The BizSense Crystal Ball: Things to watch in 2023

An aerial rendering of the proposed $2.3 billion GreenCity development. (File image courtesy Henrico County)

Will there be a recession? Will inflation improve? How high will interest rates go?

Those all are big-picture topics on the minds of many going into 2023.

But the Richmond region is at an interesting, more localized inflection point, in which a few huge projects are in the works concurrently, and all of which have the potential to have huge impacts on multiple fronts.

The biggest and most obvious of those are the Diamond District, City Center and GreenCity. All three will progress in some form during 2023 and would create new jobs, new neighborhoods and new cultural attractions.

But let’s not forget others like the reinvention of Virginia Center Commons, which will bring a new convocation center to the region.

And there’s Spring Rock Green, a dilapidated shopping center near the Chesterfield/Richmond line that could soon make way for an ice hockey-anchored makeover.

The conceptual plan for Spring Rock Green. (File image courtesy Chesterfield County)

Elsewhere in Chesterfield, there’s the future of the area around River City Sportsplex and the Southside Speedway, and there’s the Upper Magnolia site being positioned for something huge. And might we finally see vertical construction at the huge surf pool-anchored development that’s been talked about for years?

In Henrico, the county continues to ride the wave of momentum of huge data center projects, while development looks to be starting to spill into eastern Henrico.

Will growth continue to spread westward from Short Pump into Goochland? And will the Westwood area hit its stride and benefit from Scott’s Addition spillover?

Perhaps 2023 will give us a clearer view on when the region will get its first casino. Or will the battle between the cities of Richmond and Petersburg end up giving us two casinos? Or maybe none?

The New Year could give us more clarity on the state’s marijuana industry, particularly if the General Assembly takes another crack at the rollout of a recreational cannabis market.

And there’s also potential changes in the booze industry, as the state’s craft brewery trade association is planning to push the GA for something it’s long desired: the right to self-distribute its beers.

The push to make the region a hub for the pharmaceutical industry continues and looks to be gaining steam in the New Year thanks to companies like Phlow and the Alliance for Building Better Medicine.

Phlow CEO Eric Edwards (right) inside the Richmond-based pharma company’s lab in the Bio+Tech Park. (BizSense file photo)

Lost in all the action in 2022 was the fact that Stony Point Fashion Park went under new ownership. While the buyer has yet to say exactly what they’ll do with the mall, it’s sure to see some changes sooner than later.

The continued tumult of the used car market could also ripple through Richmond, as locally based CarMax’s stock has been taking a beating of late and struggling Carvana has a notable physical presence here as well. What happens to that shiny car vending machine if Carvana ends up in bankruptcy?

Questions abound in the local housing market going into 2023. If there’s some sort of downturn nationally, are we insulated here by what many say is a continued shortage of housing stock?

And just how many more apartments can this market absorb? Developers continue to express optimism with thousands more units in the works for the region as we speak.

And if there is a meaningful recession or downturn in 2023, history has shown us in Richmond that such periods typically lead to entrepreneurial leaps. Who will be the ones to try something new and what ideas are ready to be unlocked?

An aerial rendering of the proposed $2.3 billion GreenCity development. (File image courtesy Henrico County)

Will there be a recession? Will inflation improve? How high will interest rates go?

Those all are big-picture topics on the minds of many going into 2023.

But the Richmond region is at an interesting, more localized inflection point, in which a few huge projects are in the works concurrently, and all of which have the potential to have huge impacts on multiple fronts.

The biggest and most obvious of those are the Diamond District, City Center and GreenCity. All three will progress in some form during 2023 and would create new jobs, new neighborhoods and new cultural attractions.

But let’s not forget others like the reinvention of Virginia Center Commons, which will bring a new convocation center to the region.

And there’s Spring Rock Green, a dilapidated shopping center near the Chesterfield/Richmond line that could soon make way for an ice hockey-anchored makeover.

The conceptual plan for Spring Rock Green. (File image courtesy Chesterfield County)

Elsewhere in Chesterfield, there’s the future of the area around River City Sportsplex and the Southside Speedway, and there’s the Upper Magnolia site being positioned for something huge. And might we finally see vertical construction at the huge surf pool-anchored development that’s been talked about for years?

In Henrico, the county continues to ride the wave of momentum of huge data center projects, while development looks to be starting to spill into eastern Henrico.

Will growth continue to spread westward from Short Pump into Goochland? And will the Westwood area hit its stride and benefit from Scott’s Addition spillover?

Perhaps 2023 will give us a clearer view on when the region will get its first casino. Or will the battle between the cities of Richmond and Petersburg end up giving us two casinos? Or maybe none?

The New Year could give us more clarity on the state’s marijuana industry, particularly if the General Assembly takes another crack at the rollout of a recreational cannabis market.

And there’s also potential changes in the booze industry, as the state’s craft brewery trade association is planning to push the GA for something it’s long desired: the right to self-distribute its beers.

The push to make the region a hub for the pharmaceutical industry continues and looks to be gaining steam in the New Year thanks to companies like Phlow and the Alliance for Building Better Medicine.

Phlow CEO Eric Edwards (right) inside the Richmond-based pharma company’s lab in the Bio+Tech Park. (BizSense file photo)

Lost in all the action in 2022 was the fact that Stony Point Fashion Park went under new ownership. While the buyer has yet to say exactly what they’ll do with the mall, it’s sure to see some changes sooner than later.

The continued tumult of the used car market could also ripple through Richmond, as locally based CarMax’s stock has been taking a beating of late and struggling Carvana has a notable physical presence here as well. What happens to that shiny car vending machine if Carvana ends up in bankruptcy?

Questions abound in the local housing market going into 2023. If there’s some sort of downturn nationally, are we insulated here by what many say is a continued shortage of housing stock?

And just how many more apartments can this market absorb? Developers continue to express optimism with thousands more units in the works for the region as we speak.

And if there is a meaningful recession or downturn in 2023, history has shown us in Richmond that such periods typically lead to entrepreneurial leaps. Who will be the ones to try something new and what ideas are ready to be unlocked?

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Brian Glass
Brian Glass
1 month ago

The convocation/sports center at Virginia Center Commons will be the first project to be completed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the County hasn’t already signed a few tournaments/competitions for 2023 for basketball, volleyball or gymnastics.

The Seigel Center will be the loser since Henrico County graduations will no longer be there. Parents will love it because they won’t have to hassle parking downtown.

This is a big win for Henrico County!