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whw53

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3 hours ago, Hike said:

I saw this too, wish there was a permanent solution that could get this taken care.  Having hiked in out of state locations, the trails lead you to smaller towns quite often and I'm surprised how many small cites have transfer stations to get around, it keeps things organized and easier for linking, it's the hub.  The one linked below is for Roanoke, this is being bid right now and unless it comes in way over budget, will be built starting soon.  Hope this gets resolved here, it will be a compliment to the pulse and just makes sense to have this.  

https://www.roanokeva.gov/DocumentCenter/View/14660/Transit-Station-Rendering-2020

Embarrassing.  Roanoke is ahead of Richmond, Virginia's Capital City, on this.  SMH

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18 minutes ago, eandslee said:

Embarrassing.  Roanoke is ahead of Richmond, Virginia's Capital City, on this.  SMH

I know,  really.  When I first saw this project, it's called GRTC transfer station, I thought,  finally,  it's here,  opened the file,  Greater Roanoke Transfer Center...

Edited by Hike
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22 minutes ago, eandslee said:

Embarrassing.  Roanoke is ahead of Richmond, Virginia's Capital City, on this.  SMH

EXTREMELY embarrassing. This is a really nicely designed transit hub, too. Really reminds me of the CTA transit hub at the very farthest-most north end of Chicago - where three CTA "L" trains (two of which serve the immediate suburbs to the north and northwest) connect and where easily 10 or 15 CTA bus routes and suburban PACE bus routes converge. I've been through that particular station thousands of times over the past 20 years.

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE to see GRTC put together something as solid looking as the Roanoke design.

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1 hour ago, Lukepf said:

Hate to rub salt on the wound with the whole transit center subject...but the new bus transfer station in Roanoke is going to make way for a pretty major mixed use project downtown. The current bus transfer station in Roanoke sits in the middle of downtown, they are moving it a few blocks farther out and a developer is already signed on to redevelop the old transfer station into apartments, office space, commercial space, all in a couple of new roughly 10 story buildings.

Good news,  get more living downtown, look forward to seeing the development when it comes out.

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Here's Richmond BizSense's reporting on the city's salvage undertaking in prepping the Coliseum for demolition - as well as the city's having released the revised version Shockoe Small Area Plan ahead of public review and input.

https://richmondbizsense.com/2021/07/20/city-starts-salvage-of-coliseum-site-releases-draft-shockoe-bottom-plan/

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Hike: Amazing how the Mutual Building, the old First National Bank building (across 9th) and so many other high-rise bank buildings that once made up the old Financial District are now almost all residential. Even the old 700 Building (NE corner 7th and Main) I think now is a hotel, yes? I worked in the 700 Building for a decade (in the '80s) as a reporter for the Associated Press. 

Brent: GREAT photos. I love how the new General Assembly building really adds muscle, height and depth to the pictures and gives a good urban feel to 9th street. I can't wait to see what this picture will look like in a few years once the Public Safety building block is fully redeveloped and the (hopefully) 20-story VCU Health-anchored tower would be visible in the distance.

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  • 2 months later...
3 hours ago, whw53 said:

Land disturbing plans filed today for the Public Safety block redevelopment. 

https://energov.richmondgov.com/EnerGov_Prod/SelfService/richmondvaprod#/plan/9fe94d43-e483-4cf0-a88c-7148cf6520e1

'Demolition of the public safety building, parking garage, and surface parking lots in preparation for future buidling construction.'

I was just wondering about this a couple of days ago. Wow - this is fantastic news! Curious to know how long after demo takes place might we see ground broken? Since this project has been out there in the public square now for at least a year and a half (spring last year, wasn't it?) - I can't imagine that there will be too much "announcement" fanfare. The splash has already been made. Maybe a groundbreaking ceremony photo-op kinda thing and call it a day. Then bring in the excavators.

Even if there are changes to the project (God-forbid a certain kind of change that I won't mention here...) I doubt there would be a lot of hoopla "re-announcing" it in the RBS or RTD, aside from coverage of shovels going into the ground to turn some dirt.

Does this have to go before Council at all for approval?

Wow -just think about it... when this project is actually fully underway - if all of the buildout happens more-or-less at one time - given that it would be an entire city block - I'm thinking we could easily see at least three --  maybe four -- tower cranes on this site. (Two for the highrise and two more for some of the other buildings, especially the nine- (or 11?) story building down the block from the VCU Health-anchored building. 

Edited by I miss RVA
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  • 2 months later...

I did a cursory semi-deep dive through the pages of the CCSAP - and I REALLLLLLLLLLLLLY like what I see! I'm hoping that from a development standpoint, the level of density and height depicted in the renderings of what could be shown is actually on the low side - and that when developers start rolling in and putting shovel to dirt, what rises is far bigger, taller, grander. I really like the concepts presented here - and it shows once again, that the city planners really did their homework this time -- just like they did when putting together the Richmond 300 Plan. This SAP will dovetail very nicely with the overall master plan - and if adhered to, I believe, positions this part of downtown to be a significant catalyst for serious growth.

A few points of commentary - and I'm going to put them in successive posts so I can tie a specific page (or specific pages) of the SAP to the comment.

For starters, overall, this really is impressive. If what's depicted here comes to pass, City Center will be one of the city's hottest districts. This could define downtown much the way certain districts have defined Atlanta or Seattle or Baltimore. I'm very impressed. Without question, I'm 100% all-in on bulldozing the Coliseum and replacing it with high-density, high rise residential development. A much higher and better use for that site, hands down. Mind you - size here is key. I hope and pray we get something of real substance and real size (yes, meaning height -- we MUST go vertical!!)  The residential component alone has a potential to really tilt the downtown playing field in a very positive way.

I particularly like how SO much of the district is jam-packed with high-density, high rise development of significant size and height. This is EXACTLY what downtown needs.

 

Screenshot (414).png

Edited by I miss RVA
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The idea of subterranean parking is definitely an idea whose time has come. OUTSTANDING use of verticality here - while as much as we want development to reach for the sky above ground, it's easy to forget that parking can be planted deep below street level - not just underneath buildings, but underneath entire city blocks. I am curious if the city might advocate -- and if developers might jump on board -- building a small section as an "underground city" I am reminded of how Block 37 in downtown Chicago was integrated into the network of tunnels connecting the old Marshall Fields department store on State Street with two subway lines (Red Line and Blue Line) with a new, mixed use transit hub with city hall and other government buildings. It's quite impressive - and what was once a very (at times) desolate, smelly (think urine, trash, B.O., etc.) network of tunnels that had been patchwork renovated over the years) has now been transformed, at least in Block 37 and in the immediate vicinity, into a dazzling underground cluster of retail, eateries, coffee shops, boutiques, etc. Yes - I know that sort of thing always seems to fail in RVA (Sixth Street Marketplace comes to mind...) -- but I will say, that it's nice for commuters to not have to venture above ground in the middle of winter with a foot of snow on the ground and sub-zero morning lows putting downtown Chicago into the deep freeze.

Either way, this is a fantastic use of space and some outstanding outside-the-box thinking on the part of RVA planners. Seeds planted here could grow some might fine produce over time!

 

Screenshot (412).png

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Something else I really like about the CCSAP -- planners included "green space" and/or "gathering space" -- but thankfully DIDN'T GO OVERBOARD!! It's appropriately sized, scaled, located - and I LOVE the concept of how the intersection of 6th and Clay could become a focal point for what could become an iconic downtown RVA gathering place. Note the inclusion of an outdoor skating rink - and the placement of a large Christmas tree. Particularly if there is sufficiently large/dense/tall development on all sides of this gathering space, this could essentially becoming very much akin to RVA's version of Rockefeller Center's outdoor rink/plaza.

 

Screenshot (413).png

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I think this may have been where I had gotten the figure of RVA's greater downtown population at nearly 29,000 back in the 1940s. It's included as a data point in the CCSAP history section. What's interesting, the boundaries pretty much define downtown as those consistent with what we would think of today. The railway in the valley north of downtown proper to Shockoe Bottom (today, I-95) on the north and east, Belvidere Street on the west and the river on the south.

All of that said, it makes perfect sense that my urban planning professors in undergrad at VCU suggested that downtown RVA needs a population of 30,000 or more to become a viable 24-7 district. With sufficient highrise, high-density development across all of downtown, not just in City Center, achieving a minimum 30,000 downtown residential population in the next decade or two is not out of the question.

Note the significant dropoff in downtown population - even from just 1940 to 1960 - nearly 11,000 people -- a loss of roughly 38%!!! That, my friends, is stunning.

Where the data points are unclear is what's TODAY's downtown residential population? Notice the uptrend that has occurred since the nadir in the '90s-early 2000s. The report is showing 8,000 living in greater downtown as of 2010 with the trend line higher post-2010. But the 2019 data on the following page showing ethnic/racial breakout does not add up to even 8,000 - so I'm curious to know what the current estimate of folks living downtown is as of 2020 or 2021.

 

 

Screenshot (415).png

Screenshot (417).png

Edited by I miss RVA
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4 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

I think this may have been where I had gotten the figure of RVA's greater downtown population at nearly 29,000 back in the 1940s. It's included as a data point in the CCSAP history section. What's interesting, the boundaries pretty much define downtown as those consistent with what we would think of today. The railway in the valley north of downtown proper to Shockoe Bottom (today, I-95) on the north and east, Belvidere Street on the west and the river on the south.

All of that said, it makes perfect sense that my urban planning professors in undergrad at VCU suggested that downtown RVA needs a population of 30,000 or more to become a viable 24-7 district. With sufficient highrise, high-density development across all of downtown, not just in City Center, achieving a minimum 30,000 downtown residential population in the next decade or two is not out of the question.

Note the significant dropoff in downtown population - even from just 1940 to 1960 - nearly 11,000 people -- a loss of roughly 38%!!! That, my friends, is stunning.

Where the data points are unclear is what's TODAY's downtown residential population? Notice the uptrend that has occurred since the nadir in the '90s-early 2000s. The report is showing 8,000 living in greater downtown as of 2010 with the trend line higher post-2010. But the 2019 data on the following page showing ethnic/racial breakout does not add up to even 8,000 - so I'm curious to know what the current estimate of folks living downtown is as of 2020 or 2021.

 

 

Screenshot (415).png

Screenshot (417).png

Yikes I've never seen those numbers before. 1970 to today makes sense, but the 1940 population was almost 30k?! Mind blowing. 

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51 minutes ago, 123fakestreet said:

Yikes I've never seen those numbers before. 1970 to today makes sense, but the 1940 population was almost 30k?! Mind blowing. 

It makes sense, though. Photos from the old retail core from those days show Broad and Grace Streets and the side streets JAMMED with people. People lived in and around downtown.

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59 minutes ago, wrldcoupe4 said:

There are a lot of surface lots where there used to be homes and buildings. Makes sense. 

Here's more:  there's also a lot of interstate highway and associated right-of-way where there used to be densely-packed homes and buildings. It most definitely makes sense.

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12 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

It makes sense, though. Photos from the old retail core from those days show Broad and Grace Streets and the side streets JAMMED with people. People lived in and around downtown.

The emergence of the automobile (or more accurately the ability of families to have two) is one of the most thorough societal disrupters of the past century, for good or ill. No need to stay close to the core, so let’s spread out. There were other factors, for sure, but that’s one.

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8 hours ago, DowntownCoruscant said:

The emergence of the automobile (or more accurately the ability of families to have two) is one of the most thorough societal disrupters of the past century, for good or ill. No need to stay close to the core, so let’s spread out. There were other factors, for sure, but that’s one.

My only corollary to this would be to say that the emergence of the interstate highway had just as great -- if not an even greater --  impact -- along these lines because its influence was two fold:

1.) Highways enhanced mobility and served to encourage families -- with newfound post-WWII economic ability to spend more on vehicles -- to get a 'second car', acting like steriods to the whole concept of spreading out as the combination of (for the day) modern' cars and 'modern' roads brought far-away remote places into play as locations to not just visit but ultimately in which to live.

2.) The physical devastation inflicted upon dense, legacy urban neighborhoods as the new highways cut huge swaths (as @blopp1234noted, at least 200 feet wide - if not more) directly through central cities cannot be overstated. RVA was far from the only city to lose tremendous central city population and housing stock and to see entire communities irreparably disrupted.

As you said, @DowntownCoruscant, there were indeed other factors - many of them socio-economic, political, racial. But the combination of modern highways and modern automobiles was that "lit match dropped into open gasoline container" that ignited tremendous population losses within central cities. The numbers for RVA's downtown population loss bear that out. What's interesting to note is that downtown lost roughly 38% of its residential population between 1940 and 1960 -- no doubt in large part to the physical loss of housing stock and residential dislocation brought on by the construction of I-95 during the 1950s. But downtown's population dwindled by an even greater percentage in the decade of 1960 to 1970 -- witness the jaw-dropping loss of nearly 49% of  downtown residents (from 17.5K to 8.9K) in that 10-year period. Downtown's 30-year population decline (1940-to-1970) is staggering - at just under 70%. And none of this factors in the construction of the Downtown Expressway, which was built in the early-to-mid '70s, and its further impact on population adjacent and just west of downtown with the destruction of hundreds of homes in Oregon Hill and Randolph.

It will take some work to get downtown's population back to the 30K range - but developers can certainly help that along by going vertical - and the city can -- AND SHOULD -- do all in its power to vigorously encourage increased vertical development. Really, the "sky is the limit" when it comes to residential development downtown. RVA does not need to be hamstrung with limitations - vertical development is the way to go.

One additional thought: Just as the city makes certain incentives (such as tax credits) for historic preservation, why could not the city offer similar incentives to developers to encourage them to build taller? While it doesn't make sense for the city to outright reject proposed development under a certain height benchmark, could not the city designate certain areas - Monroe Ward, for example - as "vertical growth opportunity districts" - and compliant with whatever specific zoning may  be in place, work with developers to encourage and incentivise greater vertical development? So in a B-4 zoned area, for example, why not offer some kind of incentive for a developer to build a MINIMUM of 15 stories. Offer a little more if they exceed 20 stories. More for 25. There would have to be a cut off, obviously, and the incentives would have to be nominal such that the city isn't suffering huge revenue losses - and yet developers are getting some kind of financial breaks for absorbing the additional cost of building taller buildings.

At least for now, apply this primarily to residential development (particularly given that the office market is still being impacted by the pandemic).

Why doesn't RVA apply this approach, at least at first on a limited scale, to certain central-city (i.e., downtown) sectors and see what happens?

It's worth a try.

Edited by I miss RVA
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3 hours ago, blopp1234 said:

It’s also hard to maintain a downtown population when the state and feds bulldoze a 200 ft wide swath to make room for I-95 and the downtown expressway. The amount of housing we lost to make way for those monstrosities is insane.

I can't remember where I heard it but something like 1000 homes were bulldozed. That's 1000 families gone overnight basically. Very sad.

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On 12/9/2021 at 1:50 PM, I miss RVA said:

I did a cursory semi-deep dive through the pages of the CCSAP - and I REALLLLLLLLLLLLLY like what I see! I'm hoping that from a development standpoint, the level of density and height depicted in the renderings of what could be shown is actually on the low side - and that when developers start rolling in and putting shovel to dirt, what rises is far bigger, taller, grander. I really like the concepts presented here - and it shows once again, that the city planners really did their homework this time -- just like they did when putting together the Richmond 300 Plan. This SAP will dovetail very nicely with the overall master plan - and if adhered to, I believe, positions this part of downtown to be a significant catalyst for serious growth.

A few points of commentary - and I'm going to put them in successive posts so I can tie a specific page (or specific pages) of the SAP to the comment.

For starters, overall, this really is impressive. If what's depicted here comes to pass, City Center will be one of the city's hottest districts. This could define downtown much the way certain districts have defined Atlanta or Seattle or Baltimore. I'm very impressed. Without question, I'm 100% all-in on bulldozing the Coliseum and replacing it with high-density, high rise residential development. A much higher and better use for that site, hands down. Mind you - size here is key. I hope and pray we get something of real substance and real size (yes, meaning height -- we MUST go vertical!!)  The residential component alone has a potential to really tilt the downtown playing field in a very positive way.

I particularly like how SO much of the district is jam-packed with high-density, high rise development of significant size and height. This is EXACTLY what downtown needs.

 

Screenshot (414).png

 

Can someone attach the full doc(s) as an attachment? I'm having trouble finding the details on the richmond city page...

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