Five developers have said they’re interested in Richmond’s plans to redevelop its downtown City Center Innovation District, where city officials hope to see a mixed-use complex of commercial and residential buildings.
While the city released the developers’ names, it refused a Times-Dispatch request to inspect the developers’ filings.
The city said it won’t grant access to the filings as it reviews them and decides on a short list of proposals to ensure a fair and balanced process.
The filings are supposed to detail the developers’ qualifications and experience, as well as their expectations about employment, creating affordable housing and the sustainability of their development ideas.
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They are also supposed to detail how they’d approach financing the project in a way that minimizes any hit to taxpayers.
The names suggest the five firms include national developers Capstone Development LLC and Lincoln Property Co.
Another is City Center Gateway Partners. This group is led by Richmond-based Capital Square and Shamin Hotels, along with Washington, D.C.-based Dantes Partners, North Carolina-based Ancora and Virginia Beach-based Gold Key | PHR.
In addition, a newly formed Houston-based group has filed a proposal.
The fifth proposal came from Richmond developer Joshua Bilder, whose recent projects include Sterling Row Condominiums at 110 North 19th St., The new East End Theater Apartments at 418 N. 25th St. and Patrick Henry Square at 313 N. 24th St.
Bilder said he can finance the project without the use of a tax increment financing district, in which real estate taxes from an area are the basis for financing development. All five developers declared an interest in working on phase 1 of the City Center redevelopment.
This phase covers 9.5 acres, including the 7.36-acre site of the Richmond Coliseum, which the city wants to demolish, as well as the Blues Armory at 411 N. Sixth St., and what remains of the old Sixth Street Marketplace — the downtown shopping mall with the dramatic pedestrian bridge over Broad Street, most of which was demolished in 2003. The phase 1 work would also include a bit more than an acre of open space in the 400 block of N. Seventh Street.
In addition to demolishing the Coliseum, the city wants to see an adaptive reuse of the Blues Armory.
Ultimately, the city wants redevelopment of the district to include a new hotel with at least 500 rooms and meeting spaces, high-end office space — including facilities for biotech and life science-focused research — upgrades to water and sewer , the reconnection of North Sixth Street and East Clay Street, and the creation of a new street paralleling East Leigh Street.
For now, senior city officials will review the five firms’ filings and make a short list of those to be asked to provide details on their development.
The city’s Economic Development Authority and the Greater Richmond Convention Center Authority will then pick the plan they prefer and start working on securing required approvals. That should happen in the spring.
Leonard Sledge, executive director of the Richmond EDA, said the interest the firms expressed show that Richmond is on a positive path.