Dominion issues RFP for previously imploded downtown site

The site left over from the implosion of One James River Plaza, as seen last year.

Two years after imploding its old One James River Plaza office tower and one year after pulling the plug on plans for a new building in its place, Dominion Energy is taking the next step in deciding the downtown parcel’s future.

The utility giant has issued a request for proposals for the vacant 2-acre site at 701 E. Cary St.

Last week Dominion spokesman Ryan Frazier confirmed that the RFP has been issued but said he could not provide any further details, including what potential use might be in mind or whether Dominion intends to sell the land as part of the process or be part of whatever project is chosen.

A rendering of the two towers. The one to the left, 600 Canal, has since been built but 700 Canal on the right has been scrapped. (BizSense file)

The site was left blank after the May 2020 implosion that brought down the 21-story One James building. It sits adjacent to 600 Canal Place, the 20-story, glass-facade headquarters Dominion built in 2019. The One James site was once intended to house a sister tower called 700 Canal Place, however those plans were scrapped last spring in light of changing work-from-home trends and a decrease of Dominion’s downtown headcount after the sale of its natural gas business to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

The property has since been cleaned up and leveled out and now sits idle in the heart of downtown.

The parcel is owned by an entity tied to Dominion and was most recently assessed by the city at $10 million. It’s zoned B-4 Central Business District, a designation that doesn’t have a maximum height restriction.

In addition to 600 Canal, Dominion also owns two other downtown offices, including a 20-story tower at 705 E. Main St. and three buildings at 120 Tredegar St. along the river. It listed the Main Street tower for sale last year, according to news reports.

The company also is looking to make moves with some of its real estate in the Fan. Last summer it listed for sale 4.6 acres of land it owns 2400 and 2501 Grayland Ave. Frazier would not comment on the status of that listing.

The site left over from the implosion of One James River Plaza, as seen last year.

Two years after imploding its old One James River Plaza office tower and one year after pulling the plug on plans for a new building in its place, Dominion Energy is taking the next step in deciding the downtown parcel’s future.

The utility giant has issued a request for proposals for the vacant 2-acre site at 701 E. Cary St.

Last week Dominion spokesman Ryan Frazier confirmed that the RFP has been issued but said he could not provide any further details, including what potential use might be in mind or whether Dominion intends to sell the land as part of the process or be part of whatever project is chosen.

A rendering of the two towers. The one to the left, 600 Canal, has since been built but 700 Canal on the right has been scrapped. (BizSense file)

The site was left blank after the May 2020 implosion that brought down the 21-story One James building. It sits adjacent to 600 Canal Place, the 20-story, glass-facade headquarters Dominion built in 2019. The One James site was once intended to house a sister tower called 700 Canal Place, however those plans were scrapped last spring in light of changing work-from-home trends and a decrease of Dominion’s downtown headcount after the sale of its natural gas business to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

The property has since been cleaned up and leveled out and now sits idle in the heart of downtown.

The parcel is owned by an entity tied to Dominion and was most recently assessed by the city at $10 million. It’s zoned B-4 Central Business District, a designation that doesn’t have a maximum height restriction.

In addition to 600 Canal, Dominion also owns two other downtown offices, including a 20-story tower at 705 E. Main St. and three buildings at 120 Tredegar St. along the river. It listed the Main Street tower for sale last year, according to news reports.

The company also is looking to make moves with some of its real estate in the Fan. Last summer it listed for sale 4.6 acres of land it owns 2400 and 2501 Grayland Ave. Frazier would not comment on the status of that listing.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
1 month ago

Yet another prime city property available for redevelopment, adding to Mayo Island, the Diamond District,the Coliseum site, the Rivers Edge site, the parking lots at the theatres on Arthur Ashe Blvd, and further up West Broad, the Genworth 45 acres at Glenside. Properties are on the move in Richmond!

Eric Viking
Eric Viking
1 month ago

This is THE perfect place for a Richmond signature tower! Anything less would be devastating and a waste of prime real estate. Only problem – I don’t know of any companies looking to move to Richmond wanting to build such a tower (wished JP Morgan was looking to relocate their HQ. here). Not sure any companies already here would be interested in a move downtown with deep enough pockets. Capital One? Anyone?

Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric Viking

The Greater Richmond Partnership will know if there’s that level of a prospect available.

Thaeron Bassett
Thaeron Bassett
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric Viking

Richmond Signature Tower? They will not let anyone build anything over 25 stories.. Richmond is small minded and there is gonna be some opposition because someone view to the River is gonna be obscured.

Mark Slater
Mark Slater
1 month ago

Please give us an example of a company that wanted to build taller than 25 stories in downtown Richmond but was turned away.

Joey Perry
Joey Perry
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Slater

Nothing surprises me from the nimbys in Richmond anymore. They will find something to persuade the city to not build anything tall or grand. They are the king of disinformation in Richmond. If nimbys were to write a book on a million reasons why to not build something it would be like adding 2 plus 2 to them. I’ve never seen a group of nimbys anywhere in the United States like I have here in Richmond. We have to be the number one city in the country for nimbys. It’s just sad based on how much Richmond could have had… Read more »

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
1 month ago
Reply to  Joey Perry

I get what you are saying. Not sure Richmond is the WORST though… I think the problem is that they don’t have much context and tend to be conservative in a non-political way that they don’t even see. There is also a long history of social conflict here that doesn’t help the present to remain stubbornly mired in. But this is all true in other areas. That is why things in the Mountain states for instance are able to boom and be amazing so quickly — so little history, and few complainers and parasites —- it’s why Richmond and Charleston… Read more »

Jackson Joyner
Jackson Joyner
1 month ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

What?

Mark Slater
Mark Slater
1 month ago
Reply to  Joey Perry

Who is stopping builders from building tall buildings? It’s all about economics. Such tall buildings are exponentially expensive. And as for affordable housing like starter homes, no one wants to build this either because it’s not profitable. Just for the record, I would love to see more of both.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mark Slater
Robbie Asplund
Robbie Asplund
1 month ago

CoStar clearly isn’t having problems with 26 stories…

Polgar Concertado
Polgar Concertado
1 month ago

I don’t know if Richmond has the public transit infrastructure to support a tower taller than 26 stories. Imagine the size and inefficiency of the parking deck that would be needed… and how clogged the entry and exit points would be at morning and afternoon rush hour.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric Viking

Actually hoping they put affordable high density housing there

Eric Viking
Eric Viking
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

I wouldn’t mind seeing a tall mixed use tower there. Think of it – some office space, a hotel, some residential, and retail…all wrapped in one tower. We could see some significant height with something like that! Just need someone to come in and lead the effort (and take the risks, I suppose).

Peter James
Peter James
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric Viking

Agreed, Eric. I would be a fantastic addition to the skyline. Tbh, given the size of the block, I would like to see more than one tower rise on that site (look at some of the blocks in the old Financial District have two or more high rises on them). Personally, while I definitely would love to see a signature tower with significant height on this block, I hope and pray we’re not treated to yet another stand-alone “pedestal” tower – one single tall building with either a broad plaza or a smaller (4 or 5 story) flat add-on (or… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter James
Justin Fritch
Justin Fritch
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

This location is the definition of prime real estate, therefore, “affordable” housing is very unlikely and would possibly be damaging to the tax base given the potential for high value development supported here. Let us hope the City Center plan delivers on the affordable housing while this gets the office, hospitality, and/or luxury residential treatment.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric Viking

Your main point is exactly what I was thinking — though I think you go too far with “a devastating waste” if something lesser is done. But, yeah. I’ve been saying for over a decade at least that, if a big enough entity wanted to be in Richmond, they’d be smart to put up an eye catching and tall landmark — 1. I would stand out because every other tower in Richmond looks like “background” (they used Richmond as a stand-in for Stamford, CT when filming Dopesick…) waiting for a focal point and 2. My God, it’s a city that… Read more »

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
1 month ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

I don’t see the ROE

Matt Faris
Matt Faris
1 month ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

Sites in VA were used in the production in order to “help” a state and region (SW VA) affected by the “Dopesick” crisis. That, per the author of the book and former Roanoker.