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City unveils development proposals for Shockoe, Boulevard

Today the City Administration unveiled the result of a nearly year-long procurement process to develop two large tracts within the City at North Boulevard and Main Street Station.

The Main Street proposal includes a major economic development “town center” project with a possible solution for a new ballpark.

City Chief Financial Officer Harry Black said, “This is a vision of where the City can go. It is a chance to build two enormous economic engines that will generate new revenues and help power our City to better things.

“It is a vision of what is possible with careful planning, an engaged and informed public, and local ownership. It is a shared vision to make the City better and deliver on our potential. This has been a vision created not by rushed speculation, but by careful and deliberative procedure.”

Black, along with City Economic Development Director Carthan Currin and Highwoods Properties executive Paul Kreckman unveiled the plans calling for a $420 million mixed-use retail, commercial and residential development at the 67-acre Boulevard site.

Black said all of the proposals submitted by developers interested in the Boulevard project had suggested that baseball was not an economically viable solution for the property and suggested it be located elsewhere.

The Main Street Station proposal calls for a $363 million high-density, mixed-use, transit-oriented development that includes office space, two hotels, apartments and condominiums, retail, and a proposal for a ballpark, as well as protecting the cultural and historic importance of the area honoring the Slave Trail.

The Main Street Station area has received $394 million in federal, state and City investment in infrastructure in recent years to help address stormwater issues and position Main Street Station as the State’s rail hub and future home for high-speed rail.

You can view renderings of the proposal and other documents at the following web address: www.RichmondsMayor.com

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That rendering is missing the interstate. Where are they going to put I-95?

Ry
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Ry

If you look at the website i95 is included in the drawings

Jennifer C.
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Jennifer C.

We will not need an interstate, because all roads will lead to Richmond. Who’d want to leave with all that to do?

Ramzi
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Ramzi

The Shockoe plan is by far the biggest waste of money I have ever seen. Office space and condos! What genius came up with that? In case the developers didn’t notice, that area is already surrounded by the same thing, and much of it is vacant. Adding a below-grade ballpark in a floodplain with poor drainage is the icing on the cake. My favorite example of city incompetence was a few years ago when they gave KPMG Marketing $14 million for a study to determine what should be done with Main St Station. Their conclusion? Use it as a train… Read more »

Bullwinkle
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Bullwinkle

You (Ramzi) make a good point in that we’ve gotten way out of whack in our priorities – like 700 billion for Wall St. bankers when funds for Iraq veterans have been shot down by Congress on several occasions over the past few years. What’s that all about? In fact, why are we spending $10 billion a month in Iraq when we’re sinking in debt and a one time payment of $9 billion will build a high speed rail line connecting Richmond to DC (what kind of impact would THAT have on the Richmond economy). And how ABOUT some funding… Read more »

Ry
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Ry

The current plan calls for very little city money. Money for infrastructure AND to expand the Main St Station as a … transportation center. Money that would likely never be allocated to teachers or police regardless of if this plan happens. Ramzi, you make plenty of good points, but you should at least flip through the ppt. they have made available and see everything they plan to include. The ballpark is a small portion of the larger plan that brings private money in for a museum and additional parking, which we have all complained about there not being enough of… Read more »

Chewie
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Chewie

Doesnt the bottom already work? Doesnt it have a viable nightlife? Why are they redeveloping an area that makes money instead of one that does not?

UnionHill RVA
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UnionHill RVA

…and if anyone was wondering about why the Farmers Market has been dying a slow death, it’s because this ballpark plan has been in the works for some time now, and everybody in the mayor’s office+his pals have known about it.

That includes Salomonsky, the owner of the property under/surrounding the market.

The Farmer’s Mkt will be raised to create the infield in this Shockoe stadium “field of nightmares.”

Now it where did we put those old “no Shockoe stadium” buttons Lee Buffington gave us?

Rick
Guest

Hmmmm … am I missing the parking lot(s) that will be used to hold all of the cars coming off 95? Wait, maybe we’re supposed to use the subwa …. er, guess we don’t have one of those. Maybe we’re supposed to take buses? In all seriousness, and I know this won’t fly, they should build underground parking and place the stadium on top of it. The ball field would stay high and dry, the parking decks can easily be cleaned after the next storm, and we won’t have to waste space on flat parking lots where buildings should be.

newly wed
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newly wed

here we go again……

Tom
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Tom

If you look at the plans you can clearly see the Farmers Market is not replaced by an infield or anything else. It is still there. Take a look before you jump to conclusions – and wrong ones at that.

Wolf
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Wolf

Chewie- you are right, there is a viable nightlife in the bottom/strip already, but for some reason people are obsessed with bringing families in from the suburbs as some true measure of nightlife success. Here’s a thought, if it’s suburbanites who love this baseball idea so much, put the stadium in the suburbs… and let them pay for it, too. The stadium is not needed for a development to succeed. But, hey, during the next major flood, it’ll be converted into a swimming pool anyway!

HB
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HB

Rick- I believe the plan calls for a parking deck to accomadate drivers. Where as I was against this plan before I say go for it. If most of the funds are coming from private sources then what have we got to lose? I don’t know how many of you have been to the Bottom recently, but with the exceptions being Wonderland, Sumo San, and Rosies, there ain’t much going on except unacceptable behavior spilling out of ridiculous clubs. The Bottom has been losing money and needs something to give it a boost. While I am not the biggest fan… Read more »

Magneto
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Magneto

I am a bit skeptical that Richmonders will support another baseball team. In ten years, will this place be just as ignored as the current Diamond has been in the past few years? Plus, they’re already breaking ground on two hotels at the end of Shockoe Slip. Will two more hotels as part of this development saturate the market? That being said, I would like to point out that they are contributing a museum to the overall development that will be a part of the Slave Trail. HOWEVER, the museum on the site plan is WAY TOO SMALL – it… Read more »

irishurbanchick
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irishurbanchick

Hellooo! The team is gone! Again, Richmond is a day late and a dollar short! I continue to wonder why not raze and rebuild at the Diamond site? It’s a commercial area and has easy on/off access to I-95. Time to get out those old, yellow lawn signs? “No Stadium in Shockoe Bottom!”

Casey
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Casey

Yes! Downtown stadiums can and do spur economic development. It happened in Durham, Indianapolis, Louisville, Memphis, Akron and I can go on and on and on. Right now, there is very little going on in downtown Richmond. This plan will enhance the farmers market and existing businesses will see a boost. Foot traffic will increase. Families will begin to come downtown again. This area could be a vibrant area for all to enjoy. The stadium will replace what is currently an ugly, empty lot, a sketchy Exxon station and several empty buildings. This is mostly private development that will spur… Read more »

gray
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gray

Magneto, I agree. I posted this comment on the River District blog: “We should have a black history museum, a museum of slavery, and a memorial to all the slaves buried in the bottom. Imagine the tours. Some minor league baseball team barely brings in the locals. If you want international attention and tourism, give a true picture of your history.” Regarding sports: it seems that skateboarding, soccer and basketball are far more popular in Richmond than baseball. Someone suggested we have a skate board park. How about an out door ice skating rink? I like the idea of a… Read more »

Ry
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Ry

Instead of torpedoing the project to begin with why don’t we demand the elements that we think would make it a great project?! LEED cert/green elements sound like a great addition. Ice skating rink? We don’t play baseball in the winter, why not set it up on the field? The slavery museum is included in the plans, but if it should be bigger, we need to tell them so. The whole point of the plan is that baseball, minor league baseball in particular, is not a great money maker in most areas. That is why there is many other elements… Read more »

Bill Hartsock
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Bill Hartsock

I think Ry is on the mark. There will be a lot of public hearings through the Planning and Zoning Committees as well as at City Council. From the comments made by Delores McQuinn, she seems luke warm to the stadium idea, but would definitely favor a Slavery Museum. I think the streetscape drawings along Broad St. at 18th are exactly what should go in that area to promote downtown activity. The true test of this plan will be the details about parking, traffic flow, and alternative transportation. Now would be a good time to make a case for trolley… Read more »

Brandon
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Brandon

Its curious that this stadium plan goes against the recommendations in the recently passed Master Plan – or am I mistaken? Wasn’t the plan passed almost unanimously? What was the point of paying all the money and spending all the time to craft the plan?

Ray
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Ray

So, folks are going to invest $400 million for a speculative development anchored by a stadium for some unknown AA baseball team in a city that would not support an established AAA franchise in an economy with no credit, stressed out consumers, and a crashing housing market?

Yep, sounds like a winner to me!

AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN!!!

Concern Voter
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Concern Voter

Voters you need to ask the hard question;
1. Why bring this back now?
2. What was told to voters 4 years ago about a Shockoe Stadium?
3. Do not forget about Echo Harbor?
4. Remember, Richmond start small bush fires to make voters lose focus, while a Forest fire is some where burning out of control
5. Please do your homework before Nov 4th, you maybe very surprise by who stands to gain from all of this. I don’t think it’s going to be the Mayoral candidate with the strongest ties to the business community. May the Lord bless us all?

tiny
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tiny

I am cautiously excited. I think we need to solve several obstacles, such as drainage, but I am not on the “it’ll never work” boat.

Bullwinkle
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Bullwinkle

If it’s done correctly, this could be good for the Bottom and the surrounding areas too. I think the Bottom has great potential but currently sucks as Richmond’s nightlife central. Bring back Bottom Billiards.
Memphis did a stadium like what has been proposed and it rocks and brings in tons of revenue. Camden Yards in Baltimore has taken the approach of urban stadium (albeit on a much larger scale) and created arguably the best ballpark in MLB…

If parking and access are addressed in the new plan, this thing could be great for Richmond.

hillkid
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hillkid

I’m not entirely opposed to this plan, but let’s be realistic folks. This is not going to be the magic economic pill that Richmond is hoping for. Most sports economists agree that sports stadiums are not the economic booster that their promoters claim they are: http://news.illinois.edu/news/04/1117stadiums.html http://thesportseconomist.com/labels/stadium%20subsidies.htm Excerpts from thesportseconomist.com article: “Sports economists agree: sports stadiums are not the boon of economic development that they are often portrayed to be…” “The development is unlikely to occur because the returns for the development do not justify private investment. Otherwise we’d see a lot more “spontaneous” economic development surrounding stadiums. In other… Read more »

sam
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sam

#16, I agree with your statement for the most part. However, Memphis is not a good example. The Pyramid was built long before the Grizzlies arrived. A much better example would be Nashville, and the Titans. These same old tired arguments against a stadium were the exact same ones made in Nashville regarding the former Oilers before they arrived. For all you without the benefit of vision, please know so much more can be done with a baseball stadium besides just hosting minor league baseball games.

hillkid
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hillkid

#26:

We know that stadiums can be used for other events, but the Diamond wasn’t used for much else. What/who’s to say that a new stadium will?

gray
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gray

Thanks for sharing the articles Hillkid. #26 If so much more can be done with a baseball stadium, then what is the diamond being used for now? or in the past, during off season, what was it used for? I can’t believe were talking baseball here. How often did folk on this thread frequent baseball games? We have to be careful in the development of this area. We don’t want it to become a dusty bowl of concrete. What’s the lifespan of a typical mall or office park? Has there been enough action at the downtown convention centers to justify… Read more »

Ry
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Ry

When you have a private running a stadium versus a random-quasi-public entity you much more likely to have other events in the stadium. I know the minor league ballpark in Charleston WV hosts the boy and girl scouts for “camp outs” on the field and movie nights.

I think the point of this wholescale proposal is to include enough capacity to create an economies-of-scale that will benefit the project and allow it to build upon itself. Remember the goal is to create a destination local outside of the ballpark.

Melinda
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Melinda

I just want to say that these comments are terrific. No pulling the wool over anybody’s eyes so easily this time. Having been through this before (I still have my sign from ACORN), I’m waiting to see how it will be funded… how they will deal with the “river” running under the area… what the traffic/parking solutions will be… and if Mayor Wilder will transfer the funds and pledges from his Fredericksburg project to the Museum/ Slave Trail in Richmond (where it all belongs).

trackback

[…] than 100 votes cast, but I wanted to get that baseball poll in place. With ongoing discussions both here and River District News, I was curious to see if there was a quiet consensus out there either way […]

Lamplighter
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Lamplighter

The financing scheme looks just like the last stadium proposal – selling bonds to raise the money and putting the taxpayers on the hook.

Brian Bostic won’t tell us who the investors are except to say there are more than 10 of them.

So we’re supposed to build a stadium for a team we don’t have, backed by secret investors, and the taxpayers pick up the tab if it bombs. Richmond can’t afford this casino-style gamble.

Bridg

Juliellen
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Juliellen

I’m new to Richmond, so I don’t know all the history of these plans. But I am from Durham and I can tell you that the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP) has been a wonderful anchor for downtown revitalization in the city. It’s nothing like the Diamond, which is a horrendously out-of-scale and out-of-date stadium in a horrible location. Now around the DBAP is a national dance center, lots of offices and condos and apartments. More good restaurants are also making an appearance. The American Tobacco Trail begins at the DBAP, too, and has been a great addition to Durham.… Read more »

Left of the Hill
Guest
Left of the Hill

I can’t believe I am saying this, but I think I might support this, if for no reason than to get rid of that miserable Exxon station. I was strongly opposed to the original proposal, but this one has a few merits. My fears: an infestation of developer friendly chain retail (“After the game let’s grab a burger a beer at TGI Friday’s!”), bad design and architecture, traffic/parking, and a loss of local character. I just hope they don’t Disney-fy the area.

Shannon
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Shannon

We don’t have a baseball team anymore. I know y’all realize this, right? Ludicrous, all the way around. The entire concept of a new stadium is totally disconnected from reality. Lipstick on a pig.

Stop wasting money, Richmond. It’s becoming completely, devastatingly, embarrassing to witness as a citizen. Like buying the shiny new grill at Wal Mart, when you can’t even afford to feed your family meat.

There is no team.

Left of the Hill
Guest
Left of the Hill

I spoke too soon! I just looked at the newspaper article. How many buildings are they planning to tear down?! It looks like 17th, 18th, and possibly the northern part of Franklin Street are going to be razed for the baseball field. No way! That would destroy the entire character of Shockoe Bottom.

Bill
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Bill

This appears to be a great piece of the pie in the efforts to rejuvenate the entire downtown and riverfront area. The focus is not just on a baseball stadium bringing people down to the Bottom. This is part of a whole grand scheme to make downtown Richmond a great home for some and an exciting destination for others. If we take in the whole view of: 1) the Canal Walk area which has already been completed along with the new restaurants and updated retail, 2) the in-progress Rocketts Landing and adjoining public marina along the riverfront which finally will… Read more »

Omelette
Guest

I swear to God, if you hand-wringing whiners destroy another attempt to make Richmond a first-class city, I’m moving to Annapolis. Maybe it won’t bring back downtown overnight, but this project is so obviously a step in the right direction that I’m embarrassed any homeowner in the immediate radius would even consider standing in the way. Get over yourselves. We’ve all seen other downtowns. Take a look at Denver, the Inner Harbor, Boston, Alexandria. Shockoe, as it currently stands, sucks. Yes, we all like Julep’s. Rosie Connolly’s is delightful. But neither of them is endangered by the ballpark plan. What… Read more »

Shannon
Guest
Shannon

The whole grand scheme might seem more appealing if it didn’t include spending millions of dollars to build a facility for a team that went bye-bye long ago. If the proponents spent their time talking about something feasible, minus the ridiculous, then we might be getting somewhere. I would like a refund, please, for the amount of money that our confused leaders are being paid to fuss and debate about a stadium – a stadium for a team that now plays for a different city. They left you, Richmond. Accept the divorce with grace, move on, and focus on something… Read more »

Bill Hartsock
Guest
Bill Hartsock

Bridg got it right in #32. Let’s put a casino there.

Omelette
Guest

Works for me. Even Atlantic City has a vibrant downtown shopping district. We don’t.

gray
Guest
gray

And put the casino on an ark because we are talking about a flash flood zone.

Omelette
Guest

Right on, gray. Let’s stick to museums. I don’t know about you guys, but I can hardly find parking on the weekends thanks to all those massive crowds at the Poe Museum and the Holocaust Museum. What a boon for Tobacco Row! It’s just a madhouse down there!

gray
Guest
gray

Omelette, Hey atleast they are still here -can’t say that about the baseball team.

gray
Guest
gray

And why should my tax dollars be used as a boon for Tobacco Row? If my tax dollars aren’t going to be used towards forming progressive public schools, then please give me my money back so I can pay for private middle and high schools.

Lamplighter
Guest
Lamplighter

I want to know how city residents will pay off the few hundred million dollars they have to guarantee if the “Shockoe Center” project fails. Richmond can’t even afford to keep the street lights on or fix the sidewalks. But what’s another half billion or so? Maybe we could add a meals tax surcharge. Oh, that’s right, we already did that, you remember, for the arts center. The restaurant owners are still steaming about it. There’s bound to be something we can tax, personal property, real estate, how about a local tax on gasoline? But the Shockoe stadium / office… Read more »

kelly justice
Guest
kelly justice

I’m a resident of Church Hill and I fully support this proposal. I couldn’t agree more with Bill Hartsock’s comments. It looks pretty impressive and is far better than what is currently there. Concentrated development of this nature could be the cure for an ailing area. Some chains are not always a bad thing….look at who is ALWAYS busy in the bottom–Buffalo Wild Wings and Stool Pigeons. They have mass appeal and do what they do pretty well. That area really needs these type of businesses to become a more viable draw. Having lived near Fenway Park in Boston for… Read more »

not hizzoner
Guest
not hizzoner

What’s the point in funding “progressive public schools” if families don’t want to live downtown?

No disrespect to our fine fetish community, but I think a nice centralized ballpark and shops will bring in more folks than club Fallout.

UnionHill RVA
Guest
UnionHill RVA

Tom, post #11. Ok, so the field starts on Franklin Street, not Main. I GUESS the Farmers’ Market would still stand in this new scenario of a “Bottom make-over”.

Honestly, I made the error b/c the dang-gone map in that PDF is of such low resolution that when you zoom in on it, you can’t make out the street names…it pixilates horribly.

If you are involved in this project, then please provide a more detailed (higher resolution) site plan. Thanks.

walt
Guest
walt

This is a pathetic attempt by a washed-up mayor to say that he did something positive. This is very similar to the proposal that was shot down 4 (+/-) years ago. The state historic reasources department hated it, the neighbors hated it and the baseball team hated it… not a great start! If a baseball stadium will bring such wonderful developments to the bottom why didn’t it do anything for the Boulevard? What I despise most about the plan is the fake building fronts that “hide” the stadium. It is pretending to be short pump —which is pretending to be… Read more »