As area localities revise their fiscal budgets amid plummeting revenues and grim economic forecasts, one local government is going a step further in its response to the coronavirus, furloughing hundreds of employees indefinitely.
Construction, food and beverage, retail and others are able to continue operating onsite following the governor’s order Monday to shut down non-essential businesses and schools.
While response to the coronavirus does not appear to have significantly slowed down construction projects in and around Richmond, the social-distancing required by local, state and federal governments is presenting some challenges to securing permits and inspections.
It was a month ago this week that the biggest economic development proposal in the history of Richmond was stopped in its tracks by a divided vote of City Council, bringing an end to the $1.5 billion project known as Navy Hill.
Three days after the City Council vote that appeared to kill the massive arena-anchored economic development deal, Stoney sat down with Richmond BizSense to reflect on what went wrong – and what might happen next.
“While we are disappointed that five City Council members rejected the project, we are proud of the proposal that we delivered,” the developers said in a statement Monday evening.
Both localities are considering an 8 percent transient occupancy tax on certain Airbnb-style rentals.
As more details emerge about parts of the plan – including buildings earmarked for VCU Health – a majority of Richmond City Council members maintained their opposition to the proposed Navy Hill development this week, despite a largely supportive report from a third-party consultant that council had hired to assess the project.
A recent shortage of inspectors and an ongoing plan-review backlog – as well as the prospect of the proposed Navy Hill project – has prompted City Hall to begin rolling out a policy allowing third-party building inspections and reviews on a limited basis.
The same day project backers rolled out their latest endorsement with the promised return of minor-league hockey to Richmond, a majority of City Council called for Mayor Levar Stoney to withdraw his hotly debated Navy Hill plan, just weeks before an anticipated vote on the $1.5 billion development proposal.