Rezoning applications show signs of life for Coliseum redevelopment plan

coliseum-aerial

The city-owned Coliseum fills a 7-acre lot. (BizSense file photo)

After months of relative quiet since the project was presented to the public last fall, the $1.4 billion plan to replace the Richmond Coliseum and redevelop a surrounding swath of downtown appears to have signs of life.

Applications were filed late Friday with the city planning department to rezone 13 properties that make up much of the 10-block area for the proposed Navy Hill redevelopment.

The 13 applications, filed by Roth Jackson attorney Jennifer Mullen, are all described as “NOB/Navy Hill Rezoning” – the acronym referring to the project’s alternate “North of Broad” moniker – and seek rezoning to “CM,” a city zoning district specific to the Coliseum.

Tom Farrell discusses NH District Corp.’s proposal at a presentation in January. (File photo by Jonathan Spiers)

Roth Jackson has been representing the group behind the project, the Tom Farrell-led NH District Corp., in negotiations with the city over the past several months regarding aspects of the plan, such as a proposed tax-increment financing district.

NH District Corp. representatives have said the negotiations surrounding the project could wrap up this summer, setting the stage for the project to be formally proposed via city ordinance. Filing rezoning applications ahead of a formal proposal is a first step toward those requests being processed en route to the city Planning Commission and, ultimately, City Council.

The properties involved include the Coliseum itself, the public safety building at 500 N. 10th St., the social services building at 900 E. Marshall St., part of the old Sixth Street Marketplace at 530 and 550 E. Marshall St., two structured parking decks beside the Coliseum – one at Marshall and North Fifth Street, the other across Seventh Street – the surface parking lot across East Clay Street from the John Marshall Courts Building, and a plaza beside the Coliseum at 406-408 N. Seventh St.

An aerial rendering of the proposed new arena. (Courtesy navyhillrva.com)

The parcels represent the city-owned properties that would be involved in the Navy Hill project, which calls for redeveloping the 10-block area bounded by North Fifth, East Leigh, North 10th and East Marshall streets with 2,800 new housing units, including 2,520 market-rate apartments and 680 income-based units, and a 23-story, 527-room Hyatt Regency hotel to serve the convention center.

Plans also call for preserving and redeveloping the old Blues Armory building, where the old Sixth Street Marketplace remains, with a 20,000-square-foot food court plus entertainment and event spaces, replacing the GRTC transfer center along Ninth Street, and re-use of sites filled with outdated city buildings.

Discussed for years, the project was presented to the public in November with the endorsement of Mayor Levar Stoney, but a formal proposal to Richmond City Council has yet to be made as negotiations have continued. In the meantime, the city decided to shutter the Coliseum, which has sat dormant since January while events typically held there have been picked up by other venues.

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Michael Dodson
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Michael Dodson

A rezoning request for a publicly subsided project that has been hidden from the public and not properly debated. Talk about cart rolling down the hills into the river while the horse is at the top of 9th Street .

I’m sure the planning commission will vote to approve it because they just vote for everything that taxpayers don’t want, but I hope they have enough sense to delay it until after a public discussion.

karl hott
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karl hott

The citizens of Richmond deserve transparency and input. Mayor Stoney has no experience, professionally or politically, to advocate for such a massive project. Richmond government historically is a liability to efficient (and effective) development, not an asset. Let the free market do it’s thing.

Ed Christina
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I really don’t understand how there is not more transparency in this.

Doug Goodstein
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Doug Goodstein

The City is pouring hundreds of millions into this project. If you read the details their consortium is given revenue from all the parking decks, street meters, meal taxes that are located in the TIF district. In addition to having essentially carte blanche over how large an area they can draw from for City real estate tax revenue. Some reported instances creating a TIF district 800% larger than previously reported. And the City actually agreed to this. How will the additional revenue be made up by the City to offset the lost revenue? Anyone see Baltimore? Don’t think it can… Read more »