30 stories? 40? City Center contenders push Coliseum area to new heights

CityCenterGatewayPartners hotel rendering

A rendering of the 30-story hotel that City Center Gateway Partners is proposing for the Coliseum redevelopment. (City documents)

As development proposals continue to be weighed for Richmond’s City Center project that would replace the Coliseum, teams vying to lead the mixed-use redevelopment are aiming high with their visions for a required convention center hotel.

At least two of the four groups contending for the project are proposing hotel towers that, if built as envisioned, could end up being the tallest building in Richmond – depending on how you measure it.

City Center Gateway Partners, led locally by Capital Square and Shamin Hotels, is pitching a 30-story hotel in its proposal, which was among those that the city released in summary form in May after issuing a joint solicitation for the project last fall with the Greater Richmond Convention Center Authority (GRCCA).

Since those one-pagers were released three months ago, another team – Richmond Community Development Partners, led by Houston-based Machete Group and Richmond development firm Bank Street Advisors – has revised its proposal to include an even taller hotel, totaling 40 stories and 450 feet in height.

8.23R Monroe 2

The Monroe Building. (BizSense file)

That height would make the hotel 1 foot taller than the current tallest building in Richmond, the James Monroe Building, which is 26 stories but stands at 449 feet tall. The state-owned office tower along 14th Street looms beside Interstate 95 across from Main Street Station.

A 450-foot hotel would also be taller than the under-construction CoStar office tower, which is planned to total 26 stories and reach 425 feet in height above ground near Tredegar on the riverfront.

Because story sizes can vary between different commercial building types, such as between office buildings and hotels in this case, a more accurate measure and comparison of building heights is by total number of feet above ground.

Another measure is elevation, or feet above sea level, though that would not be a factor in this comparison since the City Center site is a higher elevation than the two downhill Monroe and CoStar office building sites.

A development team selection for City Center had been targeted for this summer, but is now likely to be made in the fall, officials have said. In-person meetings with teams have been held in recent weeks, and last week, the real estate committee for the Richmond Economic Development Authority, which is leading the negotiations with the GRCCA, held a closed meeting about potential disposition of several city-owned properties, including the 9-acre City Center site.

Ahead of a selection, BizSense reached out to the four contenders to discuss their proposals and approaches to the project. The two other teams – Capstone Development LLC, a Maryland-based firm that’s the hotel developer for Richmond’s Diamond District project; and Lincoln Property Co., a Dallas-based developer – did not respond to requests for interviews.

‘Having height to the hotel is pretty important’

CityCntrPlan1

A conceptual map of the city blocks and properties involved in the city’s City Center plan and their potential uses.

When the city released the proposal summaries in May, the one-pager from City Center Gateway Partners stood out for its inclusion of a noticeably tall hotel, which the team said in a separate statement was envisioned to total 30 stories. The building’s height in feet was not specified.

Natalie Mason, executive vice president for development with Capital Square, said the local real estate investment firm and its teammates wanted to go big with the hotel, both to satisfy the project’s 500-room requirement but also to stand out from the pack.

Natalie Mason Web 002

Natalie Mason

“We think having height to the hotel is pretty important,” Mason said in an interview in June. “As you’re coming in on (Interstate) 64 or 95, we think it’s important that you see this new centerpiece from afar on the skyline. And a goal, of course, for the convention center authority and for the city is to really try to get 500 rooms here to support the convention goals, so that means we’re going up 30 stories.”

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. The hotel is expected to rise across Fifth Street from the center, on part of what’s now the Coliseum site.

The project requires demolishing the Coliseum, adaptive reuse of the neighboring Blues Armory building, and infrastructure improvements, including reconnections of Sixth and Clay streets through the site. 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.

Mason said her team’s hotel tower would sit on a large podium with additional conference spaces to support the center. Several restaurants would also be part of the hotel, and the podium would spill out into a central park or green space.

Dining and entertainment uses are also planned for the armory building, which Mason said would be a focal point of the development.

“We really want to establish Sixth Street as the gateway into this district from downtown, and we can’t think of a better visual as you walk down the street to see this beautiful armory building lit up, abuzz with activity,” Mason said. Noting the building would open out to a rear yard, she added, “It’ll give this feel of a larger open space in the middle of the district and also put this beautiful building on display.”

City Center City Center Gateway Partners

City Center Gateway Partners’ one-pager.

Rounding out the proposal on the north side of the site would be residential buildings with ground-floor retail, and on the south side, a life sciences building that’s intended to supplement the City Center area as a so-called innovation district.

“The focus is to bring as much activity, retail and entertainment uses that are going to serve not only hotel guests and convention-goers, but are really going to be a place where Richmonders want to go regularly,” Mason said. “We love the idea of office workers in downtown Richmond not just going home at the end of the day. Now they can come to City Center, enjoy all these different offerings and this beautiful outdoor space.”

Joining Capital Square and Shamin, the Richmond area’s largest hotel operator, are team members Dantes Partners, a D.C.-based housing developer; Ancora, a North Carolina-based life sciences real estate developer; and Gold Key | PHR, a Virginia Beach-based hospitality firm that’s serving as the hotel developer along with Shamin. Capital Square is the team’s local development and capital partner.

Other team members include Gensler (master plan architect); Baskervill (design architect); OJB (park and greenspaces); VHB, F&R, Schnabel, and Clancy & Theys (site and infrastructure); Of Place (placemaking and retail); Storefront for Community Design (community visioning); J&G Workforce (workforce); and Reynolds Community College (education).

The team includes several firms that had vied for the Diamond District, a 60-acre project that includes a replacement of The Diamond baseball stadium. Capital Square and Dantes Partners were on a team called Diamond District Gateway Partners, while Shamin had been on competing team Vision300 Partners.

Mason said their City Center team was put together starting with a conversation with Shamin CEO Neil Amin.

“We knew that this (solicitation) was coming out. We weren’t sure if we were going to go after it, but once it did come out, we started reading it and talking to other people, and the more and more we discussed, the more excited we got about the possibilities,” Mason said.

Having gone through the Diamond District process, Mason said the team came away from that experience with a respect for the city’s handling of such projects and an enthusiasm to work with it if another opportunity arose.

“I think we took away from the process that the city has taken a lot of care with their planning processes and their stakeholder engagement during that time,” Mason said. “We came out of the process certainly disappointed not to go further, but with excitement that there might be other opportunities down the road. And lo and behold, City Center has presented that opportunity for us.”

‘Like nothing Richmond has ever seen’

Richmond Community Development Partners hotel rendering

A new rendering of Richmond Community Development Partners’ proposal, which now includes a 40-story hotel tower. (Images courtesy RCDP)

Richmond Community Development Partners, a variation of a same-named team that was the runner-up for the Diamond District, had initially proposed in its City Center bid a shorter hotel with a pedestrian bridge across Fifth Street to the convention center. It has since revamped its proposal to include a 40-story, 450-foot-tall hotel that it says “will be a vertically amenitized destination like nothing Richmond has ever seen.”

A new rendering shows the hotel would include a rooftop venue, an infinity pool and lounge midway up the tower, a “skyline restaurant” and lounge above a podium structure, a pool and “skybar” atop the podium, a lobby with art and three stories’ worth of windows, a corner bar at Fifth and the reconnected Clay Street, and a street-facing restaurant along Clay.

Diamond David Carlock

David Carlock

Machete Group principal David Carlock, who’s leading the team along with Bank Street Advisors, described its approach and membership as reflecting “the diverse needs on this site and a keen desire to ensure what we build strikes the right balance between ambition and authenticity.”

“We want Richmonders to love and celebrate this place and for it to also live as a postcard for visitors and conference delegates experiencing the City for the first time,” Carlock said in a prepared statement.

Christian Kiniry, who leads Bank Street along with fellow principal Ed Brown, said their proposal “sees City Center as a destination for the city and, quite frankly, the East Coast – the center of the wheel with its spokes radiating outwards to all surrounding areas.”

“We took special care in recognizing this duty and the responsibility of making sure our neighbors and different parts of the city were incorporated into the plan,” Kiniry said, listing as examples Jackson Ward, the Arts District, Monroe Ward, Virginia BioTechnology Research Park and the Central Business District.

Christian Kiniry

Christian Kiniry

In addition to the hotel, the team’s original site plan and renderings showed a “6th Street market” beside the Blues Armory building, a park at Clay and Seventh streets, and life science buildings across Leigh Street from the VA Bio+Tech Park.

The latter would include 20,000 square feet of what’s described as “public-private life science training resource space” that would be made available to local companies and colleges, along with community engagement space for high-school and earlier student programs.

“This would be a valuable amenity to existing companies in the area and an attractive selling point for new companies,” the team said in a project description.

City Center Richmond Community Development Partners

Richmond Community Development Partners’ original proposal.

Also planned are colonnades along each building that Kiniry said would give pedestrians “a protected path throughout the development” and pay homage “to the historically significant Blues Armory so that the ground plane is tied together and rooted in Navy Hill’s rich urban history.”

In addition to Machete Group, a venue advisory and development management firm, and Bank Street, whose local projects include the One Canal apartments in Monroe Ward and the Soda Flats apartments under construction in Scott’s Addition, the team is also led by hotel developer and operator Highgate, Richmond development firm M Companies (historic preservation), housing developer Brinshore Development, and life sciences developer GlenLine.

The team also includes architecture firms Hanbury (master planner, urban design); Marvel and Rockwell Group (hotel architect and interior design); SMBW and KEi (design architects with Hanbury), Moseley (affordable housing), and Waterstreet and Fall Line (landscape architects with Marvel).

Rounding out the team are civil engineering firm VHB, Todd Waldo of diversity consulting firm Hugh Helen LLC, CW Consulting Group (workforce development), BRV (placemaking), Stantec (sustainability), and construction firms Gilbane Building Co., Davis Brothers Construction, Canterbury Enterprises and L.F. Jennings.

Having come up just short in its bid for the Diamond District, Carlock said this new version of the team is the result of what was built through that process. He said the experience made the team want to try again with City Center.

“Even though our proposal was not selected for the Diamond District, we were grateful to the many community members who supported us and who have become friends,” Carlock said. “It was, in large part, due to the team we built on Diamond, the relationships we made in Richmond, the opportunities we discovered and our faith in ourselves to deliver a project that will make Richmonders proud that convinced us to give it another try on City Center.”

City Center Capstone Development LLC

Renderings from Capstone Development LLC’s proposal.

Rounding out the field of City Center contenders are Capstone Development LLC and Lincoln Property Co.

Joining Capstone on its team are retail developer Edens, based in D.C., and Ventas, a life sciences-focused real estate investment trust out of Chicago. Capstone is hotel and residential developer on the team, which also includes Atlanta-based architecture firm Cooper Carry and Richmond-based general contractor W.M. Jordan Co.

City Center Lincoln Property Company

Images from Lincoln Property Company’s City Center RFP submission.

Lincoln Property Co. is a Dallas-based development firm that is tied to two companies co-founded by former pro football great Emmitt Smith. On its team are E Smith Horizons, a subsidiary of Smith’s E Smith Legacy commercial real estate holding company, and Gold Jacket, a Miami-based development investment firm co-founded by Smith.

Rounding out the team are D.C.-based Legacy Real Estate Development; architecture firm CallisonRTKL, a subsidiary of global design firm Arcadis; and out of Richmond, civil engineering firm Timmons Group and general contractor Hourigan.

CityCenterGatewayPartners hotel rendering

A rendering of the 30-story hotel that City Center Gateway Partners is proposing for the Coliseum redevelopment. (City documents)

As development proposals continue to be weighed for Richmond’s City Center project that would replace the Coliseum, teams vying to lead the mixed-use redevelopment are aiming high with their visions for a required convention center hotel.

At least two of the four groups contending for the project are proposing hotel towers that, if built as envisioned, could end up being the tallest building in Richmond – depending on how you measure it.

City Center Gateway Partners, led locally by Capital Square and Shamin Hotels, is pitching a 30-story hotel in its proposal, which was among those that the city released in summary form in May after issuing a joint solicitation for the project last fall with the Greater Richmond Convention Center Authority (GRCCA).

Since those one-pagers were released three months ago, another team – Richmond Community Development Partners, led by Houston-based Machete Group and Richmond development firm Bank Street Advisors – has revised its proposal to include an even taller hotel, totaling 40 stories and 450 feet in height.

8.23R Monroe 2

The Monroe Building. (BizSense file)

That height would make the hotel 1 foot taller than the current tallest building in Richmond, the James Monroe Building, which is 26 stories but stands at 449 feet tall. The state-owned office tower along 14th Street looms beside Interstate 95 across from Main Street Station.

A 450-foot hotel would also be taller than the under-construction CoStar office tower, which is planned to total 26 stories and reach 425 feet in height above ground near Tredegar on the riverfront.

Because story sizes can vary between different commercial building types, such as between office buildings and hotels in this case, a more accurate measure and comparison of building heights is by total number of feet above ground.

Another measure is elevation, or feet above sea level, though that would not be a factor in this comparison since the City Center site is a higher elevation than the two downhill Monroe and CoStar office building sites.

A development team selection for City Center had been targeted for this summer, but is now likely to be made in the fall, officials have said. In-person meetings with teams have been held in recent weeks, and last week, the real estate committee for the Richmond Economic Development Authority, which is leading the negotiations with the GRCCA, held a closed meeting about potential disposition of several city-owned properties, including the 9-acre City Center site.

Ahead of a selection, BizSense reached out to the four contenders to discuss their proposals and approaches to the project. The two other teams – Capstone Development LLC, a Maryland-based firm that’s the hotel developer for Richmond’s Diamond District project; and Lincoln Property Co., a Dallas-based developer – did not respond to requests for interviews.

‘Having height to the hotel is pretty important’

CityCntrPlan1

A conceptual map of the city blocks and properties involved in the city’s City Center plan and their potential uses.

When the city released the proposal summaries in May, the one-pager from City Center Gateway Partners stood out for its inclusion of a noticeably tall hotel, which the team said in a separate statement was envisioned to total 30 stories. The building’s height in feet was not specified.

Natalie Mason, executive vice president for development with Capital Square, said the local real estate investment firm and its teammates wanted to go big with the hotel, both to satisfy the project’s 500-room requirement but also to stand out from the pack.

Natalie Mason Web 002

Natalie Mason

“We think having height to the hotel is pretty important,” Mason said in an interview in June. “As you’re coming in on (Interstate) 64 or 95, we think it’s important that you see this new centerpiece from afar on the skyline. And a goal, of course, for the convention center authority and for the city is to really try to get 500 rooms here to support the convention goals, so that means we’re going up 30 stories.”

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. The hotel is expected to rise across Fifth Street from the center, on part of what’s now the Coliseum site.

The project requires demolishing the Coliseum, adaptive reuse of the neighboring Blues Armory building, and infrastructure improvements, including reconnections of Sixth and Clay streets through the site. 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.

Mason said her team’s hotel tower would sit on a large podium with additional conference spaces to support the center. Several restaurants would also be part of the hotel, and the podium would spill out into a central park or green space.

Dining and entertainment uses are also planned for the armory building, which Mason said would be a focal point of the development.

“We really want to establish Sixth Street as the gateway into this district from downtown, and we can’t think of a better visual as you walk down the street to see this beautiful armory building lit up, abuzz with activity,” Mason said. Noting the building would open out to a rear yard, she added, “It’ll give this feel of a larger open space in the middle of the district and also put this beautiful building on display.”

City Center City Center Gateway Partners

City Center Gateway Partners’ one-pager.

Rounding out the proposal on the north side of the site would be residential buildings with ground-floor retail, and on the south side, a life sciences building that’s intended to supplement the City Center area as a so-called innovation district.

“The focus is to bring as much activity, retail and entertainment uses that are going to serve not only hotel guests and convention-goers, but are really going to be a place where Richmonders want to go regularly,” Mason said. “We love the idea of office workers in downtown Richmond not just going home at the end of the day. Now they can come to City Center, enjoy all these different offerings and this beautiful outdoor space.”

Joining Capital Square and Shamin, the Richmond area’s largest hotel operator, are team members Dantes Partners, a D.C.-based housing developer; Ancora, a North Carolina-based life sciences real estate developer; and Gold Key | PHR, a Virginia Beach-based hospitality firm that’s serving as the hotel developer along with Shamin. Capital Square is the team’s local development and capital partner.

Other team members include Gensler (master plan architect); Baskervill (design architect); OJB (park and greenspaces); VHB, F&R, Schnabel, and Clancy & Theys (site and infrastructure); Of Place (placemaking and retail); Storefront for Community Design (community visioning); J&G Workforce (workforce); and Reynolds Community College (education).

The team includes several firms that had vied for the Diamond District, a 60-acre project that includes a replacement of The Diamond baseball stadium. Capital Square and Dantes Partners were on a team called Diamond District Gateway Partners, while Shamin had been on competing team Vision300 Partners.

Mason said their City Center team was put together starting with a conversation with Shamin CEO Neil Amin.

“We knew that this (solicitation) was coming out. We weren’t sure if we were going to go after it, but once it did come out, we started reading it and talking to other people, and the more and more we discussed, the more excited we got about the possibilities,” Mason said.

Having gone through the Diamond District process, Mason said the team came away from that experience with a respect for the city’s handling of such projects and an enthusiasm to work with it if another opportunity arose.

“I think we took away from the process that the city has taken a lot of care with their planning processes and their stakeholder engagement during that time,” Mason said. “We came out of the process certainly disappointed not to go further, but with excitement that there might be other opportunities down the road. And lo and behold, City Center has presented that opportunity for us.”

‘Like nothing Richmond has ever seen’

Richmond Community Development Partners hotel rendering

A new rendering of Richmond Community Development Partners’ proposal, which now includes a 40-story hotel tower. (Images courtesy RCDP)

Richmond Community Development Partners, a variation of a same-named team that was the runner-up for the Diamond District, had initially proposed in its City Center bid a shorter hotel with a pedestrian bridge across Fifth Street to the convention center. It has since revamped its proposal to include a 40-story, 450-foot-tall hotel that it says “will be a vertically amenitized destination like nothing Richmond has ever seen.”

A new rendering shows the hotel would include a rooftop venue, an infinity pool and lounge midway up the tower, a “skyline restaurant” and lounge above a podium structure, a pool and “skybar” atop the podium, a lobby with art and three stories’ worth of windows, a corner bar at Fifth and the reconnected Clay Street, and a street-facing restaurant along Clay.

Diamond David Carlock

David Carlock

Machete Group principal David Carlock, who’s leading the team along with Bank Street Advisors, described its approach and membership as reflecting “the diverse needs on this site and a keen desire to ensure what we build strikes the right balance between ambition and authenticity.”

“We want Richmonders to love and celebrate this place and for it to also live as a postcard for visitors and conference delegates experiencing the City for the first time,” Carlock said in a prepared statement.

Christian Kiniry, who leads Bank Street along with fellow principal Ed Brown, said their proposal “sees City Center as a destination for the city and, quite frankly, the East Coast – the center of the wheel with its spokes radiating outwards to all surrounding areas.”

“We took special care in recognizing this duty and the responsibility of making sure our neighbors and different parts of the city were incorporated into the plan,” Kiniry said, listing as examples Jackson Ward, the Arts District, Monroe Ward, Virginia BioTechnology Research Park and the Central Business District.

Christian Kiniry

Christian Kiniry

In addition to the hotel, the team’s original site plan and renderings showed a “6th Street market” beside the Blues Armory building, a park at Clay and Seventh streets, and life science buildings across Leigh Street from the VA Bio+Tech Park.

The latter would include 20,000 square feet of what’s described as “public-private life science training resource space” that would be made available to local companies and colleges, along with community engagement space for high-school and earlier student programs.

“This would be a valuable amenity to existing companies in the area and an attractive selling point for new companies,” the team said in a project description.

City Center Richmond Community Development Partners

Richmond Community Development Partners’ original proposal.

Also planned are colonnades along each building that Kiniry said would give pedestrians “a protected path throughout the development” and pay homage “to the historically significant Blues Armory so that the ground plane is tied together and rooted in Navy Hill’s rich urban history.”

In addition to Machete Group, a venue advisory and development management firm, and Bank Street, whose local projects include the One Canal apartments in Monroe Ward and the Soda Flats apartments under construction in Scott’s Addition, the team is also led by hotel developer and operator Highgate, Richmond development firm M Companies (historic preservation), housing developer Brinshore Development, and life sciences developer GlenLine.

The team also includes architecture firms Hanbury (master planner, urban design); Marvel and Rockwell Group (hotel architect and interior design); SMBW and KEi (design architects with Hanbury), Moseley (affordable housing), and Waterstreet and Fall Line (landscape architects with Marvel).

Rounding out the team are civil engineering firm VHB, Todd Waldo of diversity consulting firm Hugh Helen LLC, CW Consulting Group (workforce development), BRV (placemaking), Stantec (sustainability), and construction firms Gilbane Building Co., Davis Brothers Construction, Canterbury Enterprises and L.F. Jennings.

Having come up just short in its bid for the Diamond District, Carlock said this new version of the team is the result of what was built through that process. He said the experience made the team want to try again with City Center.

“Even though our proposal was not selected for the Diamond District, we were grateful to the many community members who supported us and who have become friends,” Carlock said. “It was, in large part, due to the team we built on Diamond, the relationships we made in Richmond, the opportunities we discovered and our faith in ourselves to deliver a project that will make Richmonders proud that convinced us to give it another try on City Center.”

City Center Capstone Development LLC

Renderings from Capstone Development LLC’s proposal.

Rounding out the field of City Center contenders are Capstone Development LLC and Lincoln Property Co.

Joining Capstone on its team are retail developer Edens, based in D.C., and Ventas, a life sciences-focused real estate investment trust out of Chicago. Capstone is hotel and residential developer on the team, which also includes Atlanta-based architecture firm Cooper Carry and Richmond-based general contractor W.M. Jordan Co.

City Center Lincoln Property Company

Images from Lincoln Property Company’s City Center RFP submission.

Lincoln Property Co. is a Dallas-based development firm that is tied to two companies co-founded by former pro football great Emmitt Smith. On its team are E Smith Horizons, a subsidiary of Smith’s E Smith Legacy commercial real estate holding company, and Gold Jacket, a Miami-based development investment firm co-founded by Smith.

Rounding out the team are D.C.-based Legacy Real Estate Development; architecture firm CallisonRTKL, a subsidiary of global design firm Arcadis; and out of Richmond, civil engineering firm Timmons Group and general contractor Hourigan.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
9 months ago

This a nice tightly created site with proposed uses that will yield income for the developers and tax benefits to the city without encumbering multiple surrounding blocks with tax increment financing. The proposals are all very exciting and worthy of the moniker “City Center”. A 30-40 story hotel in Richmond? Bring it on!

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
9 months ago

We can only hope this works out better than the last 6th Street market……..

Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

Or Broad Street CDA, or say the existing Marriott/Convention Center project in which the city LOST two lawsuits that cost it millions from its expert (then called IDA now EDA negotiators). Where is the convention center demand going to come from. YES a large hotel will help but why RVA. It is NOT easy to reach our center when you arrived in RVA except for by car. Business travel is still down and now it is excepted areas will see pre-covid numbers by 2025. Go look at the events calendar at the GRCC now. Here is the link. It has… Read more »

George Fisher
George Fisher
3 months ago

I’m sorry, but none of what you have said is even remotely true. You say “go check GRCC events, there are zero” which is patently false. Event after event is scheduled through August of 2024 which is as far as the calendar goes. Did you think no one would check?

Moreover, Richmond center is “hard to get to”? It’s a half a mile from I-95 via direct exit. 2 of them as a matter of fact. Ample parking on all sides. It is 8 miles from RIC and easily accessible.

Lucas de Block
Lucas de Block
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

its completely different….

Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
9 months ago
Reply to  Lucas de Block

You have seen the financing and infrastructure plans???? Diamond District is to be different too….City is paying for infrastructure now, is to create authority, and issue bonds to cover cost of construction, the bonds (we are told at this moment) will not even have a more obligation, and the TIF district funds (and other revenue) will cover all the costs….nothing to worry about. On Broad Street CDA in 2001 we were told even if the only parking revenue comes in at 10% of the estimates, the revenue will cover the bonds. You can still read about its greatness here and… Read more »

Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
9 months ago

And for those that can’t remember. The Broad CDA was tied to City/RRHA owned surplus land (old Thalhimers and M&R stores) with other scattered downtown parking lot sites with two large parcels there were to be used to create a public spaces to draw visitors (Performing Arts Center) with the rehab of the old Lowes/Carpenter Theater, some new downtown residential condos, and a section sold to a developer for a HOTEL to help the convention center. And the parking lot and decks would be rehabbed or built with some retail as revenue paid down the bonds. Landscaping and utility improvements… Read more »

Lucas de Block
Lucas de Block
9 months ago

It all comes down to design, design, design. Because there will be residential units, a lot of new retail, and a hotel all in a walkable distance, you create a high density urban environment for lots to take place. As a corporation or event planner, this dramatic increases the value of the convention center. They can locate a bunch of people in one place without having to take a car to go somewhere else, once they arrive. The retail will still thrive when there’s no convention because people will actually LIVE there and medical offices plus MCV are nearby to… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Lucas de Block
Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
9 months ago
Reply to  Lucas de Block

Broad St CDA was NOT a mall. It comes down to the numbers not design especially for retail. One plan has ONE apartment building. What retail; a diner, a 7-11? Look around at all the downtown apartments and look at retail in the city core. Not one of these plans is HIGH density development (For Richmond but not in the business world). A 500-room hotel and what 500 1-bedroom apartments is no big deal. If they were major changes that would cause dramatic change why do nothing but restaurants thrive on Grace between 1st-5th despite a actively used performance theater,… Read more »

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
9 months ago
Reply to  Lucas de Block

Is the city not involved — because that is usually one of the poison elements.

Casey flores
Casey flores
9 months ago

Ok well after reading this it has to be Richmond Community Development Partners. We need the 40 stories and rooftop bar.

Eric Viking
Eric Viking
9 months ago
Reply to  Casey flores

Agreed! They just upped the ante and now I cannot think of anything less! Honestly though, if the City is aiming to be more dense (which it should given the limited amount of taxable land it has), it should choose the most dense plan, assuming the developer can actually execute such a plan. Can you imagine how it would look in the skyline to see a 450-hotel tower at that elevation in the center of downtown?! Wowsers!! Let’s go!!

Peter James
Peter James
9 months ago
Reply to  Eric Viking

100%, Eric! RCDP was originally my second choice behind Gateway, but with the upgrade to a 40-story, 450-foot-tall hotel which would carry the title of tallest building in Richmond, this vaults over Gateway into the top spot for me. Looking at updated renderings, Machete Group/RCDP are not skimping on size on ANY of the four primary high-rise buildings. If memory serves, this development team’s proposal was also the one highly favored and considered the best by RBS’s (and VCU’s) esteemed Dr. Slipek. The density and cohesion of this proposal from a design standpoint is top-notch – and adding height to… Read more »

Lucas de Block
Lucas de Block
9 months ago
Reply to  Eric Viking

it’ll definitely put Richmond on the map.

Arnold Hager
Arnold Hager
9 months ago
Reply to  Lucas de Block

Captain John Smith put Richmond on the map way back around 1607. Richmond, being the birthplace of American Democracy that changed the World, put Richmond on the map. Patrick Henry put Richmond on the map. A hotel. meh.

Peter James
Peter James
9 months ago
Reply to  Arnold Hager

I believe what Lucas is inferring is that it (a 40-story, 450-foot-tall downtown tower that, because of the elevation of its location, would appear even taller relative to the rest of the skyline) would put RVA “on the map” as a legitimate up-and-coming city, a la Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Nashville, Raleigh, etc. He’s using it as a turn-of-phrase.

Last edited 9 months ago by Peter James
Arnold Hager
Arnold Hager
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter James

So after 400+ years Richmond is up and coming? Seems to me Richmond is established. It has a history. Did you know back before there was a Dodge City in Kansas there was an old saying…I’m gettin’ the hell out of Richmond…later it was changed to Dodge.

Last edited 9 months ago by Arnold Hager
Peter James
Peter James
9 months ago
Reply to  Arnold Hager

First, Richmond hasn’t been around for 400+ years. Witness, the city’s tri-centennial celebration (hence all the “Richmond 300” focus) is planned for 2037. William Byrd commissioned Major William Mayo to lay out the original town grid in 1737 – the year that Byrd officially gave the town it’s name that it proudly bears to this day. Richmond was officially incorporated in 1742. Second, you missed the point. Yes, up-and-coming – in the modern, 21st century sense, vis a vis our direct, high-growth economic competitors – again – Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Nashville, Raleigh. Having an “established history” has nothing to do… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Peter James
pc amin
pc amin
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter James

when i came to Richmond in 1971, talk was which city will be the capital of south USA, Richmond or atlanta!

Peter James
Peter James
9 months ago
Reply to  pc amin

100% correct!! Folks here were VERY bullish on Richmond’s enormous growth potential at that time, and all the talk in those days was about what would amount to head-to-head competition with Atlanta. The Charlottes, Nashvilles and Raleighs of the world weren’t even remotely considered to be a factor of any kind. The mindset here at that time was that Richmond and Atlanta were going to be the two heavyweights, duking it out for supremacy in the South, and none of the other cities in the region mattered. (Somehow, Florida – with booming Miami – was also never considered in these… Read more »

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter James

Very interesting stuff guys — does anyone remember WHAT the rationale was other than mindless boosterism.

Much has been written about how Richmond squandered its advantage in getting the Richmond Fed and losing to Charlotte.

Peter James
Peter James
9 months ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

Shawn – I would argue that the boosterism in Richmond in those days was far from “mindless”. A number of factors were at play at that time. 1.) Richmond and Atlanta both had the Fed. 2.) Richmond and Atlanta both had state and federal district courts. 3.) Richmond and Atlanta both had federal circuit courts of appeals. 4.) As state capitals, Richmond and Atlanta both had state appeals courts and state supreme courts. 4.) Richmond and Atlanta were the leaders in the Southeast in terms of Fortune 500 company HQs. 5.) Richmond and Atlanta both had tremendous financial power and… Read more »

Arnold Hager
Arnold Hager
9 months ago
Reply to  pc amin

Atlanta must have been ahead of Richmond at that time since they had a major league baseball team and Richmond was its minor league affiliate.

Peter James
Peter James
9 months ago
Reply to  Arnold Hager

Arnold – see above (response to Shawn). In a nutshell – Atlanta had jumped out ahead of Richmond and gotten off to a faster start in the post-war boom, but by 1970, Richmond’s more progressive thinkers were in place and the city was poised to take off. From a size standpoint, RVA was about 20 years behind Atlanta – hence a huge reason ATL got the major league Braves and RVA got the AAA version thereof.

Arnold Hager
Arnold Hager
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter James

Yes, I was here living my teenage years and I remember Richmond was selected with about a dozen other cities as an All-American City.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
9 months ago
Reply to  Arnold Hager

You need to get out more.

KC was once up and coming and it quickly outpaced Richmond. Now, KC and Richmond are BOTH up and coming again.

Philly was the undisputed leader early on, but now even that city is an Also Ran.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
9 months ago
Reply to  Arnold Hager

Sorry Arnold but Richmond FELL off the map many generations ago.

It may be back on the map soon though!

Arnold Hager
Arnold Hager
9 months ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

I think Richmond is kinda like my “Tobacco Road”

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
9 months ago
Reply to  Eric Viking

Yep.

Justin Ranson
Justin Ranson
9 months ago

For this to be successful, there needs to be another draw than the covnention center. Something for people to DO while in the area after their convention is over. Entertainment venus need to take HUGE a priority, and I don’t really see that in the plans as they exist, but hopeflly I’m just missing something.

Last edited 9 months ago by Justin Ranson
Ramone Antonio
Ramone Antonio
9 months ago
Reply to  Justin Ranson

These plans are great. I always thought an aquarium would be nice. Or a pitch for a professional team MLB,Hockey etc. But I could only dream lol.

Last edited 9 months ago by Ramone Antonio
Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
9 months ago
Reply to  Ramone Antonio

We’d be lucky to get arena football…

Lucas de Block
Lucas de Block
9 months ago
Reply to  Justin Ranson

I’m sure the amount of commercial space this offers will allow for that. Also, think about the new projects this will attract in this part of downtown.

Brian Glass
Brian Glass
9 months ago

All of the eggs in one basket for a mega hotel!!! The cost alone will require super high room rates. I respect Shamin as a hotel developer but, in my opinion, this project is overzealous,

Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
9 months ago
Reply to  Brian Glass

I agree. The hotel rooms are needed for consideration but look at the website for the center today. And have any of you been inside??? Before the pandemic the TVs/monitors were analog on the walls in the Broad Street Hall. I think during the pandemic they finally updated. When we hosted (and volunteered) for UCI in 2015 the interior spaces were dated even then. The conventions center is on an island in downtown. There is some serious IRONY too in that articles and pretty rendering are being shown at City Center and the Diamond District flounders down the drain. Do… Read more »

Lucas de Block
Lucas de Block
9 months ago

Richmond is increasingly becoming a regional tourist destination, and our airport passenger numbers are one of the fastest growing in the nation. I think it will be fine, especially by the time this is completed.

Arnold Hager
Arnold Hager
9 months ago

While I admit this hotel will be quite the site to see, for locals, I can’t see tourist flocking to Richmond for the privilege of a night’s stay. Richmond is not a tourist destination period. Richmond used to sell history to America but many of its residents decided to erase much of it for their utopian enclave which now has little to offer the public other than tattoo parlors, foodie places and murals alongside graffiti. The surrounding counties are running circles round Richmond as Richmond scrambles to run mostly empty busses to the suburbs for their disheartened citizens. The city… Read more »

Craig Davis
Craig Davis
9 months ago
Reply to  Arnold Hager

blah blah blah … they took down the 2nd place trophies to the enslavers. Doesn’t seem like the negativity is hurting you too badly. Meanwhile, on planet earth, Richmond has the American Civil War Museum (have you been?), White House of the Confederacy, battlefields galore within a short drive, there’s the VMFA, Va Museum of History & Culture, Valentine Museum, Va Holocaust Museum. There’s the James River Park system with the best trails and views of any city on the east coast, outdoor concerts, festivals, events, an upcoming new amphitheater & hopefully baseball stadium. I’m sorry the lost of 4-5… Read more »

Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
9 months ago
Reply to  Craig Davis

Richmond is know for weekend visits; sorry Craig but attractions don’t bring people for the week. The VA Museum of History and Culture and VA Holocaust are amazing but you can do both in one day. And our City festival and outdoors events short term events and are mostly regional attractions for people that drive in and then home. Richmond does good on the weekend trips but we do need something in the City to bring in persons for a little longer. To me the City should have invested in some co-development with VCU of its athletic village and into… Read more »

Craig Davis
Craig Davis
9 months ago

Of course the City is landlocked compared to the counties so no one should be surprised sports tournaments are outside the city in the neighboring counties. And Dillon’s Rule is a major handcuff to Virginia cities. Its no surprise that VCU backed out of the co-development with the city around their athletic village at the same around the same time they were getting fleeced on the bad deal the health system made a terrible deal with the city over the public safety building. Two weekends ago, there was a music festival at the Redskins facility that drew over 1`2,000 each… Read more »

Arnold Hager
Arnold Hager
9 months ago
Reply to  Craig Davis

I am no Civil War buff, OK. I will first of all point to the schools. Back when I was included in the first wave of bussing students across town, we carried out our assignment to a different school in a different neighborhood from what we were accustomed to. Rude awakening? No. A disappointment in what many of us felt to be an inferior education than our neighbors in the counties received. The counties did not participate in this failed attempt at liberal social justice way back in 1970. They now are way ahead of this City in most economic… Read more »

Craig Davis
Craig Davis
9 months ago
Reply to  Arnold Hager

I will give you this – its rare to hear someone these days say out loud that Brown vs. Board of Education was a bad thing. I mean what you’re saying is in the “good ole days” there were all white schools int he City that were the rival of the all white schools in the counties and once the schools were required to desegregate and offer equal opportunities to minorities – within defined boundaries for the city that are minority majority, no less – the resulting white flight to the counties made their schools superior.

Arnold Hager
Arnold Hager
9 months ago
Reply to  Craig Davis

Please don’t misrepresent what I am saying. Those are your words, not mine. The city schools I attended were desegregated before bussing was forced on us. As of today I still remember the names of some of my black classmates at John B. Cary Elem. School. Brown vs. B.O.E. was in 1954. Bussing was 1970. Schools were already being integrated, just maybe not quickly enough for some, even though it was by choice. The right of school choice was in practice. As a youngster I did not understand all of the grownup issues of the time. The 1960’s was a… Read more »

Arnold Hager
Arnold Hager
9 months ago
Reply to  Arnold Hager

And there were quite a few kids that fell through the cracks or could not adjust or didn’t have the support at home. It was a failure for many.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
9 months ago
Reply to  Craig Davis

Your points are understood and taken by me, but I don’t think you are addressing the points that Arnold is making, and maybe he doesn’t get what you are asserting. Yes, Richmond is a very livable city. It’s a great city if you like medium sized cities. But all the stuff you mention, other than the River stuff, is second rate at best. Taking just one thing, the VMFA — it’s really for enthusiasts only — it can’t compare to the National Gallery or the Chicago Institute — it’s best exhibits are Asian and….. boring old slave holder’s anglophile art… Read more »

Jordan Tucker
Jordan Tucker
8 months ago
Reply to  Arnold Hager

Exactly!!
Very well said

Michael Boyer
Michael Boyer
9 months ago

What the city should do is move the convention center over to your new casino.Theyll have some rooms to rent out.Mayor already counting his tax revenue.

roger turner
roger turner
9 months ago

Love to see the height. I hope they tie the prospective developer to a milestone schedule somehow. Very disappointed at how almost no details have been given on the Diamond District actual plan, just some conceptual drawings. If nothing else they should have had a ball park design “ready to go” knowing the schedule for MLB was 2025. They have publicly admitted that 2026 is now the plan but it’s almost 2024 and have seen no progress on a firm plan. At this point I don’t see how 2026 is going to happen, certainly not the start of the season.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
9 months ago

Hooray!

I find it funny that they think they have to praise the city’s “process” — that’s rich— even the city likely knows this is butter.

Arnold Hager
Arnold Hager
9 months ago
Reply to  Shawn Harper

Beats me who they are? Just heard the mayor pushing for the casino as help for the children to pay for their childcare. Easy to see why democrats win city elections.

Michael Boyer
Michael Boyer
9 months ago

Does the Richmond City Council meetings air on PBS anymore?

Jordan Tucker
Jordan Tucker
8 months ago
Reply to  Michael Boyer

It was laughable and still is. I know someone that worked for the city government of a town Richmond was competing with for a corporation and he would show recordings of Richmond city council meetings and not have to say a word

Thomas Conley
Thomas Conley
9 months ago

I don’t understand why the Monroe building is allowed to stand in its unfinished state. It’s an eyesore and an ugly building to boot. The city deserves nice architecture as you come into the city. Tear it down or finish it. My choice: tear it down.

Brian King
Brian King
9 months ago

Broad Street at night – reminds me of New Orleans without the French Quarter – invest in making Broad Street more appealing/safer – Create a fast and reliable transportation system to ferry folks to Scott’s Addition. For the love of Mike do something about Gilpin Court and spend some money in Jackson Ward

Ramone Antonio
Ramone Antonio
9 months ago
Reply to  Brian King

Why would anyone dislike this idea?

Brian King
Brian King
8 months ago
Reply to  Ramone Antonio

Well – there have been a few disasters with development in our lovely city. Until there is a comprehensive plan to relocate Gilpin Court and revitalize Broad Street there will be crime in the area North of Broad where this development is planned.