Updated: Prospective tenant lined up for former Media General building

The Media General building at 333 E. Franklin St. (Jonathan Spiers)

The Media General building at 333 E. Franklin St. (Jonathan Spiers)

Another state agency is preparing to take up residence downtown, in a building that just recently freed up some space.

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission is planning to move its headquarters from 1000 DMV Drive to the former Media General building at 333 E. Franklin St., confirmed Dena Potter, spokeswoman for the state Department of General Services.

Potter said the lease is contingent on Hourigan Development closing on the property. The Richmond-based firm, led by Hourigan Construction CEO Mark Hourigan and Joseph Marchetti III, is under contract to purchase the 125,000-square-foot building that housed Media General’s headquarters before its merger with Nexstar Media Group.

Potter said the department plans to sign a 10-year lease with Hourigan once the sale tenant improvements are completed. She said the division anticipates those improvements to be completed by December.

The move downtown will help consolidate Worker’s Comp’s nearly 300-person workforce, which Potter said is mostly housed in its headquarters on DMV Drive and a few other office space in the city.

“There was an extensive search over a few years to find the right fit for Worker’s Comp that would allow the commission to consolidate under one roof, stay inside the city of Richmond, be within walking distance to the Capitol and have convenient access to public transportation,” Potter said in an email.

Reached Friday, Mark Hourigan deferred comment to the Department of General Services.

Hourigan Development announced this month it is under contract to purchase the building. At the time, Marchetti said the firm plans to maintain the building as corporate office space, ideally for another large tenant that could fill the bulk of the building, though he said it is open to multiple smaller tenants. He said the former Media General still occupies the building and would maintain a presence there moving forward.

Marchetti said the deal is expected to close in June and did not disclose terms. The building most recently was assessed at $10.7 million.

Potter could not confirm Friday whether the state agency would absorb all 125,000 square feet of the building. Its current space on DMV Drive totals 47,000 square feet, city property records show. Lease agreement terms for the Media General building were not available.

If the lease takes effect, the department would join a number of state agencies in Richmond’s central business district, including the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, which recently signed a 10-year lease for 82,000 square feet in the Bank of America building at 1111 E. Main St. DEQ plans to occupy that space by January 2018.

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