Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Richmond City Council Delays Vote On Getting New Navy Hill Proposals

richmonds closed downtown arena
The resolution is the first step toward redeveloping the land that was previously a part of the proposed Navy Hill project. (Crixell Matthews/VPM)

UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: Richmond City Council is pushing back a vote that would declare the Coliseum and city-owned land surrounding it surplus. 

Officials from the Stoney administration and the Economic Development Authority asked to delay the vote on the resolution. Moving forward, they want City Council to consider getting developer bids on the 10 properties individually, rather than as a group. 

The delay comes after at least two City Council members expressed concerns over moving forward Tuesday night. At least 7 of the 9 council members have to vote in support of making city-owned property surplus for the resolution to pass. 

ORIGINAL STORY:

Richmond City Council will vote Tuesday night on whether to declare the Coliseum and the city-owned land around it surplus, triggering a new request for proposal process.

The resolution is the first step toward redeveloping the land that was previously a part of the proposed Navy Hill project, and would let prospective developers begin bidding.  The resolution covers 10 land parcels including the Coliseum itself, as well as the city’s defunct Public Safety Building and parking lots across from the John Marshall Courthouse and Richmond Convention Center. 

When Richmond City Council voted down the Navy Hill redevelopment proposal earlier this year, they also approved a resolution calling for a more transparent and competitive process. Some council members who voted against the project, like Kristen Larson, say they want to see plans to implement that before they vote.

“We did not get it right the first time,” Larson said ahead of the vote. “I want to see this land developed and we have an opportunity to get it right, but we don’t want to make some of the mistakes that were made before.”

Larson said she wants an update from city officials about their plans to engage residents and an appraisal of the land before she votes to surplus it.

Second District Councilwoman Kim Gray, who is currently running for mayor, said she plans to vote against the resolution on Tuesday. She’s concerned about whether the public has been properly notified of this first step toward another Navy Hill proposal. 

“You don’t want to make big decisions in the midst of a crisis without the public weighing in on what happens with their property,” she said. 

Gray also voted against moving the surplus resolution forward to the full council at a recent Land Use Committee meeting. Council members Michael Jones and Ellen Robertson voted to send it to the full council for a final vote. 

Declaring the land surplus does not hinder public meetings and appraisals from being done at a later date. It would allow Richmond City Council to consider two unsolicited offers that are already on the table. 

Back in February, D.C.-based developer Douglas Jemal  offered to buy the Coliseum and surrounding properties for $15 million shortly after the city council voted down Mayor Levar Stoney’s $1.5 billion proposals. Jemal said he planned to renovate the coliseum and turn surrounding properties into a mix of residential and retail space. His proposal was similar to the original project, but would not require the city to put its own money into redeveloping the Coliseum through tax increment financing.

A second unsolicited offer was made earlier this month by Capital City Partners, a firm  closely tied to the original Navy Hill development group NH District Corp. Capital City Partners is offering the city roughly $3.2 million in exchange for Richmond’s Public Safety Building. The firm wants to build a $350 million development anchored by a 20-story tower for VCU Health’s administration.

If Richmond City Council approves the resolution, the city’s acting Chief Administrative Officer Lenora Reid will be responsible for issuing one or multiple RFPs for the land. 

Related Stories