Four development teams advance in City Center solicitation

The 50-year-old Coliseum would make way for new development including a 500-room convention center hotel. (BizSense file photo)

March Madness is only getting started, but the City of Richmond already has its final four selected in its search for a City Center development team.

The city announced Monday night it is inviting formal proposals from four of the five respondents to its November solicitation for the redevelopment project that would replace the Richmond Coliseum with a mixed-use development and convention center hotel.

The four teams are:

Capstone Development LLC, a Maryland-based firm that’s the hotel developer for RVA Diamond Partners, the team picked last year to develop the Diamond District.

City Center Gateway Partners, led by locally based Capital Square and Shamin Hotels, D.C.-based Dantes Partners, North Carolina-based Ancora and Virginia Beach-based Gold Key | PHR.

Lincoln Property Company, a Dallas-based firm that has developed commercial and residential properties across the U.S. and in Europe.

Richmond Community Development Partners, the runner-up for the Diamond District that’s led by Houston-based Machete Group.

Eliminated from the list was Sterling Bilder LLC, a local development firm led by Josh Bilder that had previously vied for the city’s Navy Hill project, a larger redevelopment effort that didn’t go forward and involved some of the same properties.

The city’s announcement said the selected teams were chosen “due to their experience developing hotels and large mixed-use urban redevelopment projects.” The request for offers invites the four teams to submit formal proposals by April 20 at 3 p.m.

Teams intending to respond are required to notify the city by 3 p.m. this Friday. Requests for clarification are due March 31, and an addendum with questions and answers will be posted on the project website, where the full RFO also is posted.

A map shows the City Center project area outlined in orange. (City documents)

The teams are vying for development of the 9-acre City Center assemblage that includes the shuttered arena and the site of a long-sought convention center hotel.

The project involves demolishing the Coliseum, adaptive reuse of the neighboring Blues Armory building, infrastructure improvements, and development of a 500-room hotel to support the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Also required is office and retail space, new housing including lower-income units, parking and transit facilities, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and public open space.

Tourism officials have said for years that a convention center hotel is needed because existing downtown hotels do not have the capacity to serve the convention center to its fullest potential. An additional 500-room hotel that would supplement the facility is viewed as the solution to bringing more business to the convention center.

The teams’ proposals are to be evaluated based on criteria spelled out in the RFO and by a panel comprised of the Richmond Economic Development Authority, the GRCC Authority and city representatives. A development team selection could be made in the spring.

Capstone Development, which focuses on hotel, residential and mixed-use developments, has developed five hotels in D.C. and Maryland, including the Marriott-branded Courtyard Washington Downtown/Convention Center in D.C. For the Diamond District, the company is signed on to develop the project’s first-phase hotel, a 180-room building envisioned along the lines of a Curio by Hilton.

Lincoln Property Co. has developed commercial and residential buildings across the country, including the 1030 15th Street and 699 Fourteenth buildings in D.C.

City Center Gateway Partners includes several firms that had vied for the Diamond District. Capital Square and Dantes Partners were on a team called Diamond District Gateway Partners, while Shamin Hotels, the Richmond area’s largest hotel operator, had been on competing team Vision300 Partners.

Capital Square, based in Henrico, has made moves in recent years into development in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition neighborhood. Dantes focuses on income-based housing and is currently developing Pin Oaks Estates, a 98-unit apartment complex in Petersburg. The team has said its membership is 60 percent local and 50 percent minority-owned.

For Richmond Community Development Partners, David Carlock’s Machete Group is leading the team that he said includes some of the same members of its same-named Diamond District team. Firms that carried over include architecture firm Hanbury, while development firm Tryline Capital is not on this latest iteration.

Carlock has had a hand in several notable mixed-use and entertainment developments, providing strategic planning for The Walt Disney Co.’s Downtown Disney districts and ESPN Zone restaurant and venue. He’s also worked for Hard Rock Café and the Houston Rockets.

The City Center project area is just blocks from the site of another development project that is no longer moving forward. The city last month took back the Public Safety Building property it had sold for a multimillion-dollar project that it said had not progressed according to the terms of the project’s development agreement.

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Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
9 days ago

Not sure why anyone bids on City projects anymore; I wonder can we before the release of future RFPs/IFBs/RFQs vote on on the City team (and City consultants) that will be used to put out anything. Diamond District still does not even have pending vote on anything formal; no agreements, legal documents, CDA by-laws, or CDA members….nothing has been released.

Dr. Abe C. Gomez
Dr. Abe C. Gomez
8 days ago

If the current potential developments are anything like the failed ones in recent years then don’t expect any speed from the city’s team. More than likely they get “too tired” after a full 8hr day of work.