As expected, Mayor Jones released his “Revitalize RVA Plan” for Shockoe this morning.
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Press release from the Mayor’s office:
Mayor Dwight C. Jones today unveiled Revitalize RVA, a plan for economic development in Shockoe Bottom, slavery and freedom heritage, and baseball.
Describing his plan as a strategy to develop downtown and to attract the people and businesses that will fuel the future growth of the city, Jones said, “Our city has a rich history that we must acknowledge and honor. And if we embrace who we are and move forward together, our city also has a bright, bright future.”
Citing the city’s 26% poverty rate, Mayor Jones indicated that all decisions are being made through the lens of economic development, creating jobs and expanding the city’s tax base. Revitalize RVA includes a new baseball stadium, a slavery and freedom heritage site, and brings retail, residential, hotel space, office space and parking to the area. The overwhelming majority of the improvements will be privately financed.
“The plan will generate almost $200 million in net new revenue over the next 20 years,” said Mayor Jones. “That’s money we can invest in public schools, transportation, public safety, and all of the attributes of a Tier One city.”
The Shockoe Ballpark will contain 7,200 seats, mostly in a sunken bowl. The ballpark will be flanked by apartment buildings, a 360 degree concourse, and dramatic architecture, including a flying roof.
“This will be the best ballpark in minor league baseball, with every possible amenity. That’s a dramatic improvement over these crumbling parking lots, where the flood plain has kept this area untouched for decades,” continued Jones.”
The private development being ignited by the ballpark development will bring important amenities to the Shockoe neighborhood. These include:
- 750 new apartment units, 200 of which are connected to the Ballpark and 550 of which are immediately across Broad Street.
- A full service, full size (65,000 square feet) Kroger Grocery Store.
- A 200 room Hyatt Hotel.
Altogether, the projects, plus the Ballpark, are projected to generate a total of over $200 million in investment; 400 permanent jobs, and 1,000 construction jobs.
Mayor Jones expressed his personal commitment to ensuring that investment in the Slavery and Freedom heritage site is a central part of the development plan. Noting the work of Delegate Delores McQuinn and University of Richmond President Ed Ayers, the Mayor shared the concept for a dramatic, interactive memorial designed to bring visitors and tourist to explore the history and heritage that can be found in Shockoe. He also announced that Steve Gannon, Capital One, has agreed to lead a community effort to raise at least $30 million to pay for the development of the Slavery and Freedom Heritage Site. A Steering Committee is expected to be named in the coming weeks to advance the plans for the site.
“I am presenting Revitalize RVA only because I know that with this plan we can properly honor the history of the Shockoe area and utilize the opportunity to establish a site that can teach people about a unique chapter of American history that has not been fully told.
“My job as Mayor is to move Richmond forward, and not leave anyone behind. By developing Shockoe in an innovative and historically sensitive way, we will be able to unlock the potential of two of the most valuable pieces of land on the East Coast. This is good news for the city and ties directly into our efforts to help mitigate poverty by providing jobs and opportunity,” Jones concluded.
The city will be planning a series of public input sessions and a schedule of those meetings is expected to be announced in the coming days.
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Quote from Senator Tim Kaine: “I applaud Mayor Jones and all involved for thinking big. This plan will create a wonderful new Richmond ballpark, reclaim and display our powerful history to educate residents and visitors alike and accelerate economic opportunity in the heart of downtown.
“I was involved with political, civic and business leaders in the early days of the Richmond BioTech Park and redevelopment of the Canal district in the mid 1990’s. It’s been gratifying to see these projects improve our city. I am convinced that the Shockoe Plan can be every bit as powerful in building a great future for Richmond.
“As a longtime Northsider, I’ll miss being able to walk to baseball games at The Diamond. But I have no doubt that my neighbors will work with the city to find great new uses for the Diamond site, uses that will complement the vibrant activity underway in the Boulevard/Scott’s Addition area. Let’s not let this opportunity pass us by.”
Quote from University of Richmond President Ed Ayers concerning the Slavery and Freedom Heritage Site: “I’m convinced that [Mayor Jones] and his team are committed to working with all Richmonders who care about acknowledging the past to make a future worth living in, to explore what these stories mean for today and tomorrow, and to doing it in an honest and open way.”
Quote from Delegate Delores McQuinn: concerning the Slavery and Freedom Heritage Site: “Thanks to the Slave Trail Commission, we’ve begun telling America’s story in a more open and honest way. But we need to do a lot more. Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of proposals for developing this area. I’m convinced that this is one is different. This is the right plan for Richmond, because it’s the first plan that’s serious about telling America’s story the right way.”
Quote from Todd “Parney” Parnell of the Richmond Flying Squirrels: “The Flying Squirrels are committed to this development plan in Shockoe and we know we can make this site a great experience for our fans; the virtual ‘place to be’ for history and for fun. We thank the Mayor for his leadership and vision on this project.”