The year in CRE: City development recap for 2022

Development in the city of Richmond stayed red-hot in 2022, with plans for thousands of new apartments and other large projects coming to light and taking shape over the course of the year. While the surrounding counties also saw plenty of action, we’ll focus here on what happened in 2022 in the city’s busiest neighborhoods.

The Diamond District and Scott’s Addition

An illustrative rendering of the Diamond District development as it would appear along Arthur Ashe Boulevard.

The biggest development story of 2022 was the Diamond District, the 67-acre, city-owned tract that’s been touted as one of the most fertile development grounds along all of Interstate 95.

Fifteen development teams threw their hats in the ring for the right to develop the land, but in September the city selected RVA Diamond Partners to take on the $2.4 billion project that will include a new stadium for the Richmond Flying Squirrels. The project, which faces a tight deadline, is now making its way through city hall.

Construction has yet to begin on the Diamond District, but the area around it is already starting to evolve.

Thalhimer Realty Partners, which is part of RVA Diamond Partners, started work this year on Scott’s Walk, a retail development across from The Diamond, and has multiple apartment buildings in the works in the area. VCU Athletics finished assembling the land it needed for its 41-acre athletics village when it bought the former ABC headquarters in June, and a Texas-based developer is in the process of redeveloping the Quality Inn north of The Diamond.

Across the train tracks to the south, the continued redevelopment of Scott’s Addition’s historic district continued apace. D.C.-based Level 2 Development and SJG Properties filed plans for their sizable Leigh Addition project that’s set to rise along Arthur Ashe Boulevard, and also bought part of the nearby Movieland property for $15.5 million, where they’re planning nearly 400 apartments.

Capital Square wrapped up work on its three-building Scott’s Collection project and is already looking to its next major project in the neighborhood: the redevelopment of the 3-acre N. Chasen & Son property. Capital Square had also been planning a food hall in Scott’s Addition, however it punted those plans over to EAT Restaurant Partners.

Downtown

A rendering of the new CoStar complex. (Courtesy of CoStar)

The Diamond District isn’t the only major city-led project to get its wheels turning in 2022, as five firms recently responded to the city’s request for proposals to redevelop the nine acres that include the Richmond Coliseum downtown.

Over near the riverfront, CoStar Group broke ground on its 26-story office tower that would be the tallest building in the city. Plans also emerged for a 7,500-seat outdoor amphitheater that would offer views of both the James River and the city’s skyline from behind the Tredegar Iron Works complex.

A possible trend that emerged in 2022 was the planned conversion of aging downtown office towers into apartments. The Vakos Cos. filed plans to turn the 17-story Wytestone Plaza into over 300 apartments, while Genesis Properties is looking to do the same to Dominion Energy’s Eighth & Main office building. Genesis is also planning to build an additional 300 units on top of a nearby Dominion-owned parking deck.

Speaking of Dominion and parking structures, in the spring the energy goliath issued an RFP for the site of its imploded One James River Plaza, and in the fall unveiled that it’ll be turning the 2-acre site into a “clean energy park” with 28 charging stations for electric vehicles.

Monroe Ward and Jackson Ward

Renderings of the planned building, which would reach eight stories along Broad Street.

The neighborhoods lining Richmond’s Arts District saw plenty of developer attention in 2022.

Bank Street Advisors, the local firm behind the Quirk Hotel, Common House and more, filed plans for an 8-story building facing Broad Street in September. A few weeks later Bank Street closed on a pair of deals that further added to its holdings in Monroe Ward.

Changes to the downtown YMCA also continued moving forward as the team planning to redevelop the Y and its surrounding parking lots closed on that land in the fall.

Philadelphia-based Parkway Corp. began rethinking its plans for Richmond this year, backing out of plans for a 12-story apartment building on East Marshall Street. That building, however, is still scheduled to rise, thanks to local development firm SNP Properties. Meanwhile on Grace Street, a mystery developer filed plans for a 15-story building to rise on a Parkway-owned lot near the Y.

After years of accruing buildings along Broad Street in Jackson Ward and Monroe Ward, Douglas Development kicked off renovations on two of its properties in the neighborhood. Douglas also added to its holdings with the acquisitions of the Massad House Hotel and Tiffanie’s Manor buildings.

Manchester

A rendering of the project that’s planned to replace the Southern States silos. The project ncludes a 20-story residential tower. (BizSense file photo)

The Southside neighborhood is shaping up to have its own skyline,  thanks to the projects announced in 2022.

Hourigan Development unveiled its plans to replace the Southern States silos with a 20-story apartment tower and a 6-story office building. Next to Legend Brewing, Brooklyn-based Avery Hall Investments began planning a pair of apartment towers on the River’s Edge II site that would reach 16 and 17 stories. Avery Hall’s project, however, has drawn pushback from some in the neighborhood since it would partially obstruct the view from Legend Brewing Co.’s patio.

On Hull Street, Thalhimer Realty Partners filed plans to replace the Sampson Coatings building with a 250-unit apartment building, work began on a scaled-down version of the second phase of PortRVA, and SNP Properties bought the former Southside Hardware building for a planned renovation.

In addition to its nearly half-billion-dollar office tower rising across the river, CoStar also spent $20 million on the former SunTrust Mortgage building on Semmes Avenue, a site that’s across from the largest swath of land to go on the market in Manchester in recent years.

It may not be in Manchester, but another Southside deal of note in 2022 was the $14.6 million sale of Stony Point Fashion Park to Second Horizon Capital, a Florida firm with a history of redeveloping large, underutilized properties.

BizSense Development Tracker

Scott’s Addition/Diamond District

In an effort to help readers keep track of all the development happening in the region, this year BizSense introduced our Development Tracker. These interactive maps show what’s happening where, who’s involved, and where each project stands. Here’s a link to the maps.

Development in the city of Richmond stayed red-hot in 2022, with plans for thousands of new apartments and other large projects coming to light and taking shape over the course of the year. While the surrounding counties also saw plenty of action, we’ll focus here on what happened in 2022 in the city’s busiest neighborhoods.

The Diamond District and Scott’s Addition

An illustrative rendering of the Diamond District development as it would appear along Arthur Ashe Boulevard.

The biggest development story of 2022 was the Diamond District, the 67-acre, city-owned tract that’s been touted as one of the most fertile development grounds along all of Interstate 95.

Fifteen development teams threw their hats in the ring for the right to develop the land, but in September the city selected RVA Diamond Partners to take on the $2.4 billion project that will include a new stadium for the Richmond Flying Squirrels. The project, which faces a tight deadline, is now making its way through city hall.

Construction has yet to begin on the Diamond District, but the area around it is already starting to evolve.

Thalhimer Realty Partners, which is part of RVA Diamond Partners, started work this year on Scott’s Walk, a retail development across from The Diamond, and has multiple apartment buildings in the works in the area. VCU Athletics finished assembling the land it needed for its 41-acre athletics village when it bought the former ABC headquarters in June, and a Texas-based developer is in the process of redeveloping the Quality Inn north of The Diamond.

Across the train tracks to the south, the continued redevelopment of Scott’s Addition’s historic district continued apace. D.C.-based Level 2 Development and SJG Properties filed plans for their sizable Leigh Addition project that’s set to rise along Arthur Ashe Boulevard, and also bought part of the nearby Movieland property for $15.5 million, where they’re planning nearly 400 apartments.

Capital Square wrapped up work on its three-building Scott’s Collection project and is already looking to its next major project in the neighborhood: the redevelopment of the 3-acre N. Chasen & Son property. Capital Square had also been planning a food hall in Scott’s Addition, however it punted those plans over to EAT Restaurant Partners.

Downtown

A rendering of the new CoStar complex. (Courtesy of CoStar)

The Diamond District isn’t the only major city-led project to get its wheels turning in 2022, as five firms recently responded to the city’s request for proposals to redevelop the nine acres that include the Richmond Coliseum downtown.

Over near the riverfront, CoStar Group broke ground on its 26-story office tower that would be the tallest building in the city. Plans also emerged for a 7,500-seat outdoor amphitheater that would offer views of both the James River and the city’s skyline from behind the Tredegar Iron Works complex.

A possible trend that emerged in 2022 was the planned conversion of aging downtown office towers into apartments. The Vakos Cos. filed plans to turn the 17-story Wytestone Plaza into over 300 apartments, while Genesis Properties is looking to do the same to Dominion Energy’s Eighth & Main office building. Genesis is also planning to build an additional 300 units on top of a nearby Dominion-owned parking deck.

Speaking of Dominion and parking structures, in the spring the energy goliath issued an RFP for the site of its imploded One James River Plaza, and in the fall unveiled that it’ll be turning the 2-acre site into a “clean energy park” with 28 charging stations for electric vehicles.

Monroe Ward and Jackson Ward

Renderings of the planned building, which would reach eight stories along Broad Street.

The neighborhoods lining Richmond’s Arts District saw plenty of developer attention in 2022.

Bank Street Advisors, the local firm behind the Quirk Hotel, Common House and more, filed plans for an 8-story building facing Broad Street in September. A few weeks later Bank Street closed on a pair of deals that further added to its holdings in Monroe Ward.

Changes to the downtown YMCA also continued moving forward as the team planning to redevelop the Y and its surrounding parking lots closed on that land in the fall.

Philadelphia-based Parkway Corp. began rethinking its plans for Richmond this year, backing out of plans for a 12-story apartment building on East Marshall Street. That building, however, is still scheduled to rise, thanks to local development firm SNP Properties. Meanwhile on Grace Street, a mystery developer filed plans for a 15-story building to rise on a Parkway-owned lot near the Y.

After years of accruing buildings along Broad Street in Jackson Ward and Monroe Ward, Douglas Development kicked off renovations on two of its properties in the neighborhood. Douglas also added to its holdings with the acquisitions of the Massad House Hotel and Tiffanie’s Manor buildings.

Manchester

A rendering of the project that’s planned to replace the Southern States silos. The project ncludes a 20-story residential tower. (BizSense file photo)

The Southside neighborhood is shaping up to have its own skyline,  thanks to the projects announced in 2022.

Hourigan Development unveiled its plans to replace the Southern States silos with a 20-story apartment tower and a 6-story office building. Next to Legend Brewing, Brooklyn-based Avery Hall Investments began planning a pair of apartment towers on the River’s Edge II site that would reach 16 and 17 stories. Avery Hall’s project, however, has drawn pushback from some in the neighborhood since it would partially obstruct the view from Legend Brewing Co.’s patio.

On Hull Street, Thalhimer Realty Partners filed plans to replace the Sampson Coatings building with a 250-unit apartment building, work began on a scaled-down version of the second phase of PortRVA, and SNP Properties bought the former Southside Hardware building for a planned renovation.

In addition to its nearly half-billion-dollar office tower rising across the river, CoStar also spent $20 million on the former SunTrust Mortgage building on Semmes Avenue, a site that’s across from the largest swath of land to go on the market in Manchester in recent years.

It may not be in Manchester, but another Southside deal of note in 2022 was the $14.6 million sale of Stony Point Fashion Park to Second Horizon Capital, a Florida firm with a history of redeveloping large, underutilized properties.

BizSense Development Tracker

Scott’s Addition/Diamond District

In an effort to help readers keep track of all the development happening in the region, this year BizSense introduced our Development Tracker. These interactive maps show what’s happening where, who’s involved, and where each project stands. Here’s a link to the maps.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
1 month ago

The City population is growing at a about a rate of 10,000 per year which is phenomenal. Obviously, new for-sale housing isn’t absorbing much of that growth, so it’s contributing to the growth of rental housing. Rent growth has been tremendous with some top of the line communities increasing rents 15-17% last year alone. The city staff has finally grown as well in response to the increased demand and its Planning and Permitting budget is no longer a for-profit line item as its meeting the needs of the development community for the first time in memory. Its cut the approval… Read more »

SA Chaplin
SA Chaplin
1 month ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

Still lagging behind is a coordinated plan to provide affordable housing opportunities for families and the aged.”

Discussion needs to be had regarding the extent to which city government should provide/subsidize housing. This is charity, and though charity is virtuous, it should begin at home, as the saying goes. (Also, it is easier to be charitable when spending other people’s money.) One consideration (among many) is: should the City of Richmond taxpayers provide housing subsidies for someone moving from, say, Hanover? How about from Raleigh? 

Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
1 month ago
Reply to  SA Chaplin

A tax rebate is not a subsidy. It’s a way to partially return money already paid by the property owner back to it for providing a much needed service to the city. They’ll be housing school teachers, first responders, and seniors who’ll be able to stay within their communities after their income productive lives have waned. And there are plenty of eligible poor in the City who need safe, affordable housing provided by non-profits that are finding that the fast rising assessments are making their task impossible.

Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
1 month ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

I read the statistic without analysis. You are probably correct.

Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
1 month ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

Meant for Peter James!

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
1 month ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

I have to say Mr Milam that, whoever you are, I have really come to appreciate your commentary as a great combo of reasoned optimism and comprehensive knowledge. Thanks for commenting. On this latest note, there is a lot to this issue of City workers and nurses problem going on in a lot of desirable metros. I used to mock these concerns in places like Richmond circa 2003 because housing for these people was only unattainable WHERE they wanted to live, since there was ABUNDANT housing available to people in these income brackets that they felt they were too good… Read more »

Peter James
Peter James
1 month ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

Bruce – good points all the way around. One point I’d like to counter: I think you mean the METRO population is growing at the rate of 10,000 per year – not the city population. For the city to grow at that rate is more akin to Charlotte or Austin-level growth (which I am 100% in favor of!) but, unfortunately, we’re nowhere near that level of supercharged growth in the city proper.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter James

Yeah, Richmond is a bit more like Dallas — growing, but not nearly as fast as the munis that surround it that few outside of Texas have ever heard of — those areas are growing enormously, while counties outside of Richmond are growing at nearly the top pace in all VA, last I checked only Loudon was growing faster,

Brian Glass
Brian Glass
1 month ago

Hopefully BizSense will follow up with projects in Henrico and Chesterfield. Keep in mind that a shovel hasn’t been placed in the ground in the Diamond District but Henrico is transforming Virginia Center Commons right now, with other projects in the works including a replacement for the Coliseum, with a new “ city, “ and the redevelopment of the former Best Products HQ to name only two.

Peter James
Peter James
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian Glass

Respectfully, I must push back because I honestly don’t see any point to your comments – at all. First: would it not make sense to expect RBS will in fact have a CRE/business review for either the suburbs or for the metro region as a whole? We can’t have any kind of 2022 review without mention of LEGO coming to the metro. How about giving RBS some time to publish the complete series of reviews before levying complaints about lack of mention of what’s happening in the suburbs? Second: So the spotlight – in this one article – is shining… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter James
karl hott
karl hott
1 month ago

Summarizing a year’s worth of activity will hopefully quiet the skeptics who bemoan the state of Richmond (occasionally with racial undertones). The city emerged from the pandemic on good footing. The future looks bright. Now let’s do something about the exorbitant property tax rate.

Peter James
Peter James
1 month ago
Reply to  karl hott

AMEN!!! Well said! 👍🙂

Lucas Deblock
Lucas Deblock
1 month ago

It’s really key that the city requires retail space at the ground level of most of these buildings under development. I’m tired of all the ‘dead zones’ throughout Richmond. It’s key to making the city truly walkable.