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2 hours ago, eandslee said:

I hear what your saying, but you can also look at this as the “chicken or the egg”scenario.  Is the Richmond Convention Center not getting the shows/events that VA Beach is getting because there aren’t enough hotel rooms to draw in the events that could be drawn in with the right hotel accommodations (among probably other facilities)?  There are tons of hotel rooms in VA Beach that Richmond cannot compete with at the moment…despite the fact that VA Beach doesn’t have a 500-room hotel - they don’t have to have one. Richmond, if it’s to draw the events it needs to be busier and to draw in the kind of events envisioned, then it needs the hotel rooms available to do just that.  It’s all about being able to draw people downtown and to the convention center we are after…because it’s not happening now. So what has to change to make that happen?  Number of hotel rooms is one of those things that needs to change.

Also, the hotel industry is not “reeling” from the pandemic anymore.  All the accounts I’ve read on the subject suggests that hotel booking rates are back to 2019 levels and in some cases (and in some reports) I’ve read, they have exceeded the levels we saw even before the pandemic. 

 

The city has stated the specific feedback on why they don't get more and larger events is the lack of hotel space.  Ideally they need 500+ rooms and a hotel attached to the convention center instead of blocks away.  That will make it much more appealing to more and larger conventions, but agree with the skepticism that it won't necessarily mean they all come flooding in.

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2 hours ago, 123fakestreet said:

 

The city has stated the specific feedback on why they don't get more and larger events is the lack of hotel space.  Ideally they need 500+ rooms and a hotel attached to the convention center instead of blocks away.  That will make it much more appealing to more and larger conventions, but agree with the skepticism that it won't necessarily mean they all come flooding in.

This is an argument every city with a convention center has pitched to THEM. It’s not a statement of fact made by planners, but by local political business boosters and their hired convention center consultants, who have a miserable track record of hotel occupancy projections, profitability, and convention center attendance projections  after the fact. 

If you look at Appendix D of the RFI, it explains the two likely scenarios to develop the hotel will only happen with a certain requirement attached - public subsidy.

What I fear and predict (and truly hopefully wrong about), is that we will be witnessing Navy Hill 2.0 process play out. What I don’t like is that the remaining City Center area will be held up by that process, because the HQ hotel is required to come first.

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27 minutes ago, I miss RVA said:

image.png.e4fa61e8d08d9905fe0de1c898725175.png this @eandslee!!!

@vaceltic-- I hear what you're saying and I also have some concerns about the city phasing in this development, but for different reasons.  But to @eandslee's point and to your argument: I think it is a HUGE mistake to sit and wait until there is a pre-determined level of "need" for the hotel rooms, particularly when it's clear that the lack of downtown accommodations is having a demonstratively negative impact on the amount of business the GRCC does. We are clearly being bypassed because downtown -- particularly in the immediate vicinity of the convention center -- lacks a sufficient number of rooms, and other cities clearly HAVE the numbers of rooms that event planners look for when selecting cities. 

The "let's wait until there's a need" argument is -- quite unfortunately -- a classic old-school Virginia fiscally conservative mindset that has done nothing to help Richmond, particularly when other cities in other states who are more forward thinking and are more than ready, willing and able to go out on a few limbs to CREATE need, have been EXTREMELY successful as a result of being less risk averse. THE classic examples of this risk-averse mentality is the CRAC flat-out rejecting Piedmont's offer to establish a hub here in the mid-late '70s simply because the commission (and more particularly, the counties who are part of the commission) "couldn't justify" the expenditures necessary to double the size of the physical plant and built out parallel runways. We all know what happened with that once CLT stepped up and grabbed what we rejected. We've been eating their dust for going on 40 years now.

How many major sports and concert events have passed RVA by simply because we didn't have a facility ANYWHERE close to the size required to host them? Why was RVA content with a 12,000 seat Coliseum that was quickly falling further and further out of date when other localities in Maryland/Virginia/North Carolina region were building 17,000, 18,000, 20,000-plus seat venues and getting major events there on a regular basis?

The idea that RVA has to have a pre-determined level of "need" in order to "justify" the expense is simply fallacious and it has held us back for decades. Other cities, particularly those in the fine state of North Carolina, not to mention the capital city of Georgia, at least one city in Tennessee, one more recent up-and-comer in Texas... ALL of these cities have not held back when it came to upgrading facilities even when -- to that point -- there did not appear to be the "need" to do so. They took the chance - went out on the limb - BUILT THE BETTER MOUSE TRAP... and guess what? People came and they came there IN DROVES!!! YES, VIRGINIA - BUILD A BETTER MOUSE TRAP AND THEY WILL COME!!

Same argument goes for mass transit. We so often hear municipalities claim they "can't justify" the expense to build out a bus line, a BRT line, or a light-rail line because "there's not the need". Yet EVERY study conducted by urbanologists WORLD WIDE have CLEARLY shown - when a city or a metro builds out mass transit, development and population follows. The need doesn't create the mass transit. The mass transit in and of itself is what creates the need.

If we build out and maximize hotel rooms downtown - that in and of itself will create the need by making it more workable for large events to come to the River City. SO WHAT if the "need" appears to not exist right now? Do you know what I see as driving the "need"? That Richmond exists as an up-and-coming city. That she has an underused convention center in a downtown that is in desperate need of a huge injection of vitality and human activity. THAT in and of itself is the need, IMNSHO, that drives the necessity and justification for maxing out hotel rooms (and hotels) in the immediate vicinity of the convention center (and in downtown more broadly). 

BUILD IT... AND THEY WILL COME! :tw_thumbsup:  It worked in Atlanta in the '60s, '70s, '80s etc. It's been working in North Carolina and in other cities for decades. There is NO REASON it can't or won't work equally as well in Richmond.

I understand the passion my friend. I am very pro- transit, pro density, and pro development! Time will tell what RFP responses come in and what proposals the city will get to work with. 

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46 minutes ago, vaceltic said:

I understand the passion my friend. I am very pro- transit, pro density, and pro development! Time will tell what RFP responses come in and what proposals the city will get to work with. 

Oh for sure, my friend. I know you are. :tw_smile::tw_thumbsup: And you raise some REALLLLLLY valid points based on very sound, real-world data. I totally get your argument 100%.

And I fully agree - time will tell what the RFP process returns. I didn't get into it in my post earlier, but like you, I also have some misgivings with the city piecemealing the phases SO distinctly - I think that may set up a recipe for City Center getting partially built and then stalling. We all seem to also share this concern regarding the Diamond District - and while, obviously, it's just not realistic to expect a major large-scale, multi-component redevelopment to just get built out en masse, all at once. Look at the one I've referenced going on here in Chicago along the downtown lakefront on the south side of the Chicago River. That whole redevelopment has been underway now for more than 15 years and it's STILL going with new construction continuing unabated. The big concern is that unlike cities like Chicago, where momentum CAN be sustained over the course of years and even decades to continuously build out large-scale developments, in cities like RVA, multi-phase redevs can all too easily stall out, get truncated or circular-filed altogether. I have a LOT of trepidation about the city FINISHING what it STARTS in both the Diamond District and in City Center. Not just because it's Richmond (that's part of it) - but because we're NOT an uber-huge market like a Chicago that can sustain these kinds of projects over VERY long stretches of time.

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Here's the Times-Dispatch's coverage. Unfortunately, it seems really watered down, especially when compared with RBS robust reporting. Seems like they put a lot more effort into a series of photos of the Coliseum than did they into some in-depth reporting. I'm actually disappointed and expected more of RVA's hometown newspaper.

https://richmond.com/business/read-the-document-development-plans-accepted-for-redeveloping-area-around-coliseum/article_bc3a2d7a-8158-562a-a88e-f643327c1121.html

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1 hour ago, I miss RVA said:

Here's the Times-Dispatch's coverage. Unfortunately, it seems really watered down, especially when compared with RBS robust reporting. Seems like they put a lot more effort into a series of photos of the Coliseum than did they into some in-depth reporting. I'm actually disappointed and expected more of RVA's hometown newspaper.

https://richmond.com/business/read-the-document-development-plans-accepted-for-redeveloping-area-around-coliseum/article_bc3a2d7a-8158-562a-a88e-f643327c1121.html

The paper really struggles and I get frustrated with things like you mention here, lots of photos, little content and their low budget website and mobile app is not great.  I really want them to survive and feel it’s important to have the paper though it seems they’re just holding on. Some subjects, it seems they are more on top of, in particular, when they have lead coverage.  When others cover the same story, I assume they back off and keep their energy, personnel, finances focused on whatever focus stories they’re covering. 

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10 hours ago, Flood Zone said:

This.

Also, although I certainly understand the skepticism above, I think one circumstance that has changed from decades past is a higher degree of competence and professionalism in the planning personnel. They must have some tangible indication there would be demand to build a 500+ room hotel.

Also, we’re the capital city of VA —VA beach isn’t  - that counts for something in terms of our potential and ceiling  

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16 hours ago, Hike said:

The paper really struggles and I get frustrated with things like you mention here, lots of photos, little content and their low budget website and mobile app is not great.  I really want them to survive and feel it’s important to have the paper though it seems they’re just holding on. Some subjects, it seems they are more on top of, in particular, when they have lead coverage.  When others cover the same story, I assume they back off and keep their energy, personnel, finances focused on whatever focus stories they’re covering. 

Fully agreed, @Hike-- I have had a hard time wrapping my head around their lack of aggressive coverage of these kinds of newsworthy events. Sadly, the paper has been in decline for decades and is a far cry from what the publication I remember back in the '80s when I worked the nightside desk and wrote sports for the AP, and I knew quite a few of the reporters who staffed events for the RT-D. Admittedly, RBS didn't exist back then - so the Times-Dispatch generally speaking had lead coverage on just about all business news. Even in the days when the afternoon paper  -- the Richmond News Leader -- was still publishing, they were the sister paper to the Times-Dispatch, both under the Media General umbrella - so there really was no legit "competition" so to speak. I think you're right that the RT-D tends to pull back from stories that RBS takes the lead on - rather than go toe-to-toe competitively. I understand if they feel the need to marshal and consolidate resources because of financial constraints - but as a former journalist, I find it troubling because it flies in the face of what the paper was all about for generations. It's almost - ALMOST - as if RBS gives us the hard-hitting, serious, deep-dive, factual reporting on a given business-related story - while the Times-Dispatch treats the same event almost - ALMOST - as a "fluff" piece. Mind you, they did quite well with the CoStar groundbreaking, and revealed some details that were not in the RBS coverage. But I'm wholly disappointed in what was published about the city moving forward with the City Center RFP. Maybe I'm still viewing the publication through the lens of its storied past - but quite frankly I expect a lot more from the Times-Dispatch.

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1 hour ago, I miss RVA said:

Fully agreed, @Hike-- I have had a hard time wrapping my head around their lack of aggressive coverage of these kinds of newsworthy events. Sadly, the paper has been in decline for decades and is a far cry from what the publication I remember back in the '80s when I worked the nightside desk and wrote sports for the AP, and I knew quite a few of the reporters who staffed events for the RT-D. Admittedly, RBS didn't exist back then - so the Times-Dispatch generally speaking had lead coverage on just about all business news. Even in the days when the afternoon paper  -- the Richmond News Leader -- was still publishing, they were the sister paper to the Times-Dispatch, both under the Media General umbrella - so there really was no legit "competition" so to speak. I think you're right that the RT-D tends to pull back from stories that RBS takes the lead on - rather than go toe-to-toe competitively. I understand if they feel the need to marshal and consolidate resources because of financial constraints - but as a former journalist, I find it troubling because it flies in the face of what the paper was all about for generations. It's almost - ALMOST - as if RBS gives us the hard-hitting, serious, deep-dive, factual reporting on a given business-related story - while the Times-Dispatch treats the same event almost - ALMOST - as a "fluff" piece. Mind you, they did quite well with the CoStar groundbreaking, and revealed some details that were not in the RBS coverage. But I'm wholly disappointed in what was published about the city moving forward with the City Center RFP. Maybe I'm still viewing the publication through the lens of its storied past - but quite frankly I expect a lot more from the Times-Dispatch.


could be beacuse they are now owned by another conglomerate? I know they are owned by lee enterprises. Have they gone further downhill because of who owns them now? 

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1 hour ago, I miss RVA said:

Fully agreed, @Hike-- I have had a hard time wrapping my head around their lack of aggressive coverage of these kinds of newsworthy events. Sadly, the paper has been in decline for decades and is a far cry from what the publication I remember back in the '80s when I worked the nightside desk and wrote sports for the AP, and I knew quite a few of the reporters who staffed events for the RT-D. Admittedly, RBS didn't exist back then - so the Times-Dispatch generally speaking had lead coverage on just about all business news. Even in the days when the afternoon paper  -- the Richmond News Leader -- was still publishing, they were the sister paper to the Times-Dispatch, both under the Media General umbrella - so there really was no legit "competition" so to speak. I think you're right that the RT-D tends to pull back from stories that RBS takes the lead on - rather than go toe-to-toe competitively. I understand if they feel the need to marshal and consolidate resources because of financial constraints - but as a former journalist, I find it troubling because it flies in the face of what the paper was all about for generations. It's almost - ALMOST - as if RBS gives us the hard-hitting, serious, deep-dive, factual reporting on a given business-related story - while the Times-Dispatch treats the same event almost - ALMOST - as a "fluff" piece. Mind you, they did quite well with the CoStar groundbreaking, and revealed some details that were not in the RBS coverage. But I'm wholly disappointed in what was published about the city moving forward with the City Center RFP. Maybe I'm still viewing the publication through the lens of its storied past - but quite frankly I expect a lot more from the Times-Dispatch.

Another change that I’m happier about with them,  they have also become more liberal. For much of my young adult life, I couldn’t read much of the political sections of the paper and do appreciate the change that aligns more with who I am and how I feel today. That won’t work for everyone of course, but for that change, I’m hanging on to the RTD and I just really want local news to survive, there may come a time when we really need someone out there to find the truth.

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1 hour ago, Downtowner said:


could be beacuse they are now owned by another conglomerate? I know they are owned by lee enterprises. Have they gone further downhill because of who owns them now? 

That's a very real possibility, @Downtowner-- back in the day when Media General owned them, everything was home grown (Media General was a Richmond company through-and-through, founded, built and HQ'd in Richmond. Change of ownership can have a HUGE impact on operations - and no doubt, this could be a contributing factor.

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  • 4 weeks later...

So if you recall the shindig that the city and other powers that be held when the RFP for the Diamond District went out - and potential developers all showed up under a big tent outside the ballpark to get a breakdown of the situation and what was hoped for - the city did pretty much the same thing with the first phase of City Center - including walkthroughs of the Coliseum, the remnant of Sixth Street Marketplace, the old Blues Armory, Festival Park, etc. 

According to RBS there is already an impressive gaggle of developers and firms lining up to possibly take part in this opening phase of the development. I'm heartened by the fact that the city is VERY up front in putting a large convention hotel at the forefront of the initial development. (Dare we call said hotel a centerpiece? Maybe!) While I still have misgivings about piece-mealing this development in phases, it's definitely good to see forward movement happening here.

From today's Richmond BizSense:

https://richmondbizsense.com/2022/11/30/richmond-offers-inside-look-at-city-center-redevelopment-site/

 

Screenshot (2507).png

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1 hour ago, Rooster said:

Im so excited about this one! I've spent 2 decades down there at VCU then in the biotch park at a couple of different companies and love walking around at lunchtime dreaming of what could be. Between the institutional behemoths on Broad (the new General Assembly building, Childrens hospital, etc), the crazy height VCU is throwing down on Leigh, and the organic growth in Jackson Ward, this is prime real estate. I suspect in hindsight we'll all be glad the Navy Hill scheme fell apart - letting biotech/pharma fill a couple of those blocks (hopefully with increasing height) will be a big feature for Richmond in the years to come. The armory is a world class building which would make a great showpiece headquarters for someone. A nice hotel to support the convention center (and biotech/VCU) will be a big plus. We have folks coming in from around the country and often the Mariott is full - they have to book way out in Short Pump or even Midlothian...

 

I'm with you on the NH plan. :tw_thumbsup: While I supported it at the time, in hindsight, I'm glad to free up the space the Coliseum is currently taking and trading up for some high-density, highrise residential, mixed-use, and other stuff. I'm thrilled that the city took the shackles off the height restrictions with the new zoning. I just hope we don't get a bunch of "meh" built down there (witness the disaster that Block D became - even despite obvious economic factors such as change in workplace/workforce due to the pandemic, VCU's change of plans, among other things, I'm just sickened by the loss of a 20-story building and what was to be a densely developed block of 9 to 11 story buildings. A 7-story office building and two other 4 or 5 story buildings is a joke. I'd just as soon it not get built - let these folks sell the property and get an out-of-state developer with DEEP and I MEAN DEEP pockets to come in here and REALLY do this up right. Block D was supposed to be one of the anchors of City Center - and now? Give me a break. The truncated plan absolutely stinks and should be shelved until something MUCH bigger and MUCH better can go up there.

Re: the Marriott being full: That sound like all the more reason to get that 500-plus room hotel in place right there at the convention center!  Can anyone say Hyatt Regency? (or how about we beef up the room count and the amenities and go for a Grand Hyatt? :tw_smiley:)

While I realize economic conditions, RVA's market size (ugh - don't get me started!!) all will play a big part in how much/big etc. development actually takes place, we really need to hit the afterburners on this one and go big or go home. Quoting what Junior Soprano said to Tony prior to a big sit-down - "If you're going to come in, either come in heavy, or don't come at all."

I could not agree more.

Edited by I miss RVA
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In this week's installment of the RVA 5 x 5 email - Jon Baliles writes a good opinion piece on the current situation with progress with the City Center redevelopment, and how regional cooperation is having a positive impact on moving this initiative forward. He also wrote an insightful piece last month with his thoughts on how regional cooperation would have been the game changer to make Navy Hill work WITH an arena as part of the mix. Both today's installment and Baliles' previous piece are linked below.

If you haven't subscribed to this newsletter, you might want to consider giving it a try. 

RVA 5 x 5 - December 2, 2022

https://rva5x5.substack.com/p/rva-5x5-december-2-2022

RVA 5 x 5 - November 11, 2022 (scroll down to Story #2 - that's the regional cooperation piece)

https://rva5x5.substack.com/p/rva-5x5-november-11-2022

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here's the Richmond Times-Dispatch's reporting on the city receiving the five proposals. One VERY troubling piece of information: unlike the process with the Diamond District proposals, which was reasonably transparent soup-to-nuts from the beginning, the city is refusing to make public ANY of the filings of the five teams that have made submissions. The Times-Dispatch was turned away flat. 

From the RT-D's article:

"While the city released the developers’ names, it refused a Times-Dispatch request to inspect the developers’ filings. The city said it won't grant access to the filings as it reviews them and decides on a short list of proposals to ensure a fair and balanced process. The filings are supposed to detail the developers’ qualifications and experience, as well as their expectations about employment, creating affordable housing and the sustainability of their development ideas. They are also supposed to detail how they’d approach financing the project  in a way that minimizes any hit to taxpayers."

Idk - I'm NOT liking this approach at all.

Here's the full story from today's Times-Dispatch:

https://richmond.com/news/local/history/from-the-archives-120-photos-of-richmond-during-the-december-holidays/collection_c95a4b81-e2bd-5cae-9aa5-e0c493fb8ef6.html

Edited by I miss RVA
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Richmond BizSense has updated reporting on the city's RFP receipts from development firms regarding the City Center project. The new reporting provides quite a bit of meat on the bone in terms of more details. The dance card looks pretty robust, with a few of the heavier hitters on the list also having partaken in the bidding for the Diamond District redevelopment.

From Jonathan Spiers' reporting:

Capstone Development LLC, a Maryland-based firm that’s the hotel developer for RVA Diamond Partners, the team picked earlier this year to develop the Diamond District.

City Center Gateway Partners, led by locally based Capital Square and Shamin Hotels, D.C.-based Dantes Partners, North Carolina-based Ancora and Virginia Beach-based Gold Key | PHR.

Lincoln Property Company, a Dallas-based firm that has developed commercial and residential properties across the U.S. and in Europe.

Richmond Community Development Partners, the runner-up for the Diamond District that’s led by Houston-based Machete Group.

Sterling Bilder LLC, a local development firm led by Josh Bilder.

The teams, which could include additional members, are vying for development of the 9-acre City Center assemblage that includes the shuttered arena and the site of a long-sought convention center hotel.

Something interesting of note: the graphic (below) indicates in blue shading properties that are part of the overall City Center district to be redeveloped.  Unless it was a mistake/oversight, notice that BLOCK D IS SHOWN AS ONE OF THE PROPERTIES!!!  ALSO - very happy to see that E. Broad Street - between 4th and 5th - is included as well. Obviously, this RFP is just for the area detailed in orange - Phase 1 of the overall development. I'm still troubled by this piecemeal approach to development - but either way, I'm more than ready for this to get rolling.

Here's the full story from Wednesday's Richmond BizSense:

https://richmondbizsense.com/2022/12/21/breaking-news-five-development-teams-submit-interest-in-city-center-project/

CityCenterRFI1-2048x1113.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

VERY good opinion piece in the Richmond Free Press criticizing the Stoney administration for dropping the ball on the development of a trio of surface parking lots in City Center located SOUTH of Broad Street. The Free Press raises a VERY good question: WHY has there been ZERO activity on the part of the city in terms of issuing RFPs for the three city-owned parcels (south side of E. Broad between 4th and 5th, south size of E. Broad between 6th and 7th (where the 'front' half of the old Thalhimer's flagship department store once stood) and E. Grace Street between 6th and 7th (where the old May Company/Atlantic Life Insurance Co. building once stood). As the newspaper CORRECTLY points out, when City Council killed the Navy Hill proposal, the city COULD have acted to get these three properties into the marketplace because interest in development at the time was high and interest rates were low.

Now? No idea if there is ANY interest AT ALL in developing these three lots - and we all know what has happened, unfortunately, with interest rates. I'm worried as can be that higher interest rates will either kill or minimally truncate potential large-scale developments in the foreseeable future. As has been pointed out by our CRE gurus, RVA is not yet large enough of a market to readily absorb higher construction costs (such as inflated interest rates) the way other, larger, cities (like our primary competitor cities which shall not be named here) are more capable of absorbing without much derailment of large-scale projects.

It makes NO sense whatsoever for the city to have waited so long. Had they jumped on this right away when NH was dead in the water, we could very easily already have highrise buildings RISING on ALL THREE lots, south of Broad - had they gotten underway before construction costs soared and before the Fed kept bumping up interest rates. Now? Now I fear that one of two things will happen: 1.) these lots will continue to sit empty for the foreseeable future. 2.) Even if developed, what will go there will be significantly less than what COULD have been built, had construction gotten underway two years. ago - or even ONE year ago!

Jesus - I've seen this happen SO many times over the past 50 years that it could be another entry in the old Style Weekly "you're very Richmond if... " campaign. In this case:

"You're VERY Richmond if you sit and wait on potentially huge projects long enough that the economy changes and becomes unfavorable enough to no longer support the kind of significant development that could have been built."

Wow... What was the big holdup with the city on these?

From the Richmond Free Press:

https://richmondfreepress.com/news/2022/dec/29/no-hot-iron-here/?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

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In light of the Richmond Free Press editorial about the city's failure to "strike while the iron WAS hot" on three south-of-Broad Street properties in City Center that were (and I hope and pray still are) ripe for high-intensity development, it bears reminding everyone of the kinds of projects that COULD (and SHOULD) rise on these three sites (E. Broad between 4th & 5th, E. Broad between 6th & 7th, E. Grace between 6th & 7th).  All three sites were included in the "expanded" version of the Navy Hill plan prior to the proposal failing to pass City Council. The E. Grace Street site was originally a separate development that pre-dated the Navy Hill plan and perhaps unironically carried the project name of "City Center" (And it seems that the city has borrowed the moniker from that project - I could be wrong, but that was the name of the original development proposed for Grace Street).

This first rendering is from the Navy Hill proposal.

Key:

N -- E. Broad between 4th and 5th -- 20-25 story residential/mixed use tower (20 occupied floors atop 4-5 levels of parking plus ground-floor retail)

P -- E. Broad between 6th and 7th -- 20-25 story residential/mixed use tower (20 occupied floors atop 4-5 levels of parking plus ground-floor retail).

U -- E. Grace between 6th and 7th -- 15-plus story residential/mixed use building.

 

CityCenter-FourthNBroad - Copy.jpg

 

From the Navy Hill proposal - here's an early individual rendering of one of the two Broad Street residential/mixed use towers.

NavyHillBroadStApts1.jpg

 

From the ORIGINAL City Center PROJECT proposal, which pre-dates Navy Hill (and by extension LONG pre-dates the current City Center "district" plan). Whereas this development in the Navy Hill plan called for about a 15-story building, the original City Center project plan called for a tower (or towers) in the 18-20-plus story range with "X" number of occupied floors above multiple levels of parking and ground-level retail (particularly facing Grace Street). As originally proposed, the mixed-use component included a hotel.

Interestingly, the developer floated two concepts: two more-or-less parallel towers aligned parallel to Grace Street connected along the western (6th Street) side and open-ended on the 7th Street side. The second was a combination of a half-circle structure angled and offset from the Grace Street side with a further angled section facing the corner of 6th and Grace.

While I tended to gravitate toward the two-tower design, I liked both as they would stand out equally on the downtown skyline.

 

5845cce8dacb4.image.jpg

584611574625ccitycenter1.jpg

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23 minutes ago, I miss RVA said:

In light of the Richmond Free Press editorial about the city's failure to "strike while the iron WAS hot" on three south-of-Broad Street properties in City Center that were (and I hope and pray still are) ripe for high-intensity development, it bears reminding everyone of the kinds of projects that COULD (and SHOULD) rise on these three sites (E. Broad between 4th & 5th, E. Broad between 6th & 7th, E. Grace between 6th & 7th).  All three sites were included in the "expanded" version of the Navy Hill plan prior to the proposal failing to pass City Council. The E. Grace Street site was originally a separate development that pre-dated the Navy Hill plan and perhaps unironically carried the project name of "City Center" (And it seems that the city has borrowed the moniker from that project - I could be wrong, but that was the name of the original development proposed for Grace Street).

This first rendering is from the Navy Hill proposal.

Key:

N -- E. Broad between 4th and 5th -- 20-25 story residential/mixed use tower (20 occupied floors atop 4-5 levels of parking plus ground-floor retail)

P -- E. Broad between 6th and 7th -- 20-25 story residential/mixed use tower (20 occupied floors atop 4-5 levels of parking plus ground-floor retail).

U -- E. Grace between 6th and 7th -- 15-plus story residential/mixed use building.

 

CityCenter-FourthNBroad - Copy.jpg

 

From the Navy Hill proposal - here's an early individual rendering of one of the two Broad Street residential/mixed use towers.

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From the ORIGINAL City Center PROJECT proposal, which pre-dates Navy Hill (and by extension LONG pre-dates the current City Center "district" plan). Whereas this development in the Navy Hill plan called for about a 15-story building, the original City Center project plan called for a tower (or towers) in the 18-20-plus story range with "X" number of occupied floors above multiple levels of parking and ground-level retail (particularly facing Grace Street). As originally proposed, the mixed-use component included a hotel.

Interestingly, the developer floated two concepts: two more-or-less parallel towers aligned parallel to Grace Street connected along the western (6th Street) side and open-ended on the 7th Street side. The second was a combination of a half-circle structure angled and offset from the Grace Street side with a further angled section facing the corner of 6th and Grace.

While I tended to gravitate toward the two-tower design, I liked both as they would stand out equally on the downtown skyline.

 

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Yeah, I remember being very excited about the original City Center project until it died.  What made me most excited was that the location was so prominent in the skyline - anything over 15-20 stories would probably appear so tall and would be seen for miles!  Can’t believe this parcel has gone absolutely nowhere. There was a small quadrant in this parcel that wasn’t part of the deal, which made it “difficult” to design something that would work. 

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