HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County on Tuesday announced that officials are endorsing a developer’s vision for a “GreenCity” off I-95 and E. Parham Road that includes a 17,000-seat arena. The developers previously worked on the proposed Navy Hill project with the City of Richmond.
“We are thrilled to endorse this bold, visionary opportunity as it is in sync with everything that Henrico County stands for and has been working hard to achieve – inclusion, resiliency, mobility, innovation and job growth,” County Manager, John A. Vithoulkas, said in a press release.
The $2.3 billion project on the 92.3 acre former Best Products Co. site in Henrico’s Fairfield District is described as a private, mixed-use “eco-district” development. In addition to a stadium, officials said the development would include extensive parks, trails and open spaces, 2 million square feet of office space, 280,000 square feet of retail space, 2,400 housing units and two hotels.
“We’re talking about a new kind of community that is intricately planned, inclusive for all and thoughtfully designed to be not only livable but also to set new standards for environmental sustainability,” Vithoulkas said. “GreenCity will be a community that preserves, embraces and showcases open space, and it will drive economic development and tourism in new and exciting ways while remaining respectful to county taxpayers.”
When asked how the county was ensuring residents won’t pay for the project, he said developing and redeveloping is “how we keep our taxes low.”
“The jobs that are going to be generated here during construction, those are layers of value to them, economic value,” he said.
Henrico County Brookland Park District Supervisor Dan Schmitt said, “It’s a great day in Henrico.” Schmitt is also the President of RMC Events, a Richmond-based event staffing firm.
PER HENRICO: arena is planned to be the greenest arena venue in North America and would accommodate up to 17,000 patrons in flexible seating configurations to accommodate touring concerts, family shows & potentially new sports teams including ECHL Hockey and G-League Basketball.— Tyler Thrasher (@TylerJThrasher) December 1, 2020
“This is the type of development is the kind of development I hope people of the 21st Century would want their county to offer them,” said Frank J. Thornton, Supervisor of Fairfield District.
‘GreenCity’ is a joint venture between Concord Eastridge, Inc., and Future Cities, LLC. Both groups were previously involved in the Navy Hill project proposed by Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and ultimately voted down by Richmond City Council.
Five members of Richmond City Council said they voted down the proposal because the proposal “puts too much public funds at risk and represents the type of deal-making that reinforces distrust issues that continue to exist in our city.”
“Obviously, Mayor Stoney believed an arena-anchored mixed-use redevelopment was a great opportunity to redevelop downtown and generate revenues and benefits for the City. Henrico’s announcement today shows this vision had merit – and the Mayor wishes them well and he’s glad that the region will benefit,” said Lincoln Saunders, Mayor Stoney’s chief of staff. “But the city still has many opportunities in front of us and over the next four years you can expect the Mayor to BOLDLY pursue each and every one of them.”
Vithoulkas said ‘GreenCity’ isn’t comparable to the Richmond proposal.
“What you have here, is you have raw vacant land. We are not redeveloping portions of lots, he said. “It is a totally different project, but ultimately is one our whole region will benefit from.”
The projected plot contains 7.19 million square feet that includes a 430,000 square foot hotel and conference area at Village Center.
Henrico County said the ‘GreenCity’ development process will begin in the Spring of 2021 and is slated for full completion by 2033. The arena is projected to open by 2025.
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