After scrapping plans for an office tower on the site, Dominion Energy has decided what it wants to do with its vacant city block downtown.
The energy utility giant said Monday it intends to build a “clean energy park” at 701 E. Cary St., the 2-acre site that was left blank by the May 2020 implosion of the company’s 21-story One James River Plaza office building.
The dormant, leveled-out lot would be transformed into a site with 28 electric vehicle charging stations, all to be powered by solar panel canopies and wind turbines. The park will also have energy storage in the form of batteries, and green space for public use.
The company said it has enlisted Whiting-Turner as the project’s general contractor and Baskervill as its architect.
The announcement of the park plans comes about six months after Dominion put out an RFP for the site. The company didn’t specify publicly at the time that the RFP was for proposals for the park concept.
Dominion said it is aiming to have the project mostly complete by early 2024, subject to various approvals and reviews.
It said the vehicle chargers will be Level 3 fast-chargers, capable of providing more than 200 miles of charge in 15 minutes. Dominion said the site is expected to be one of the first such charging stations of its kind in an urban area in the U.S.
Dominion said it also plans to make the green space available for community events.
The park would mark a major change of course from what Dominion had envisioned for the site two years ago. Back then it had announced plans for a 17-story, 900,000-square-foot office tower called 700 Canal Place. It was to be a slightly smaller sister building for the company’s 600 Canal Place headquarters next door.
However, those plans were scrapped last year 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.
Asked whether plans for the park leave open the possibility for future development on the site, Dominion said it has no other plans for the property at present.
The parcel was most recently assessed by the city at $10 million. It’s zoned B-4 Central Business District.
In addition to 600 Canal, Dominion has three office buildings at 120 Tredegar St. along the river and a 20-story tower at 705 E. Main St. It is in the process of selling the Main Street building to a developer for an apartment conversion.
Dominion also has listed for sale its Fan properties at 2400 and 2501 Grayland Ave., consisting of office space and a parking garage on 4.6 acres.
The company said both the Main Street and Grayland sites are under contract in deals expected to close early next year.