Proposed downtown towers play waiting game

centennialrenderringTwo proposed towers on East Main Street downtown would be less than 18 feet apart from each other. If built, Centennial Tower and Pinnacle Place would loom over the city at 27 and 30 stories, respectively.

But even with all that height, there are still some hurdles to clear; finding financing and tenants.
Bob Cole, president of Bob Cole Development and the driving force behind Pinnacle Place, said that the weak American economy is holding back development.

“Obviously, the market cannot allow progress on Pinnacle Place,” Cole said.

Although nothing has been decided yet, the tower figures to be mixed office and residential space, with apartments or condos on the upper levels and office space on the lower ones. Cole said that at this point, Pinnacle Place is a proposal with no progress activity.

Lenny Bayer, the chief operating officer for Goodstein Development, implied the project is still waiting for tenants and financing.

“We took a couple of hits in the road, mostly involving the economic situation, but we are moving forward. We’re still in good shape,” Bayer said.

Centennial Tower might consist of a parking garage, office space, retail space, a 122-room hotel, two levels of corporate suites, and 218 penthouses and luxury suites.

Bayer said that there is still movement on Centennial Tower, but it has been slowed in recent months. He said that Goodstein is in no hurry to build. “We’re a strong company” – but that they’re keeping a close eye on the market and on Richmond to determine when they can start construction.

So what’s holding the two towers back?

Cole said that Pinnacle Place won’t be built until several things line up. First, Centennial Tower needs to be built. Then Pinnacle Place would have a template for growth. It would also stimulate movement on Main Street, which would attract more potential retail, commercial and residential tenants.

The weak economy isn’t helping matters, and Cole said that he would prefer to hold development until the market corrects itself so that the financing can be raised.

The project also needs tenants. Cole said that he needs to see a high demand for class A office space before any progress is made on Pinnacle Place. He is also looking for a corporation that needs 100,000 square feet of office space to act as an anchor resident of the tower. Right now there is already a glut of class A space on account of Wachovia’s departure downtown.

Centennial Tower is farther along, but still has some ways to go. Preliminary demolition started at the property site on East Main Street earlier this year.

Currently, Goodstein is completing plans for a sales center and gauging interest from potential tenants and investors. The developers are also trying to find a hotel to operate within the tower.

Bayer said that the sales center should be completed in early 2009. He also said that the 30-story tower is on track for its scheduled completion date of 2011.

He said that the strength of the Richmond market brought Goodstein here initially in 2005, and nothing has changed that interest, even slow sales at the company’s other downtown development, Presidential Court Club.

“Downtown Richmond is still strong in our opinion. It’s not touristy, and it has a strong foundation of business and community. We love it there,” Bayer said.

Cole was equally enthusiastic about the city and about his tower’s chance for success.

“As this emerging city progresses, Pinnacle Place will progress,” said Cole.

Here’s what we know about the two towers:

Centennial Tower

Renderings: here and here
Location: Corner of 5th Street and East Main Street
Size: 30 stories, approximately 650,000 sf
Use: Mixed – retail, office, residential
Features: 122 room hotel, 90 corporate suites, 250 luxury residential units, office space, retail space, parking garage, fitness center, restaurant, and roof-top terraced gardens.
Estimated Cost: $180,000,000
Proposal Information
City Watch Discussion (393 posts)
Urban Planet Discussion (1,241 posts)
Developer: Goodstein
Architect: Baskervill

Pinnacle Place
Renderings: here and here
Location: 501 E. Main St.
Size: 17 or 27 stories, depending on demand.
Use: Mixed- office, residential, adaptive
Features: Undecided
Estimated Cost: Unknown
City Watch Discussion (14 posts)
Urban Planet Discussion (18 posts)
Developer: Bob Cole
Architect: Studio Z

Notify of
1 Comment
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Arthur J. Gilbert
Arthur J. Gilbert
12 years ago

I believe if the towers where built sooner then it would bring more people to VA Thus bringing the economy back up to par a bit quicker. I would also recommend that condos, bars, clubs, arcades, built in Skyscrapers to save ground territory lining the river front on the n side and s side for a large increase in scenery. I would also recommend an Amusement Park and or maybe a water park for the Richmond area to attract people from all areas wich would boost the economy quite rapidly and not to mention the distance in travel for Virginians… Read more »