Work on a nearly half-billion dollar riverfront development got ceremoniously underway on Tuesday.
CoStar Group broke ground on its $460 million office complex at 600 Tredegar St.
The campus will include a 26-story office tower and a six-story multipurpose building near Brown’s Island. Spanning 750,000 square feet, the complex will rise on a four-acre grassy area that the D.C.-based real estate data firm bought in 2020 for $20 million.
The new buildings will be adjacent to CoStar’s current local office building at 501 S. 5th St., which it moved into in 2016 and bought last year for $130 million.
Connecticut-based Pickard Chilton is the project’s architect, and Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. is the general contractor.
CoStar announced its plans for the campus last year, along with its intention to hire an additional 2,000 employees to work in the new building. Founder and CEO Andy Florance said Tuesday the company currently has 1,500 employees in Richmond and 5,300 companywide.
Once completed, CoStar’s building will be the highest above sea level in Richmond, and it might become the tallest if the James Monroe Building winds up getting demolished as the state prepares to replace it.
Florance said Tuesday’s event was “One shovel in the ground for coming back together, working together and being more productive,” referencing the company’s goal to have its employees back in the office.
Government officials including Mayor Levar Stoney, Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Richmond Councilwoman Ellen Robertson and Economic Development Director Leonard Sledge also spoke at Tuesday’s event.
Public-facing entertainment spaces are also part of the plan for the new complex. The six-story multipurpose building will have room for restaurants, for which Florance said they’re “going to seek our great culinary partners in the city.”
The project will also include an amphitheater that Florance said will be a good bit smaller than the one being planned just down the street by a group led by Coran Capshaw.
“Our amphitheater is more modest than the one over there. Ours is 400 to 500 (seats),” Florance said. “We’ll do smaller, more intimate (events).” The Capshaw venue would have a capacity of 7,500.
As it waits for the new office tower to be built, CoStar also is working on new office space south of the river. Earlier this year it bought the former SunTrust Mortgage office building at 901 Semmes Ave. for $20 million. Florance said the company is in the process of renovating it as they look to move in in about a year.
He added that CoStar may eventually look to redevelop its Manchester land.
“Our thought is once we build this campus, we’ll probably redevelop (the SunTrust land) for housing. You can do some really wonderful housing there, unless we need more office space,” he said.
Aside from the sizable campus development and its deals for the Manchester and downtown office buildings, CoStar’s appetite for Richmond real estate may not yet be sated.
During his remarks to the crowd on Tuesday, Florance talked, seemingly in jest, about wanting to build second and third towers in Richmond after the first one’s completed.
Asked after the event just how serious he was about such an undertaking, Florance said, “We have to build the first one but yeah, we grew 25 percent this year in staff. I think we’ll fill the building.”
“I do have a map of the city up on the wall,” he said, laughing. “And I am looking at things that are parking lots that could be something else. But it’s over time.”