Riverstone plays ball, ups proffers for ABC HQ relocation

An aerial shot of the area surrounding The Diamond. (BizSense file photo)

After going multiple innings with Hanover County, a state agency appears to be rounding the bases in its efforts to relocate its operations to the Mechanicsville area — a move that could expedite a new baseball stadium in the city.

Bill Goodwin’s Riverstone Properties has agreed to the county’s request to increase its proffer amount from $12,500 an acre to $20,000 an acre for a portion of a planned 113-acre development that’s linked to the anticipated relocation of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s HQ and distribution center, according to documents submitted to the county.

Riverstone wants to rezone about a dozen properties it owns near the Interstate 295 and Pole Green Road interchange to accommodate a mix of commercial and light industrial uses, including a replacement of the ABC’s current location on Hermitage Road in Richmond.

Funds generated from the new proffer amount – about $800,000 — satisfy the county’s request for more money from Riverstone to move forward with its rezoning case. Hanover was seeking the higher amount to mitigate improvements to Pole Green Road between Bell Creek and Rural Point roads in light of the development.

Preliminary plans for 113-acre Hanover County site set to house new ABC headquarters and distribution site. Click to enlarge. (Courtesy Riverstone Properties)

Had the firm not increased its proffer amount for the portion of the project — about 40 acres — that would have housed ABC’s new complex, the Hanover County Planning Commission had recommended in April that the Board of Supervisors deny Riverstone’s rezoning request for the project.

Riverstone declined to comment about the increased proffer amount Tuesday. H&M Co., the project’s developer and general contractor, could not be reached for comment.

The Board of Supervisors is set to vote on the increased proffer amount and rezoning request at its May 22 meeting.

Riverstone’s initial proffer amount would have generated about $500,000 to address road mitigation and maintenance, according to a planning staff report.

As part of its new proffer agreement, Riverstone will issue a one-time payment to the county once a certificate of occupancy has been issued for “a structure on the tax-exempt parcel.”

Riverstone has been working with Tennessee-based H&M to develop the site since it was identified in June 2018 by the Virginia General Assembly as the preferred location to relocate ABC’s existing complex at 2901 Hermitage Road.

Ambitious plans

Plans call for the construction of four warehouse buildings totaling nearly 778,000 square feet on about 104 acres, along with a three-story, 95,000-square-foot office building, according to preliminary plans submitted to the county’s planning department this month.

Anchoring the development would be the ABC HQ and distribution center, which would be the primary tenant of the office building and include a 315,000-square-foot building that would be expandable by 84,000 square feet, according to the plans.

Aside from the warehouses, an 8.6-acre piece of the tract fronting Pole Green Road would be rezoned for commercial use to accommodate a 25,000-square-foot retail center and two pad sites for a restaurant and gas station.

An L-shaped roadway connecting the development to AMF Drive and Pole Green Road would run through the property, with a traffic signal planned at an entrance off Pole Green Road.

Riverstone estimates the remaining taxable properties, which includes about 473,000 square feet of warehouse space and the 8.9-acre retail development, could generate about $707,000 annually in sales tax revenue for the county, and about $285,000 in annual property taxes.

abc headquarters

ABC’s existing nerve center at 2901 Hermitage Road. (Google Maps)

ABC and the state’s Department of General Services have been working on the relocation for more than two years.

Once operational in Hanover, the facility could allow ABC to eventually free up the Hermitage Road site, which has been discussed as a potential spot for a replacement of The Diamond that could be shared by the Richmond Flying Squirrels and VCU.

ABC aims to move into its new digs during spring 2021. DGS spokeswoman Dena Potter said the construction schedule for the ABC complex is about four months behind schedule as the state waits for a final zoning decision by the county. A cost estimate for construction has not been disclosed.

Note: This story has been updated to include construction schedule details received after deadline.

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Brian Glass
Brian Glass
2 years ago

In my opinion, a better location for a new stadium is where the former Richmond Maintenance facility was, adjacent to Sports Backer Stadium ( look at the picture in the article). It would back up to the railroad tracks, which is not the best location for development on the Boulevard tract. It would also be oriented the way the Diamond is, which works for the ball players and fans for day games.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
2 years ago
Reply to  Brian Glass

” It would also be oriented the way the Diamond is, which works for the ball players and fans for day games.” You mean for sunlight ? Could that be mitigated by design changes?

Matt Faris
Matt Faris
2 years ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

The ideal orientation is for a line from home plate to the pitchers mound to face east to northeast (between 1:30 and 3:00 on a clock face) to minimize the sun being directly behind the pitcher. Baseball rules “suggest” this as ideal, but they do not require it. I would guess that most professional parks stick very close to this orientation. I doubt any design changes would be able to block a high sun if the orientation was reversed. Coincidentally, there is a noon game today at the Diamond. That’s not unusual as Wednesdays are typically the last game of… Read more »

Matt Faris
Matt Faris
2 years ago
Reply to  Brian Glass

Brian, wouldn’t the ABC site still allow for the best orientation while still having two major roads and one minor one for access? It would also leave the RR access open for a rail user (assuming that’s still needed in the area).

Regardless, I’m glad to see the proposed stadium stay in this area.

Hampton Carver
Hampton Carver
2 years ago

There appears to be a rush to place VCU in control of the current ABC site. But there has been no best use study for the site, or of how its development as a ballpark will impact the viability of the remaining 60 odd acres of city property. Further, no consideration has been given to how a new sports venue, perhaps also a concert venue, would impact the adjacent residential neighborhood, one of Richmond’s oldest and most stable urban residential neighborhoods dating back to the 1890’s. Over the years rumors have abound and swung from big suburban box Walmart and… Read more »