On a busy night with a packed agenda, the Richmond City Council on Monday signed off on several development projects and formally gave city residents the ultimate say on the future of a proposed Southside casino.
The council voted to put a referendum on the Nov. 2 ballot, through which city residents will decide whether to grant a casino license to Urban One.
The Maryland-based media company is seeking permission to build a $600 million resort casino on 55 acres of Philip Morris-owned land at 2001 Walmsley Blvd. Urban One is working with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment on the project, and the duo were announced as the winning proposal last month.
The council vote to send the project to a referendum was 8-1, with Katherine Jordan against it.
Five other development proposals were given the council’s blessing at Monday’s meeting, including Hourigan Development’s request to rezone 2-4 Manchester Road, currently home to vacant Southern States silos.
Last summer, Hourigan began planning to raze the silos to make way for a project that could reach over 20 stories.
Now that the land’s been rezoned, CEO Mark Hourigan said they’ll begin finalizing the building’s exact uses and specs. He said they’re leaning toward office, residential or a mix of uses.
“It would be an ideal headquarters location for a business, I think, for two reasons: One, you’re looking into the skyline of Richmond, which I think is a beautiful view along the river,” Hourigan said. “But interestingly, everyone downtown is looking at you as well because you’re the only location across the way. I also think it’s a very nice higher-end residential opportunity.”
Hourigan said they don’t have a timeline set for the silos’ demolition, which he said would not involve an implosion.
“For a lot of people it’s a landmark. You always know where the Southern States silos are when you’re coming through there,” Hourigan said.
However, he said, “You just can’t do anything with them. Their useful life has come to an end.”
Also on the Southside, the council approved a special-use permit for 1005 Westover Hills Blvd., where Danielle and Zach Kennedy of local development firm Upward Builders are seeking to build a three-story mixed-use building with commercial space on the ground floor and apartments or condos above it.
The triangular, 0.25-acre lot is currently green space and is within eyeshot of Westover Hills Boulevard’s intersection with Forest Hill Avenue.
North of the river, the council also approved a rezoning at 1801 E. Main St., a Shockoe Bottom parking lot purchased last year for $1.9 million by Samuel Spiritos, a Northern Virginia attorney who’s also dabbled in development. The site was rezoned to TOD-1 Transit-Oriented Nodal District, which allows for up to 12 stories and a mix of uses.
Rob Benaicha, an attorney with Hirschler who represented Spiritos in the rezoning effort, previously said his client’s planning a mixed-use project for the site, but specifics have not been disclosed.
Another development that would replace a parking lot, this time on Monument Avenue, also got the nod from the council on Monday.
A special-use permit for the International Mission Board’s 263-unit apartment complex at 3806 Monument Ave. was approved. The IMB is working with Ohio developer Silver Hills Development to build a pair of five-story buildings on the lot.
Lastly, over in Jackson Ward, the council signed off on a resolution to allow Richmond Seltzer Co. to brew alcoholic seltzer at Stoplight Gelato Cafe’s building at 405 Brook Road.
Richmond Seltzer Co. was one of two hard seltzer companies founded last year, but has not had a brick-and-mortar presence until the Stoplight deal materialized.