Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that the City of Richmond has been awarded a $600,000 Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF) grant towards the redevelopment of the Leigh Street Armory, located at 122 West Leigh Street in historic Jackson Ward. The Leigh Street Armory grant was one of six grant announcements made by the Governor today.
The Leigh Street Armory Redevelopment, an initiative of the City’s ArtBusiness Richmond reinvestment program targeting the emerging Downtown arts district, will transform this vacant property into the new home of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. Renovation plans call for construction of a new addition to the rear of the Armory, which would add much needed space for museum exhibits, community education and events, storage, offices and other purposes.
“I would like to thank Governor McDonnell for this grant award as these funds will significantly help advance this $3 million public/private revitalization project,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “Restoration of this property will further advance the City’s revitalization of Jackson Ward, which occupies a vital place in the social and economic history of African Americans. It will also enhance Richmond’s ongoing efforts to expand tourism while developing our city’s cultural offerings. Additionally, it will help give meaningful use to an architectural icon.”
Second District City Councilman Charles Samuels added, “I am excited that the State recognizes the importance of African-American heritage in the city.”
“These grants will leverage local and private resources to achieve redevelopment of these derelict structures,” said Governor McDonnell. “The funds will create a catalyst for long-term employment opportunities and on-going physical and economic revitalization to attract private sector investment to these distressed communities.”
IRF provides grants for construction projects aligned with local and regional economic development strategies, primarily in distressed communities. Potential IRF grant projects were reviewed and evaluated competitively, with an emphasis on those with a high level of blight, identification of impediments to economic development efforts, alignment with regional or local strategies, availability of matching resources, level of community distress where the property is located and an identified and feasible end use. The maximum award was $600,000.