‘Greater Scott’s Addition’ rezoning would pave way for Diamond-area RFP

An aerial of the area as envisioned in Richmond 300. (Images courtesy City of Richmond)

The first major zoning initiative to come out of the recently adopted Richmond 300 master plan is setting the stage for a long-awaited request for proposals to redevelop The Diamond and surrounding city-owned land.

City planners are pursuing a massive rezoning of what’s referred to in Richmond 300 as “Greater Scott’s Addition” — primarily industrially-zoned areas north of Scott’s Addition proper and generally east of Arthur Ashe Boulevard, including areas around The Diamond and the Hermitage Road corridor south of the interstate.

The rezoning, which would encourage mixed-use development in those areas — and pave the way for what’s envisioned to be a recreational district anchored by a new baseball stadium — is among initial action steps recommended in Richmond 300 to begin implementing its 20-year vision and goals.

It also would set the stage for a long-anticipated RFP to redevelop the 60-acre city-owned site that includes The Diamond and other land along Arthur Ashe Boulevard. Speculation that an RFP was finally in the works after previous stalled attempts and years of debate over replacing the stadiumramped up last year as the Richmond 300 effort entered the home stretch.

Existing zoning in the Greater Scott’s Addition area is primarily M-1 and M-2 industrial, with some B-5.

City administrators had said the RFP hinged on completion of a small-area plan for Greater Scott’s Addition. That plan, also referred to as the Greater Scott’s Addition Framework Plan, was completed as part of Richmond 300 and is incorporated in the master plan document, which the City Council adopted in December.

Around the time of that adoption, administrators told BizSense that the RFP remained in “scope stage” pending approval of the small-area plan. With the plan in effect as part of Richmond 300, the proposed rezoning is the next step toward issuing the RFP, according to a presentation to be made to the Planning Commission on Tuesday.

The proposal would declare the city’s intent to amend its zoning map to reflect Richmond 300’s future land use recommendations for the area. The presentation to the commission does not specify exact zoning changes to be made, but refers to the Richmond 300 future land use plan, which recommends designations such as “industrial mixed-use” and, between Arthur Ashe Boulevard and Hermitage Road, “destination mixed-use.”

Those designations call for primary uses to include retail, office, multifamily residential, cultural and open space, with building heights of three to eight stories for industrial mixed-use and a minimum of five stories for destination mixed-use.

The Greater Scott’s Addition area is currently zoned for light or heavy industrial development, with a handful of properties zoned B-5 Central Business District. A goal of the rezoning is to reduce or eliminate the need for the city to allow development in the area through special-use permits, a dozen of which have been awarded in that area since 2000.

The destination mixed-use district between Arthur Ashe and Hermitage would set the stage for what Richmond 300 envisions as a crescent-shaped swath of green space that would bisect the area and be anchored by a new baseball stadium on the west side of Hermitage, across from the VCU Athletic Village planned to replace the Virginia ABC headquarters.

Future land use designations in Richmond 300 recommend mixed-use development throughout the Greater Scott’s Addition area.

The central park-like area would include a greenway with a bridge crossing the tracks, event and gathering areas, and park space stretching across Hermitage as far east as Allen Avenue, according to Richmond 300 renderings.

Sports Backers Stadium, which VCU owns, is not shown in the rendering, though plans for the athletic village include a soccer stadium and track and field complex.

The intent declaration would be followed with notification to affected property owners of the proposed rezoning, community meetings in March, and public hearings and potential adoption in April and May. Hearings would be held at a future commission meeting and before a council vote.

Meanwhile, councilmembers are currently compiling proposed amendments to the Richmond 300 plan, which several members found lacking in certain areas. Last week, members reviewed their amendments with legal counsel en route to a formal proposal at a future meeting.

Public Safety Building sale, Monroe Ward tower on agenda

Also on the commission’s agenda Tuesday are ordinances relating to the city’s proposed sale of the Public Safety Building at 500 N. 10th St. to Capital City Partners, which plans to develop a 20-story, VCU Health-anchored tower and mixed-use office complex on the 3-acre site. The transaction would total $3.52 million, with CCP assuming responsibility for all demolition and public infrastructure costs related to the $325 million project.

Other business includes a special-use permit request related to a planned 15-story student housing tower at 321 W. Grace St. in Monroe Ward. The permit, which was applied for last August, would allow a 171-unit tower and an adjoining parking structure that would replace an existing parking lot on the site. Chicago-based developer Pinecrest bought the roughly half-acre site in November for $2.5 million.

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Alan Headings
Alan Headings
2 months ago

With coming massive foreclosures and evictions resulting in covid forbearances coming due, and people not being able to pay them, and with the increases in rental prices and more onerous qualifications about to hit the market, I think the only way that’s paved in Richmond city, or within Scott’s addition is a way out as people leave the city for the suburbs not affected by riots and incompetent City leadership. The proposals people are requesting are from buyers of homes being sold all around a dying City, where at least half the population surrounding it will never visit again.

SA Chaplin
SA Chaplin
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Headings

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

~Yogi Berra

Jackson Joyner
Jackson Joyner
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Headings

So Alan, is your suggestion to do nothing because bad things might happen in the future? You probably are better off living in the suburbs and dining at Outback Steakhouse on special occasions.

John Gerencser
John Gerencser
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Headings

Seriously Alan, if it wasn’t for the city of Richmond, the counties would still be backwaters. BTW, I grew up in Chesterfield, and to this day it does not offer any cultural amenities. It is a suburb of Richmond, filled with strip malls, and very bad architecture. Henrico especially hard by the border of Richmond still has a city feel to it, and they are working on that. Look at the area adjacent to Scott’s Addition which Henrico is now trying to promote as S.A. II. Granted the city has its management issues, (and not a few), had its demonstrations… Read more »

Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Headings

That has to be the most irresponsibly negative comment I’ve read on BizSense in its history. Perhaps, Alan is is trying to break the all-time record for down votes? “Massive foreclosures”? “More onerous qualifications”? The City revenues are hitting historic highs and incredible new developments are being announced monthly. Apartment occupancies still hover in the mid ’90’s. The best days for this city are ahead of us as we vaccinate the populace and recover from this pandemic.

Roger Turner
Roger Turner
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan Headings

Not saying I agree with Alan’s stance but my gosh those comments about “staying” away and eating at Outback and Applebee’s really amused me. I guess the fans of the City of Richmond think they are much too cultured to eat at chain restaurants? I think it’s ironic that the “Trendy” restaurants that everyone seems to love one day always seem to disappear after a few years. From a business point of view I can’t think of many restaurants in the city that have been successful for as long as Outback.

John Gerencser
John Gerencser
2 months ago
Reply to  Roger Turner

Roger, nothing to do with culture, everything to do with uniformity. That defines the suburbs, corporate America’s takeover of our lives. The cities offer the diversity that allows experimentation and new ideas. Applebees and Outback serve their purpose, good food at a decent price, but sameness everywhere. Non chain restaurants do not survive as long as chains; they simply don’t have the financial strength and numbers of chains, but they do offer vastly more variety. My two cents.

Paul Schmidt
Paul Schmidt
2 months ago
Reply to  John Gerencser

Raucous applause. Oh, and chain food is largely garbage, intentionally made bland so as not to offend anyone.

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
2 months ago

Richmond Upzoning the land for taller buildings is helping keep Apartment Rents in check. The reason why so many Califronia Cities are in a mess with their housing is they didn’t up zone properly to create more housing.