State office gets a new campsite

 

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has bagged a new home.

The state department is getting ready to pull up stakes and head to the leafier suburbs of Hanover County, vacating about 65,000 square feet of real estate on West Broad Street.

Larry Hart, director of the infrastructure division, said the three 1960s-era buildings the department was using were no longer viable. The 2009 General Assembly authorized the department to seek a public-private deal to find a new location.

“We got an estimate on how much it would be to repair and renovate the space we have, and it was $12 million,” Hart said. “It’s kind of like owning a used car: At some point, you can’t keep spending money to repair it. You buy a new car.”

The General Assembly authorized the department to pay for the $10 million project in bond funds that need to be repaid, but it will own the building outright.

The new two-story headquarters will be approximately 42,000 square feet and will be located in the Northlake Business Park near, fittingly enough, a Bass Pro Shop.

Gibson Wright, who runs Dominion Land and Development Corporation, owns Northlake Business Park. Kjellstrom & Lee are the builders, Baskervill will be the architect and Timmons will be the site engineer.

Hart said that he expected final approval to come in mid-March and that the project would break ground in June.

The department should be moved in mid-2013, he said.

As part of the deal, Wright is going to buy the department’s current headquarters property on Broad Street. A final price has not been set, nor does Wright know exactly what he wants to do with the large stretch of land.

“In all likelihood, we’ll need to tear those buildings down,” Wright said. “Some people are looking at possibly renovating the buildings, but I’m not sure what the city will want for that property, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

 

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has bagged a new home.

The state department is getting ready to pull up stakes and head to the leafier suburbs of Hanover County, vacating about 65,000 square feet of real estate on West Broad Street.

Larry Hart, director of the infrastructure division, said the three 1960s-era buildings the department was using were no longer viable. The 2009 General Assembly authorized the department to seek a public-private deal to find a new location.

“We got an estimate on how much it would be to repair and renovate the space we have, and it was $12 million,” Hart said. “It’s kind of like owning a used car: At some point, you can’t keep spending money to repair it. You buy a new car.”

The General Assembly authorized the department to pay for the $10 million project in bond funds that need to be repaid, but it will own the building outright.

The new two-story headquarters will be approximately 42,000 square feet and will be located in the Northlake Business Park near, fittingly enough, a Bass Pro Shop.

Gibson Wright, who runs Dominion Land and Development Corporation, owns Northlake Business Park. Kjellstrom & Lee are the builders, Baskervill will be the architect and Timmons will be the site engineer.

Hart said that he expected final approval to come in mid-March and that the project would break ground in June.

The department should be moved in mid-2013, he said.

As part of the deal, Wright is going to buy the department’s current headquarters property on Broad Street. A final price has not been set, nor does Wright know exactly what he wants to do with the large stretch of land.

“In all likelihood, we’ll need to tear those buildings down,” Wright said. “Some people are looking at possibly renovating the buildings, but I’m not sure what the city will want for that property, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

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Sterling Durham
Sterling Durham
10 years ago

Congratulations to DGIF !
The result of this decision will not only benefit the Dept. but should also serve to spur and/or attract additional retail and commercial growth to that area.
There is reason to be optimistic for change that is meaningful.

Andrew Moore
Andrew Moore
10 years ago

There are so many problems exposed in this article, it is hard to know where to start. 1. “It’s kind of like owning a used car”: What!?! When a building gets to a certain age, is it automatically worn out and worthy of discard? With that kind of thinking, many of the most revered buildings in Richmond would be gone. 2. In a city with all-too-few examples of handsome modern architecture, the DGIF building on Broad Street is one of the best. It will be a tragedy and irreplaceable loss if the “likely” scenario of demolition is carried out. 3.… Read more »

Mark
Mark
10 years ago

I’m a numbers guy, current space would cost $12Million to renovate the 65,000 square feet. Thats $184 per square foot. I’m not a construction guy but $184/sq ft, would seem very expensive, does it really cost that much to renovate a space? The new space will be 23,000 sq ft smaller, is the current space very poorly laid out or just been wasted space for years?

Brett
Brett
10 years ago

I agree with Mark and Andrew. Maybe they were planning on some major exterior upgrades and that’s how they got to such a high number. I’m a commercial contractor and that seems high to me as well. If they are moving to a smaller space, it would seem that they could have rearranged what they had and invited in another state dept to share the space with them, thus cutting down on rent somewhere else. Maybe out at the new place they are going to have some outdoor exhibits or interactive experiences, or maybe they figured it would be more… Read more »

Joe
Joe
10 years ago

All state offices should be required to be in the City of Richmond.

Scott Sirles
Scott Sirles
10 years ago

Joe,

Why require state offices to be in the City of Richmond? As a city resident, I would much prefer tax paying private development over tax free state office buildings.

Chris
Chris
10 years ago

Is this the kind of thing where our Mayor is asleep at the wheel?

rcf
rcf
10 years ago

This move has been discussed for years (prior to 2009) and it’s a great idea. The current DGIF building lies next to a stream that floods the employee parking lot frequently during big storms. I’ve heard stories of staff having their vehicles totaled since they were damaged by flood waters. (Too bad BizSense did not state anything about this issue.) Those buildings are not great architecture either (check it out for yourselves). The many buildings downtown are better investments for anyone looking to retrofit or upgrade buildings. These are on the outskirts of the city and have major problems associated… Read more »

Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson
10 years ago

And if you look at past articles DGIF and DGS on ths “deal” on the bizsense website you will find a developer that has not paid his tax for years. He is one of the worst in Hanover County. He admitted he will pay his back taxes when the state and its developer buy his land. I don’t mind if DGIF moves but the state needs to do a better job of vetting developers and deals.

This taxpayer bailout of a developer does not pass the stink test.