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BizSense Beat: January 5, 2024

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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 January 5, 2024:

Lego begins operations at temporary packaging facility in ChesterfieldReported by Richmond Bizsense’s Jack Jacobs

With a $1 billion manufacturing plant still in the offing in Chesterfield, Lego Group recently kicked off operations at a temporary product packaging facility elsewhere in the county.

The Danish toymaker is now up and running at 1600 Ruffin Mill Road, where it leases a 264,000-square-foot warehouse that handles the packaging of the company’s building-block kits.

The temporary center is a precursor to Lego’s plans to open a 1.7 million-square-foot manufacturing plant in the nearby Meadowville Technology Park.

The opening of the packaging facility also comes as Chesterfield provides clearer insight into incentives tied to the overall Lego project with a recent amendment to its existing grant agreement regarding the company’s efforts in the county.

In the interim, the Ruffin Mill Road facility helps meet Lego’s packaging needs and supports the company’s operations across North and South America.

State government takes on new master plan process for Capitol Square
Reported by Richmond Bizsense’s Mike Platania

As the General Assembly prepares to convene for its 2024 session in its brand new building in Richmond next week, the state government is taking a closer look at the overall layout and development potential of Capitol Square.

The Virginia Department of General Services has enlisted Dallas, Texas-based infrastructure consulting firm AECOM to create a new master plan for the 46-acre Capitol District downtown. The area spans dozens of state-owned buildings including the new General Assembly Building, the Virginia State Capitol, the Executive Mansion and the James Monroe tower.

DGS issued a request for proposals for the project last summer and awarded a $509,000 contract to AECOM, the same firm that helped guide both the city’s Richmond 300 master plan, which was finalized in 2020, as well as the more recently adopted Shockoe Small Area Plan, which flanks the Capitol District to the east.

In the RFP, the state said it’s seeking a master plan that would “provide a conceptual, philosophical, visual framework that reimagines the Capitol Square Experience for all stakeholders – be those state employees, Richmond residents, and other passersby – and capitalizes on the existing assets of the Capitol District and surrounding areas.”

EDM pitching in $1M toward Diamond District ballpark designReported by Richmond Bizsense’s Jonathan Spiers

As design work continues on its anchor baseball stadium, efforts to tee up the first phase of Richmond’s Diamond District project are getting a funding boost from the city’s Economic Development Authority.

The EDA board last month authorized staff to enter into a contract with Navigators Baseball LP, the ownership group of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, to provide up to $1 million in city funds to help advance the new stadium’s design and development.

Leonard Sledge, the city’s economic development director, told the board the funds are needed to push the project forward and keep the new stadium on track to open in time for the 2026 season, the city’s target for complying with new facility standards for pro baseball venues.

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