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DalWill

Your Perception of Richmond- SMALL, MEDIUM, LARGE ?

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If the moderators feel that this is a subject that should be moved into the Richmond off-topic postings please feel free to do so.  I thought that this would be better to have as a thread of it's own to keep the conversation about this city going and hear other's views about Richmond.  I found an article online from 2017 (3 years ago) about how Richmond is not only changing before our very eyes, but how the city is growing at a rate than what was ever imagined and needed to be taken into consideration in terms of business, employment, housing, and yes, the touchy subject of gentrification. The author stated that these are a same situations that most bigger and major cities a facing with everyday and that it's possible indicator that Richmond could be on the verge of becoming the Tier One City that we all dream of being and the potential to be as the years pass by.

https://onesouthrealty.com/blog/richmond-a-big-city/ 

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RICHMOND: A BIG CITY??

 

I’m from Richmond.

I was born at MCV.
Then went to Bon Air Elementary.
Then Robious Middle…
Monacan High…
University of Richmond…

And I even did some graduate work at VCU.

Then toss in the fact that I got my real estate license fresh out of college and you’ve got yourself a Richmonder who has known nothing but real estate.

Lifetime Richmonder. Long time Realtor.

So what does a lifetime Richmond Realtor think of what is going on right now in the market? It is the most bizarre and insane set of market conditions I have seen since I have been in the business (and I got my license in 1993, if you wanted to know how long I have been doing this.)

Was 2006 through 2008 intense? Yes, but not in comparison to the past several springs.

Since the height of the market in 2008, the stock of housing has plummeted by as much as 90% in some of Richmond’s sub-markets. That complete reversal of conditions has occurred in the past 3-4 years and is wholly unprecedented.

And guess what? There is no relief in site.

Everybody Loves Richmond

We could go on and on about the inventory issue we’re facing today, but the bottom line is this: the dramatic spike in demand is driven by a migration back into the city that has been building since the early 2000’s.

 

There is a three-headed housing monster attacking our inventory:

 

  • the leading edge of the Millennial population is entering the housing market and they want to buy in the city at a greater percentage than any of the post-automobile generations that preceded them
  • the population who already calls Richmond home is staying longer as the entertainment districts develop, more amenities are added, and the schools improve
  • the retiring Baby Boomers are choosing to live an urban existence, in lieu of the suburban existence they have lived for the last 25-30 years

And guess what that all means? It means that there simply isn’t enough housing to go around.

The Path from Small to Big

So it finally hit me the other day — this inventory condition isn’t a statistical blip, a temporary imbalance, or a pendulum that has swung too far in the other direction — it is a fundamental shift. Richmond, is finally behaving like a big city.

For decades, the City of Richmond lost residents. From the latter part of the 1960’s to the middle 1990’s, Richmond’s population vacated the city and moved to the suburban areas in the surrounding counties. The population of Henrico, Chesterfield, and Hanover all grew substantially during the same period that the city lost a quarter of its population. Poverty, crime, and failed developments — along with the population loss — were the hallmark of 1970’s and 1980’s City of Richmond.

When your population is leaving, there is plenty of housing to go around. But when everyone wants to come back and you can’t build houses for them, the situation is far different.

My, how things have changed.

Counties Can Grow, Cities Cannot

Have you been to Magnolia Green in Chesterfield? Magnolia Green sits on 1,800 acres and will provide 3,500 new homes when completed.

How about Bacova in Glen Allen?
Or Rutland in Hanover?
Or GreenGate in Short Pump?

Even though they are smaller in acreage than Magnolia Green, these neighborhoods individually dwarf the number of new homes built within the city limits in any given year.

Do you know how many ‘new’ homes were sold in the City of Richmond in 2016? 126.
Do you know how many ‘new’ homes were sold in Chesterfield in the same time frame? 828.

That is 650% more, if you are doing the math at home.

For the City of Richmond, development on any scale is next to impossible as vacant land is nearly non-existent. And if you are lucky enough to find a vacant infill piece (or possibly a tear down opportunity) that has somehow gone unnoticed by every other developer looking for land in the city, it is frightfully expensive.

So we can’t build our way out of the problem … just like big cities can’t.

How Can You Tell?

How can you tell that we have become a big city? Look at our problems.

DSC_8092.jpg

Big cities have housing shortages — Richmond now has one.

Big cities have rapid price appreciation — our prices are shooting up.

Big cities have traffic issues — been on I95 at rush hour lately?

Big cities require public transportation at scale — BRT and high speed rail, anyone?

Big cities face affordable housing issues — the affordable stock of housing is at crisis levels.

Big cities have limited development opportunities — Richmond has very little undeveloped land available.

Big cities face gentrification — many of our neighborhoods are now facing this thorny issue.

And big cities argue about redevelopment — have you watched a City Council meeting lately?

At the end of the day, Richmond is no longer a large town or even a small city. Richmond is a big city and with big city issues. As we move into the future, our leadership and our population needs to understand the importance of making decisions with a new, big city mindset rather than the small town mindset we’ve grown so accustomed to.

RVA.. a big city… Sounds kinda cool, eh?

I've personally never looked at the city as small.... AT ALL (outsiders , of course, do). We are considered mid-sized, for sure However, I think, sooner or later, we might be growing out of mid-sized as well.  We all have our perception of what SMALL, MED and LARGE are in various ways.  In terms of city-size,  we cover a lot of ground from Scott Addition to Rocket's Landing  (as well as the potential acres for development downtown). However, what we can agree on, is that Richmond is FINALLY  breaking out of it's shell of it's past and no longer getting overlooked.  What do you guys think overall about Richmond?

 

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Edited by DalWill
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Perception as of right now is medium. As the population grows, the economy becomes more robust (in the manifestation of more F500 companies, a busier airport (we're already on the way with that)), I think we'll see that status shift. We will become large, but comparatively to other cities in the Northeast or Southeast, we're smaller.

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I’d concur that Richmond is a medium-sized city.  For me, it can afford to get much bigger though.  I’d like to be able to travel the country and not have to say I’m from “Richmond, Virginia”....instead of just “Richmond.”  No one really knows where or what Richmond even is outside of the east coast.  Truth!!

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I think there may be a national perception that Richmond is smaller than it actually is.

Major league sports and hub airports seem to help perception. Getting the Super Bowl or a political convention seems to help with national prominence in places like Charlotte and Jacksonville. 

Austin is a city that seems to be a big small town. Tech industry has made it "big" but it wants to stay small and quirky. 

I'm wondering if the internet hub development could move Richmond closer to where Austin is in terms of prominence? 

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15 hours ago, DalWill said:

I've personally never looked at the city as small.... AT ALL (outsiders , of course, do). We are considered mid-sized, for sure However, I think, sooner or later, we might be growing out of mid-sized as well.

hahahahahhahahahahahhahaahahah

[BREATHE]

hahahahahahahahahahahahhahahaha

Richmond is smaller than Winston-Salem; I play mostly in the Charlotte thread, and Charlotteans are just as guilty of homerism (eg NYC is busy building one and a half downtown Charlottes right now, and that might be conservative, but that won't deter that board from losing their minds about a 600 foot building), but Richmond is basically "not podunk."

Cute.

/Troll

//is it still a troll if it's true?

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22 minutes ago, Tyrone Wiggum said:

hahahahahhahahahahahhahaahahah

[BREATHE]

hahahahahahahahahahahahhahahaha

Richmond is smaller than Winston-Salem; I play mostly in the Charlotte thread, and Charlotteans are just as guilty of homerism (eg NYC is busy building one and a half downtown Charlottes right now, and that might be conservative, but that won't deter that board from losing their minds about a 600 foot building), but Richmond is basically "not podunk."

Cute.

/Troll

//is it still a troll if it's true?

At 667,733, Winston-Salem metro is half the size of Richmond, however, its CSA is a little bit larger.  

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31 minutes ago, skycity said:

I think there may be a national perception that Richmond is smaller than it actually is.

Major league sports and hub airports seem to help perception. Getting the Super Bowl or a political convention seems to help with national prominence in places like Charlotte and Jacksonville. 

Austin is a city that seems to be a big small town. Tech industry has made it "big" but it wants to stay small and quirky. 

I'm wondering if the internet hub development could move Richmond closer to where Austin is in terms of prominence? 

See THAT is the same perception that I had to.  I don't mind at all succeeding as an international, popular mid-sized city. However,  I know that we are going to be bigger than where we are now (which is always a good).

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Richmond is definitely a more livable city than Charlotte. I’ll take the natural beauty, historic neighborhoods, arts scene, food scene, and outdoors scene over a sterile, sprawling, new metro area that reflects a poor-mans DC, which is close enough to visit for a day when I want to.

Edited by vaceltic
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I say Richmond is mid-size city with a mid-size feel.  

...and I don't care about comparing Richmond to other cities since Richmond is Richmond and will always be Richmond. 

Edited by Shakman
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1 hour ago, Tyrone Wiggum said:

hahahahahhahahahahahhahaahahah

[BREATHE]

hahahahahahahahahahahahhahahaha

Richmond is smaller than Winston-Salem; I play mostly in the Charlotte thread, and Charlotteans are just as guilty of homerism (eg NYC is busy building one and a half downtown Charlottes right now, and that might be conservative, but that won't deter that board from losing their minds about a 600 foot building), but Richmond is basically "not podunk."

Cute.

/Troll

//is it still a troll if it's true?

See?  This is what I mean when I say people outside of Richmond really don’t think Richmond is even on the map.  I’ve travelled a lot and have lived all around the US and people are always like, “Richmond who?!  Where is that?”  Richmond needs to make a better name for itself that people around the country can identify with, otherwise it will continue to be the city no one knows much about.  Seems that with all the ad companies in town that this would be fairly easy to do...or like someone else said, it needs to be known for being a tech hub, a bank hub...just something positive.  

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2 hours ago, eandslee said:

I’d concur that Richmond is a medium-sized city.  For me, it can afford to get much bigger though.  I’d like to be able to travel the country and not have to say I’m from “Richmond, Virginia”....instead of just “Richmond.”  No one really knows where or what Richmond even is outside of the east coast.  Truth!!

I actually find that even on the West Coast now I can just say Richmond where ten years ago it would be assumed I was talking about the San Francisco suburb.  Even internationally, ever since the UCI, many people seem to know Richmond.

Amusingly, when I arrived in Las Vegas the other week, my Lyft driver turned out to have gone to the same high school here.  Since he had left around a low point in the city's history, it was fun catching him up on where Richmond is now in comparison.  He was not the only Richmonder I ran into out there either.

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Seems like Richmonders like Las Vegas...we should have direct flights to LAS from RIC by now!!  

Thanks for sharing.  I hope the knowledge of Richmond is starting to spread.  My experience has obviously been different, but I’m encouraged by your report!

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Having been brought up in Culpeper, and spending much of my adulthood in the DC area, I think I have a pretty good feel for the relativity of small-vs-large! Richmond strikes me as being at the upper end of medium. But it often feels like small town, and I don't mean that in a good way. I love how much the city and metro have become more cosmopolitan, but there are some who still have regressive ideas, and those few are able to poison the external view of our town. Richmond also has a HUGE inferiority complex, and that puts a damper on being able to sell the rest of the world on what has actually been accomplished here. I've seen that attitude change a little since I moved here 20 years ago, but there is still a LOT of self-loathing and defeatism that needs to be overcome. We've got something great going on here, and we definitely need more hometown cheerleaders shouting our own praises.

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^^ I don't know, if I went solely on this forum for my perception of RVA right now (which is really all I can do since I'm not in the area anymore), I'd say we're some of the loudest self-cheerleaders (@eandslee)

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Between medium and large.  I think of US cities more in tiers than in size.  Tiers are based on the city's offerings, a term that I interpret broadly.  A city like San Diego scores highly on quality of life because of the weather, but is not a major economic center and lacks history/character.  Dallas and Houston are major economic  and population centers, but they lack unique characteristics and history, so they are tier three cities.  

Tier 1 (Global cities) -- New York, LA, Chicago, SF, and DC

Tier 2 (National cities with the potential to become global) -- Boston, Miami, Philadelphia, Seattle, Denver, and Atlanta

Tier 3 (National cities with a strong draw economically, historically,  or wield significant influence) -- Dallas, Houston, Austin, St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, and Minneapolis

Tier 4 (Regional cities with the potential to become national because they possess unique aspects, growing economies, and high qualities of life) --Portland, San Diego, Nashville, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Richmond

Tier 5 (Banal places that, while large and prosperous, offer very little beyond a mass produced experience) -- Tampa,  Kansas City, Phoenix, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Raleigh, Charlotte, Jacksonville, etc.

This is by no means exhaustive and I will spare the board my exact reasoning behind each.  Curious as to what people think.

Edited by Wahoo 07
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I think Atlanta could be considered global with the largest airport traffic in US. Also, Tier 5 Midwest cities, not sure how banal they are. Cleveland and KC have some character to them!

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