Report: ABC HQ near The Diamond should be moved

ABC’s existing nerve center encompasses 292,000 square feet at 2901 Hermitage Road. (Google Maps)

A state agency is recommending that the ABC headquarters and distribution warehouse be moved from its existing home on Hermitage Road near The Diamond – narrowing down its list of preferred new locations to six.    

In a 19-page report submitted Nov. 1 to Gov. Terry McAuliffe and others in the General Assembly, the Department of General Services recommends working with private entities to move the existing ABC headquarters from its 2901 Hermitage Road location in favor of building from scratch elsewhere in the region.

“All reviews concluded that new construction provides the most cost effective and efficient means for growth,” the report said.

DGS would not disclose where those six sites are located.

The report was prompted by a request for proposals issued earlier this year by DGS, on behalf of ABC, to secure larger office and warehouse space for the booze purveyor in the greater Richmond area.

The recommendation to move was chosen over other options that included expanding the existing facility or finding a similar facility to buy or lease.

Travis Hill, ABC chief operating officer, said the agency will continue proceeding with private developer options and will be working with the General Assembly on a timetable for construction and budget for the project.

“We are preparing to work with the administration and General Assembly during the upcoming budget and legislative session to identify a cost-effective and efficient solution that meets ABC’s current and future operational needs,” Hill said in a prepared statement.

If the General Assembly approves a budget and project location for the new facility, the report said ABC could relocate from its Hermitage Road site to its new digs by the spring or summer of 2021. The DGS report states the new site would support the booze agency for “at least 20-30 years.”

According to the RFP documents, ABC is seeking 375,000 square feet of distribution space and 80,000 to 95,000 square feet of office space.

The RFP states that preferred sites would be in the city of Richmond or Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, Powhatan, Goochland or New Kent counties – opening up the potential for additional sites to be considered across the state.

State leaders set aside $500,000 in the 2017 budget to start the initial leg of research to either expand the ABC existing facility, relocate its office and distribution operations to existing buildings, or construct a new facility either onsite or elsewhere.

Overall, the state’s request netted 15 proposals – mostly design/build options to relocate both the distribution and office components of ABC, with the developer providing a lease-to-own option, according to the report.

The relocation of ABC would free up its 20-acre property, which has been discussed as a potential home for a long-awaited new baseball stadium to replace the Diamond.

A joint agreement was announced last year between the Richmond Flying Squirrels, VCU and former mayor Dwight Jones’ office to “guide the final stages of planning for a new ballpark in Richmond to be used by VCU and the Flying Squirrels.”

Mayor Levar Stoney, prior to being elected, reportedly participated in the negotiations for that agreement, which stated the group was eyeing a $60 million stadium project at an unspecified site near The Diamond. Stoney has said he would support the project only if surrounding counties ponied up their fair share.

A new stadium on the ABC site would free up The Diamond’s current plot to join surrounding parcels for a total of 60 city-owned acres bounded by North Boulevard and Hermitage Road. The city already has teased developers with what it would like to see on the site.

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11 Comments on "Report: ABC HQ near The Diamond should be moved"

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Bruce Milam
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The best has yet to come for the Boulevard. Could it be the future site of Amazon’s east coast office? Could Richmond garner a closer affiliation with the Washington Nationals? The next ten years are going to be very exciting in RVA!

Brian Ezzelle
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I do believe minor league baseball rules do not allow for the Nats to have a minor league team in Richmond

Denis Etonach
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I don’t know the rules, but the R-Braves did move to Gwinnett County, outside Atlanta, and are the Atlanta Braves AAA team. Regardless, right now we have to find a way to keep our AA team from leaving!

Brian Ezzelle
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Join thehttp://www.richmond.com/sports/nationals-need-a-future-triple-a-home-but-it-won/article_f7b8fae0-0f52-5dcb-bc61-7f6cfbd5667d.html discussion

Michael Dodson
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Bruce wish I had your optics as since 1999 the redevelopment of this area has been talked about and after 20 years we have an aging ballpark, a crumbling center, and overgrown weeds. 2-3 RFPs for redevelopment have been paid for by the City and NO plans have come to fruition. Remember the excitement on 2013 rendering of a new town style project with a SuperTarget and Ikea? Or the 2007 excitement with the firm selected was tied to a former Redskin player that pitched a second downtown? Also, this ABC deal this is TERRIBLE for the City if they… Read more »
Ed Christina
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Michael Dodson: I have to side with Bruce on this one. How can you look at downtown, Scott’s Addition, and Manchester and not think the city is in the midst of a huge upswing? What is the “crumbling center” you are talking about? If – IF- the ABC goes out of the city its not going far, they need to be on the 95/64 axis, so i don’t think any city residents will lose jobs, and I’d bet it stays in the city along that axis. VCU is opening the checkbook for the new ball park, once VCU says they… Read more »
Michael Dodson
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I am not talking about private development; we are talking about the City of Richmond overseeing a redevelopment of City owned property. I can’t name ONE successful City organized redevelopment project in the last 30 years. The Main Street Station Mall, the Sixth Street Marketplace, Broad Street CDA, Bon Secours Training Center……name one major project that the City has been the landowner and the project was a success. You can’t they don’t exist. How many YEARS have we heard about plans for a new stadium?? The agreement you speak of was an MOU to talk. It is good puts up… Read more »
Michael Grabow
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Your description of that area is way off base, but I agree with the need to keep the ABC HQ somewhere in the city for the tax dollars.

Bruce Milam
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The state pays real estate tax dollars to the city for its properties.

Michael Dodson
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State pays a fee instead of taxes and that fee barely covers the costs to the City of their services. The last time I heard in terms of tax rates private citizens pay it is about 25 cents per 100 of value. It is state so I get it will be less than a private body but to me if the state provides the CIty 55% of its income then the payment should be reduced by that much.

Bruce Milam
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My response should have been that the state pays NO real estate taxes for its properties. I wasn’t aware that the state pays some minimum amount for services. Thank you for that. Its my opinion that the ABC warehouse needs to be north of the City with good access to I-295. The larger markets for booze are in Northern Virginia and Tidewater, so both need to be reached early in the morning to avoid rush hour traffic jams on I-95 and I-64 at the Tunnel. The current location is ideal but the building is too small and functionally obsolete. The… Read more »
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