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Making BizSense of It All, What New Developments Could Mean for Richmond

From the battle for Navy Hill to the booming district of Manchester, what do these new developments mean for the city of Richmond? Richmond BizSense editor; Michael Schwartz sits down with Roben Farzad, host of Full Disclosure, to discuss how expansions on Boulevard, the closing of Sugar Shacks and the peaked interest of national banks could turn Richmond into Atlanta.

Episode Excerpt

The following excerpt was edited for clarity.

[47:46]

Roben Farzad: You tell me what we should be covering. You guys also talked about the Pamunkey Tribes $350 million casino bid on a huge swath of Manchester. What else is front and center?

Michael Schwartz: In my mind, the Boulevard is really interesting. What's to become of all that land there, what’s to become of the diamond and potentially a new baseball stadium? Then what does that mean for Navy hill? Let's say Navy Hill doesn't get approved. Plans change, and maybe there's a Navy Hill type development that could be constructed on the 60 acres that the city owns on and around the diamond. We had an event last year and a gentleman, Mark Hourigan, who owns a big local construction company had done some research. He said that nowhere else on the East Coast, I guess from New York to Miami is what he said, is there a swath of land of 60 acres. The swath of land the size of what's there on the Boulevard that is undeveloped in a major city like ours, basically along I-95. And in a market like Richmond that's booming, I think it's fascinating to see what's going to go there. I can envision it almost like a second downtown. If you fly over a place like Charlotte or Atlanta, you see downtown, then there's a second sort of downtown area of high rises. Could that become like the next sort of downtown Richmond with high rise buildings? Yeah, potentially.

Farzad: There are whispers that there might be some sort of activity in terms of rail development that could supercharge the fate of Scott's Edition. You have the Science Museum that's there. Once upon a time Richmond had a glorious train station. That was a ceremonial, right? The downtown one that we have it's great for weddings and bar mitzvahs. I think you get one or two trains a day. But this idea that they would take the eyesore of the Staples Mill, the main train station and relocate it back. You suddenly have developments in high speed rail that this could be the terminus of higher speed rail. Have you heard anything to that effect?

Schwartz: Last I heard it had been decided that Staples Mill and Main Street Station were all that those who call the shots on rail needed in Richmond. I know there were folks like Eugene Trani, who were calling for a train station to be on the Boulevard. That could be kind of an anchor for that little area, it would really change the game, but I heard that was not the case. It had basically been decided and that's why the federal funding was there to finish off Main Street Station and the train shed and all that. Now Staples Mill, you'd like to see maybe a little extra federal money to fix that place up.

 

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