.  Either way, it is still an exciting development and will give us plenty to discuss in the new year. 

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If we are talking housing thousands of people, and assuming that developers are confined only that specific area (which they are not...the RFP says that the plan can extend beyond the bounds specifically set forth), then we almost need to be thinking like NYC.  You can't get that many people in such a small space without seriously going vertical (which, of course, I'm totally in favor of).  The mayor did say that it is an ambitious plan - to me, lots of tall residential buildings would fit the bill!  We already know that a 400+ room hotel will have to be rather tall in order to fit everything else in that space as well, so if the city gets everything they want, this project could be HUGE!  A grocery store at the bottom level of one of the residential towers would need to be part of the plan as well to be successful (I think).  I just can't wait to see what is proposed!

I drive by this residential tower in Crystal City every day.  This one is 22 stories and has a Whole Foods at the bottom level...the sort of thing that might work for this area of Richmond, although the footprint would need to be smaller:

Crystal%20City%20Tower.png

I have also wondered how the bus transfer station would work so far away form the BRT route.  It really sounds silly to me to build a transfer station at least a block away from the BRT route.  While not optimal...I guess it could work.  Riders would get off the BRT, then have to walk a block to the bus transfer station.  Still weird though.

Edited by eandslee
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53 minutes ago, wrldcoupe4 said:

Question for all - how does one build really tall, really dense affordable/low income housing without a subsidy? Building tall is expensive.

Good question, but I think that the point is not to build a tall building with ALL the housing within it for lower income families.  There should definitely be some market-rate housing options included, but I think you're correct...there will likely need to be some sort of subsidy to help pay for what they are asking for, which (ironically) won't be popular for the city taxpayer (seems their focus is solely on schools rather than subsidizing housing).  I don't know of any other "tools" a developer could use other than a subsidy, but there might be something out there we just don't know about.  It'd be interesting to do some research to see what could be done or find some examples where it has worked elsewhere.  Thanks for bringing this up - very good point.

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After a quick search on the web, in cities around the country like Seattle, Portland, and Philadelphia, developers are exchanging affordable housing with reduced height restrictions (they're building taller).  Also, the percentage of affordable housing within, say, one tower is as great as 25% of the total units.  This means that the more market-rate housing there are the more affordable housing units there are too, which is driving up the height of some of these kinds of projects.  The other thing that has been done is that developers have been paying massive fees to avoid having to include affordable housing, but I don't consider this a viable option for Richmond.  Anyway, just presenting what has been done elsewhere.  You can read about all this in the following articles:

http://planphilly.com/articles/2017/06/23/council-wants-to-make-developers-build-inclusive-affordable-housing

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/taller-buildings-proposed-for-more-of-seattle-in-exchange-for-affordable-housing/

http://www.wweek.com/news/city/2017/10/04/a-developer-dangles-the-possibility-of-500-affordable-apartments-in-exchange-for-the-right-to-build-downtown-skyscrapers/

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With respect to a 400-room hotel and what it could look like/how tall it could be, I happened to read this morning that the downtown Norfolk Waterside Marriott is a 405-room hotel.  After researching some photos of the hotel, I think I counted about 24-25 stories.  Just thought I'd mention that here.

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Latest news from the RTD:

City officials say they won’t identify the local and national developers that have signaled interest in submitting plans to replace the Richmond Coliseum and redevelop a valuable swath of city-owned land downtown....(referring to the new arena site and surrounding blocks identified for development)

...Twenty-three entities from across the country registered by last week’s deadline, said Matthew Welch, a senior policy adviser for the city department.

To register, an interested party had to submit to the city the name of its company, address, phone number and email address for a point of contact. Once registered, the city granted the entity access to an online data room, where documents related to the project and answers to questions raised by other respondents would be posted, the RFP states. Proposals are due to the city in February.

“The level of interest in this project is extremely encouraging and serves as further affirmation of what we already knew: There is significant and national interest in this area and the City of Richmond,” Welch stated in an email. “We anticipate and look forward to receiving a variety of highly competitive proposals in February.”

http://www.richmond.com/news/local/city-of-richmond/richmond-withholding-list-of-developers-interested-in-coliseum-redevelopment/article_15384d45-6e03-5c6a-83c1-ab841d8880c3.html

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