Note: This story has been updated with comments from VCU and to clarify the proposed heights of the buildings. The heights are now presented based on feet above ground. An earlier version incorrectly described the number of stories for the tower.
A proposed high-rise development in downtown Richmond won’t be rising quite as high as originally planned.
Plans submitted this month to the city by Capital City Partners for its project to replace the city’s Public Safety Building at 500 N. 10th St. shows a three-building complex with a seven-level tower — shorter than the 20-story structure originally proposed.
The roof of the tower would reach 123 feet above ground level, according to the plans.
A reason for the reduction was not clear. Capital City Partners’ Michael Hallmark said the group would not comment on the plans at this time.
The 20-story tower was originally proposed with VCU Health as an anchor tenant. The latest development plan does not mention VCU, while it does name The Doorways and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Richmond. The local nonprofits were previously announced as anchors for the two smaller buildings.
A request to VCU to verify whether it’s still part of the project was fulfilled after this story published. A spokeswoman said Friday that VCU’s “commitment to be part of the redevelopment project is steadfast.”
The two smaller buildings, originally proposed at about nine stories in height, are also shorter. The Doorways building is now shown as seven floors, while the RMHC building would come in at six, according to the plans. The heights of those buildings would be 84 and 73 feet, respectively, from the south side where an extension of Clay Street is planned.
The overall square-footage of the project is adjusted as well. Originally totaling 545,000 square feet, the square footage now totals 463,000 square feet, excluding parking. With the four-level basement parking included, the total building area would total 657,000 gross square feet, according to the plans.
It’s not clear how the adjusted size affects the overall cost of the development, or its anticipated real estate tax revenue. The development had been projected at $325 million, with annual tax revenue of nearly $60 million over the first 25 years.
A notable change in the project is the addition of laboratory space, which was not part of the original proposal. That apparently replaces 240,000 square feet of office space that was most recently proposed, 150,000 of which was to be used by VCU Health to support its nearby Children’s Hospital Pavilion and the recently completed Adult Outpatient Pavilion building next door.
The Adult Outpatient Building, across 10th at 1001 E. Leigh St., is 17 stories tall.
The project still includes new facilities for The Doorways and RMHC, as well as childcare space that had been planned for VCU employees.
Ground-level retail space that was to include a pharmacy appears to have been eliminated.
Capital City Partners is led by Hallmark and Susan Eastridge, the development design team behind the failed Navy Hill plan and the approved $2.3 billion GreenCity project in Henrico. Hallmark leads Richmond-based urban planning firm Future Cities, and Eastridge is president of Fairfax-based development firm Concord Eastridge.
KieranTimberlake, a Philadelphia-based architect, is designing the CCP project along with Richmond-based SMBW. VHB is handling site civil engineering and transportation planning, and Waterstreet Studio is handling streetscape and landscape design. Other engineering firms involved include Silman and Buro Happold, and Dharam Consulting is handling cost estimating.
Other firms that have been involved in the project include Richmond-based Sustainable Design Consulting and Chicago-based Omni Ecosystems. DPR Construction and Richmond-based Canterbury Enterprises have been lined up as the contractors on the project.
CCP purchased the 3-acre property last July for $3.5 million, in accordance with a deal it reached with the city that called for CCP to assume responsibility for all demolition and public infrastructure costs. City offices that had been in the Public Safety Building have been relocated, and asbestos abatement work on the 68-year-old building has been underway in recent months.
The deal calls for demolition to start two months after the development plan’s submission. In an interview in late January, Hallmark said demolition was expected to start this spring, with construction starting later this year. According to the deal, the development is projected for completion within 45 months after closing on the property.