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.