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BizSense Beat: Aug. 18, 2023

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BizSense Beat is a weekly collaboration between VPM News and Richmond BizSense that brings you the top business stories during NPR's Morning Edition on Fridays.

Here’s a recap of the top stories for the week of Aug. 18, 2023:

Markel | Eagle named residential developer for GreenCity project
Reported by Richmond BizSense’s Jonathan Spiers

One of the larger remaining pieces of the GreenCity puzzle is now in place for the massive arena-anchored development in the works in Henrico.

Markel | Eagle Partners has signed on to develop the residential portion of the 200-acre project that calls for 2,400 residential units, in addition to the arena, two hotels, office and retail development, greenspace and a rehab of the former Best Products headquarters building northeast of Parham Road and Interstate 95.

Markel | Eagle is contributing $17 million toward a $35.1 million purchase of the 110-acre Scott Farm land, with Henrico County paying another $17 million through its Economic Development Authority, which is pitching in another $1.1 million.

Developer scraps plans for 600 apartments at Dominion-owned properties downtown
Reported by Richmond BizSense’s Mike Platania

A local developer has pulled the plug on its plans for hundreds of new apartments downtown.

Genesis Properties confirmed last week that it is no longer pursuing the purchase of Dominion Energy’s Eighth & Main office tower at 707 E. Main St. and the utility giant’s neighboring 7th & Cary parking deck at 620 E. Cary St.

The Richmond-based developer had been planning to convert the 20-story office tower into apartments and to build a high-rise apartment building on top of the parking deck. The project, first proposed last year when Genesis put the properties under contract, would have brought around 600 apartments to downtown, the most the neighborhood would have seen from a new project in recent years.

Genesis Development Director Ed Solarz confirmed that the deal has been called off, but declined to comment further.

New owners to take reins of Wytestone Plaza office tower’s apartment conversion
Reported by Richmond BizSense’s Mike Platania

A hotelier and financier are teaming up to buy a downtown office tower and carry out a previously proposed plan to turn it into hundreds of apartments.

Wytestone Plaza at 801 E. Main St. is under contract to be sold to Steven Walker of RPC Realty Capital and Kalyan Hospitality’s Nick Patel.

The 59-year-old office tower’s current landlord, The Vakos Cos., began planning a residential conversion of Wytestone Plaza about a year ago. Walker confirmed the pending deal and said he and Patel are planning to keep the Vakos project going and turn the building’s office space into around 300 apartments.

New owner brings rentable workspaces to long-running Forest Hill pottery studio
Reported by Richmond BizSense’s Jack Jacobs

After acquiring the home of a pottery studio that operated for decades in Forest Hill, Joanna Gragnani has put her own spin on the storefront.

Her 43rd Street Studios recently launched a paid membership program that provides access to rentable clay-working workspaces and an expanded schedule of pottery classes at 1412 W. 43rd St.

The space was previously occupied by Robin Cage’s 43rd Street Gallery, which shuttered in January after more than 35 years of operation.

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