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Richmond Officials Taking Public Comment On Redeveloping Coliseum, Navy Hill

photo of the closed richmond coliseum
Richmond officials are now collecting input on what residents want to see in the Navy Hill area of downtown. (Crixell Matthews/VPM)

When Richmond City Council voted down a deal to redevelop the Coliseum and surrounding neighborhood, they asked for a small area plan to be drawn up. Richmond officials are now collecting input on what residents want to see in this area of downtown.

One thing officials want residents to help them with is redesigning the Navy Hill neighborhood, so that’s it's more than just a place where people work. 

Mark Olinger, who heads the city’s Department of Planning and Development Review, asked for the public’s help in reimagining what the neighborhood could be.

“We need to think about how we create a place that is active outside of your typical downtown business hours, the 8 to 5 and then nobody comes back down here,” Olinger said at a recent Richmond 300 meeting. “[Navy Hill] is a quarter of the downtown.” 

Right now, no one lives in the area surrounding the Coliseum. It’s mostly parking lots and government-owned buildings.  

The draft Richmond 300 Master Plan, which will guide the city’s growth over the next nearly two decades, calls for the area to be zoned as a mix of residential and commercial properties. 

Because much of the Navy Hill neighborhood contains land currently owned by the city, the public will have an opportunity to comment on if the land is sold and how it will be used. The Coliseum Framework Plan, part of the Richmond 300, is expected to help Richmond City Council vet various developer proposals to buy the land. 

Since the original redevelopment proposal for the Navy Hill area and Coliseum was voted down, the city has received two unsolicited offers. 

In February, D.C. based developer Douglas Jemal offered to buy the Coliseum and surrounding properties for $15 million. 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.

Capital City Partners, a firm closely tied to the original Navy Hill development group NH District Corp, made a second unsolicited offer last month. It’s offering the city roughly $3.2 million in exchange for Richmond’s defunct Public Safety Building near City Hall. The firm wants to build a $350 million development anchored by a 20-story tower for Virginia Commonwealth University’s Health administration.

Officials are now accepting public comment on the Richmond 300 website to help craft a development plan for Navy Hill. Those comments will be the focus of a public meeting on July 14

 

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