Updated: Diamond District solicitation attracts 15 developer responses

Developers interested in Richmond's Diamond District

The 60-plus acres are bordered by Arthur Ashe Boulevard, Hermitage Road, the interstate and the railroad tracks. (BizSense file)

Richmond’s Diamond District redevelopment project has officially garnered interest from more than a dozen development teams.

A total of 15 responses were received by Tuesday’s deadline for responses to the city’s solicitation for interest in the stadium-anchored, mixed-use development that would include a replacement of The Diamond baseball stadium.

The city announced the results Wednesday afternoon.

Respondents include a mix of local and out-of-town firms, some responding under their own name and others under newly created team names.

The respondents include:

4Most Sport Group, a Pennsylvania-based outdoor athletic field construction and management firm.

Acquest Realty Advisors, a Michigan-based real estate advisory firm. A similar-named firm, New York-based Acquest Development, was among firms that took part in the project’s pre-submission meeting in January.

Diamond District Gateway Partners, consisting of local real estate investment firm Capital Square, D.C.-based developers Dantes Partners and Hoffman & Associates, Maryland-based real estate firm The Velocity Cos., local architecture firm Baskervill and Missouri-based architecture firm Pendulum.

Diamond Legacy Partnership

Edgemoor-Gotham Ballpark Partners. Attendees at January’s pre-submission meeting included Bethesda, Maryland-based Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate.

Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners, a D.C.-based development firm.

MAG Partners, a New York City-based developer.

Metropolitan Virginia VIII LLC, a name reserved with the State Corporation Commission last week by Cary Euwer Jr., president of Baltimore, Maryland-based developer Metropolitan Partnership Ltd.

Richmond Community Development Partners

Rising Tide RVA LLC, tied to Glen Allen-based Commonwealth Commercial Partners.

RVA Diamond Partners

Turnbridge Equities, a New York City-based real estate agency.

Urban Atlantic, a Bethesda-based real estate developer.

Vision300 Partners LLC, a Richmond-based team that includes developer Freehold Communities, locally based staffing firm Astyra Corp., housing nonprofit Better Housing Coalition, construction firm Canterbury Enterprises, building firm Hourigan, Metropolitan Business League, Shamin Hotels, developer Spy Rock Real Estate Group, YMCA of Greater Richmond, and local sports group Sports United Ltd.

Out-of-town firms on the Vision300 Partners team include Toronto, Canada-based Brookfield Asset Management; Atlanta-based developer Greenstone Properties; Dallas, Texas-based developer KDC; and Florida-based Kodjoe Family Foundation.

Weller Development Company and LMXD – Weller is a Baltimore-based developer; LMXD is affiliated with New York-based L+M Development Partners.

The teams could include multiple firms. More than 100 firms were represented in a pre-submission meeting on the project in January.

Rob Hargett, a principal with Richmond development firm Rebkee who has previously expressed interest in the site, said his firm is not among the respondents.

Maritza Pechin, the city’s project manager for the Diamond District, said Wednesday that the city was pleased with the number of responses received.

“We knew it was a good site, and the level of interest we received shows that,” she said.

The area that makes up the Diamond District includes the namesake baseball stadium and nearby Sports Backers Stadium. (BizSense file)

The solicitation is the latest push in a yearslong effort to replace The Diamond and develop city-owned land around it. The 67-acre site includes the VCU-owned Sports Backers Stadium, the functions of which are expected to be replaced — along with the Arthur Ashe Jr. Athletic Center — by VCU’s planned athletic village complex across Hermitage Road.

The Richmond Flying Squirrels, the local Double-A club that’s been promised a new ballpark since its arrival in 2010, needs a new stadium by the 2025 season to be compliant with new facility standards that were implemented for professional baseball last year. Renovating the 37-year-old Diamond to meet those standards is not considered feasible.

The solicitation calls for the new, 10,000-capacity stadium to be built first on grassy land along Arthur Ashe Boulevard south of The Diamond, though city officials have said they’re open to suggestions for other locations within the 67-acre site.

The city describes “an ideal project” as also including new uses such as office, residential and retail, a hotel to support those uses, and upgrades to infrastructure such as water, sewer and roads. The residential component would consist of rental and for-sale homes that would include some units targeted to lower-income households.

An evaluation panel consisting of local officials will review the responses and compile a shortlist of teams to be invited to submit proposals in April or May, with final selections to be made in the spring or summer.

Wednesday’s announcement identified the members of the panel. They include:

  • James Duval, investment and debt portfolio manager with the city’s finance department;
  • Sharon Ebert, city deputy chief administrative officer for planning and economic development;
  • Karol Kain Gray, senior vice president and CFO of VCU;
  • Katherine Jordan, City Councilmember, Second District;
  • Ann-Frances Lambert, City Councilmember, Third District;
  • Lincoln Saunders, city chief administrative officer;
  • Leonard Sledge, city economic development director;
  • Caprichia Smith Spellman, interim director, city office of community wealth building;
  • Robert Steidel, city deputy CAO for operations; and
  • Stephen Willoughby, city emergency communications director.

The panel will be advised by Matthew Welch, a city policy advisor on planning and economic development; and Lynne Lancaster, deputy director with the city’s public works department. Pechin, the project manager, will run the panel meetings and serve as a facilitator.

The submissions will be evaluated according to criteria specified in the solicitation document, which can be found on the project’s webpage. Criteria includes development team qualifications, experience with urban mixed-use projects, equitable development benefits, and project understanding and financing approach.

The public can send comments and questions to the panel via this site. Comments and questions will be reviewed every other week and distributed to the panel during the evaluation process, the city’s announcement said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly tied certain developers to Vision300 Partners LLC. The article has been updated to reflect the correct members of that team. 

Developers interested in Richmond's Diamond District

The 60-plus acres are bordered by Arthur Ashe Boulevard, Hermitage Road, the interstate and the railroad tracks. (BizSense file)

Richmond’s Diamond District redevelopment project has officially garnered interest from more than a dozen development teams.

A total of 15 responses were received by Tuesday’s deadline for responses to the city’s solicitation for interest in the stadium-anchored, mixed-use development that would include a replacement of The Diamond baseball stadium.

The city announced the results Wednesday afternoon.

Respondents include a mix of local and out-of-town firms, some responding under their own name and others under newly created team names.

The respondents include:

4Most Sport Group, a Pennsylvania-based outdoor athletic field construction and management firm.

Acquest Realty Advisors, a Michigan-based real estate advisory firm. A similar-named firm, New York-based Acquest Development, was among firms that took part in the project’s pre-submission meeting in January.

Diamond District Gateway Partners, consisting of local real estate investment firm Capital Square, D.C.-based developers Dantes Partners and Hoffman & Associates, Maryland-based real estate firm The Velocity Cos., local architecture firm Baskervill and Missouri-based architecture firm Pendulum.

Diamond Legacy Partnership

Edgemoor-Gotham Ballpark Partners. Attendees at January’s pre-submission meeting included Bethesda, Maryland-based Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate.

Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners, a D.C.-based development firm.

MAG Partners, a New York City-based developer.

Metropolitan Virginia VIII LLC, a name reserved with the State Corporation Commission last week by Cary Euwer Jr., president of Baltimore, Maryland-based developer Metropolitan Partnership Ltd.

Richmond Community Development Partners

Rising Tide RVA LLC, tied to Glen Allen-based Commonwealth Commercial Partners.

RVA Diamond Partners

Turnbridge Equities, a New York City-based real estate agency.

Urban Atlantic, a Bethesda-based real estate developer.

Vision300 Partners LLC, a Richmond-based team that includes developer Freehold Communities, locally based staffing firm Astyra Corp., housing nonprofit Better Housing Coalition, construction firm Canterbury Enterprises, building firm Hourigan, Metropolitan Business League, Shamin Hotels, developer Spy Rock Real Estate Group, YMCA of Greater Richmond, and local sports group Sports United Ltd.

Out-of-town firms on the Vision300 Partners team include Toronto, Canada-based Brookfield Asset Management; Atlanta-based developer Greenstone Properties; Dallas, Texas-based developer KDC; and Florida-based Kodjoe Family Foundation.

Weller Development Company and LMXD – Weller is a Baltimore-based developer; LMXD is affiliated with New York-based L+M Development Partners.

The teams could include multiple firms. More than 100 firms were represented in a pre-submission meeting on the project in January.

Rob Hargett, a principal with Richmond development firm Rebkee who has previously expressed interest in the site, said his firm is not among the respondents.

Maritza Pechin, the city’s project manager for the Diamond District, said Wednesday that the city was pleased with the number of responses received.

“We knew it was a good site, and the level of interest we received shows that,” she said.

The area that makes up the Diamond District includes the namesake baseball stadium and nearby Sports Backers Stadium. (BizSense file)

The solicitation is the latest push in a yearslong effort to replace The Diamond and develop city-owned land around it. The 67-acre site includes the VCU-owned Sports Backers Stadium, the functions of which are expected to be replaced — along with the Arthur Ashe Jr. Athletic Center — by VCU’s planned athletic village complex across Hermitage Road.

The Richmond Flying Squirrels, the local Double-A club that’s been promised a new ballpark since its arrival in 2010, needs a new stadium by the 2025 season to be compliant with new facility standards that were implemented for professional baseball last year. Renovating the 37-year-old Diamond to meet those standards is not considered feasible.

The solicitation calls for the new, 10,000-capacity stadium to be built first on grassy land along Arthur Ashe Boulevard south of The Diamond, though city officials have said they’re open to suggestions for other locations within the 67-acre site.

The city describes “an ideal project” as also including new uses such as office, residential and retail, a hotel to support those uses, and upgrades to infrastructure such as water, sewer and roads. The residential component would consist of rental and for-sale homes that would include some units targeted to lower-income households.

An evaluation panel consisting of local officials will review the responses and compile a shortlist of teams to be invited to submit proposals in April or May, with final selections to be made in the spring or summer.

Wednesday’s announcement identified the members of the panel. They include:

  • James Duval, investment and debt portfolio manager with the city’s finance department;
  • Sharon Ebert, city deputy chief administrative officer for planning and economic development;
  • Karol Kain Gray, senior vice president and CFO of VCU;
  • Katherine Jordan, City Councilmember, Second District;
  • Ann-Frances Lambert, City Councilmember, Third District;
  • Lincoln Saunders, city chief administrative officer;
  • Leonard Sledge, city economic development director;
  • Caprichia Smith Spellman, interim director, city office of community wealth building;
  • Robert Steidel, city deputy CAO for operations; and
  • Stephen Willoughby, city emergency communications director.

The panel will be advised by Matthew Welch, a city policy advisor on planning and economic development; and Lynne Lancaster, deputy director with the city’s public works department. Pechin, the project manager, will run the panel meetings and serve as a facilitator.

The submissions will be evaluated according to criteria specified in the solicitation document, which can be found on the project’s webpage. Criteria includes development team qualifications, experience with urban mixed-use projects, equitable development benefits, and project understanding and financing approach.

The public can send comments and questions to the panel via this site. Comments and questions will be reviewed every other week and distributed to the panel during the evaluation process, the city’s announcement said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly tied certain developers to Vision300 Partners LLC. The article has been updated to reflect the correct members of that team. 

Your subscription has expired. Renew now by choosing a subscription below!

For more informaiton, head over to your profile.

Profile


SUBSCRIBE NOW

TERMS OF SERVICE:

ALL MEMBERSHIPS RENEW AUTOMATICALLY. YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR A 1 YEAR MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL AT THE RATE IN EFFECT AT THAT TIME UNLESS YOU CANCEL YOUR MEMBERSHIP BY LOGGING IN OR BY CONTACTING [email protected]

ALL CHARGES FOR MONTHLY OR ANNUAL MEMBERSHIPS ARE NONREFUNDABLE.

EACH MEMBERSHIP WILL ONLY FUNCTION ON UP TO 3 MACHINES. ACCOUNTS ABUSING THAT LIMIT WILL BE DISCONTINUED.




Return to Homepage

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
5 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Brian Glass
Brian Glass
4 months ago

This is a big league project! The City needs to reduce this to a maximum of three contenders for a simple reason. The top three contenders will have a one third chance of being the winner. The more finalists you have the less incentive there is, for a serious proposal. For example having a one in four chance (25%) a one in five chance (20%) and so forth.

Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
4 months ago
Reply to  Brian Glass

When I get a high number of initial prospective bidders for land or apartments, I initiate a best and final bid process. There’s always a number of prospects whose bids are similarly better than another group. It gives the most aggressive prospects an opportunity to sharpen their pencils once they are aware that their bid is considered to be close. Usually round two will find one bid that will stand out in the crowd as the “black swan”, representing a need or desire that is unique in the crowd. The City should be able to find a developer in the… Read more »

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
4 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

Yep. And a proposal with Brookfield as a participant! I figured conditions here lately would sell themselves but some of these heavy hitters are what Richmond needs for such an important site.

sara marie
sara marie
4 months ago

Re: Addendum 1: Diamond District RFI – Questions and Answers: Question submitted: Any broadening discussion of women’s athletics use of stadium?  Response provided: Not at this time. VCU does not have a women’s baseball team nor a women’s softball team (softball would require a different size field). Several women’s sports will be accommodated within the VCU Athletic Village. Follow up comment for panel submitted 2/17/22: I believe that VCU does have a softball club (https://recsports.vcu.edu/programs/sport-clubs/clubs/softball/), and there are other schools, colleges, universities and community centers in and around Richmond that may also. It could be important for the public to… Read more »

Justin W Ranson
Justin W Ranson
4 months ago
Reply to  sara marie

What a shock, this post is getting downvoted. God, sometimes this city is so effing backwards it makes me a little nauseous. Shame on every one of you hiding in obscurity and clicking downvote on her comment.