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BizSense Beat: May 17, 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 May 17, 2024:

Diamond District financing pivot prompts lawsuit seeking referendum
Reported by Richmond Bizsense’s Jonathan Spiers

Less than 24 hours after authorizing a new financing plan for the ballpark-anchored Diamond District development, Richmond City Council and Mayor Levar Stoney have been hit with a lawsuit challenging the action.

Local attorney and activist Paul Goldman filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging council’s approval a day earlier of ordinances allowing the city to issue $170 million in bonds to finance the new stadium for the Richmond Flying Squirrels and infrastructure improvements for the $2.4 billion mixed-use development’s first phase.

The funding approach, which puts the city on the hook to repay the bonds should the stadium not be built or the larger development fail, is a change from a previous plan to issue non-obligation bonds through a community development authority (CDA) and with collateral from developer Diamond District Partners.

Dodson converting former Circuit arcade-bar into sports bar-card shop combo
Reported by Richmond Bizsense’s Mike Platania

A year after buying the building, local developer Duke Dodson is set to turn a former Scott’s Addition bar-arcade space into a sports bar-card shop combo concept.

Dodson is preparing to open Parlay Bar & Lounge in the old Circuit Arcade Bar spot at 3117 W. Leigh St., where he’ll also relocate his Graybo’s Sports Cards retail shop.

The Circuit closed last fall after a six-year run in the building. Dodson, who’s invested in and developed real estate all over the city, paid $4 million for the The Circuit property a few months before it went out of business.

In a statement, Dodson said: “This dual concept is completely new to the sports card world and Richmond. We’re hoping this catches on as the ‘no-brainer’ spot to watch a game or just get together with friends.”

Two separate proposals to bring a combined 500 apartments to South Richmond
Reported by Richmond Bizsense’s Mike Platania

More than 500 apartments are in the works near the intersection of Semmes and Cowardin avenues in Richmond’s Southside, courtesy of two out-of-town developers.

Dallas-based Trammell Crow Residential is planning three apartment buildings totaling 260 units at 2000 Semmes Ave. and 418 Cowardin Ave., while Tennessee-based Elmington is planning roughly the same number of units at 2201 McDonough St.

Trammell Crow’s project would rise on a 5.3-acre plot that’s been eyed for a variety of uses over the years, including a Wawa, office space and retail outparcel. Elmington, meanwhile, is looking to build on a 6.7-acre parcel that was formerly a mobile home park, located downhill of Semmes Avenue and across from Richmond Fire Station 17.

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