Friday, February 16, 2018

Update on North of Broad/Downtown Redevelopment Request for Proposals

On November 9, 2017, Mayor Stoney formally announced the issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the North of Broad/Downtown Neighborhood Redevelopment Project. Issuing the RFP was the first step in initiating an open competitive process for a transformative opportunity to spur redevelopment of a significant portion of real estate located in the neighborhood north of Broad Street in downtown Richmond.

Upon announcing the RFP, Mayor Stoney noted that “The goals of this RFP are bold, but provide an opportunity to achieve a number of strategic objectives for the city. To expand economic development and affordable housing opportunities, to generate revenue while achieving poverty mitigations through jobs and training, to provide historic preservation and community revitalization, to promote and support tourism, and to ensure sustainable development and investments in infrastructure.”

The RFP required respondents address a variety of components, including:

  • Replacement of the Richmond Coliseum
  • Mixed income and affordable housing
  • Community revitalization
  • Infrastructure improvements necessary to support new traffic patterns and increased pedestrian activity
  • Poverty mitigation including local job creation, training, and hiring
  • Minority and Emerging Small Business participation
  • Replacement of the GRTC Transfer Station
  • New Convention Center Hotel
  • Historic Preservation and adaptive reuse of the Blues Armory
  • Project financing that does not involve the moral or general obligation of the city

Mayor Stoney made it clear that the city will not entertain any proposal that requires the city to use its existing tax revenue or debt capacity. The city will not incur any moral or general obligation bonds to fund any private component of a proposal, but is willing to consider proposals that incorporate tax increment financing or the creation of special service districts.

“We have too much to do for schools, housing, roads and other city priorities to leverage our limited borrowing capacity for this redevelopment,” Mayor Stoney said.

Last Friday, February 9, 2018, was the deadline for the city to receive submissions in response to the RFP. The city received one Proposal prior to the submission deadline and will now turn its focus towards the review process.

A review committee of city staff will conduct a rigorous initial review and assessment of the Proposal, which is expected to take approximately 30 days. In order to ensure that all facets are evaluated and the city’s interests are protected, the review will involve multiple city disciplines including finance, economic and community development, operations, minority and emerging small business, planning, and transportation.

If the results of the initial review warrant moving forward, preliminary discussions will be undertaken over approximately 45 to 60 days following completion of the review. Contract negotiations, if warranted, would follow so that any project agreements and related ordinances could be finalized and presented to City Council for consideration later this year. 

“The North of Broad area presents a tremendous opportunity for transformational change, and as I stated from the onset, we set a high bar for respondents because that’s what we have to do to achieve true neighborhood revitalization,” Mayor Stoney said.

“I expect a thorough and meticulous review process, and we will only move forward if the Proposal is in the best interests of the city and does not negatively impact the city’s finances and debt capacity. If the Proposal does not live up to the goals set forth in the RFP, then we will have to explore other alternatives.” 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mayor Levar M. Stoney Statement on City Council Passage of Meals Tax Proposal to Fund School Facilities

“Tonight, the City of Richmond sent a strong message to its students that it is no longer willing to kick the can down the road when it comes to providing them with modern, safe and healthy environments in which to learn. This is just the first big step in what will be many more steps to improve our schools for our children, and for the generations of Richmond Public School students to come. After decades of telling them to wait, tonight we put them first. We are moving full-steam ahead with our plan to generate $150 million in new school construction and renovation of facilities that have been neglected for far too long.

This was not an easy decision, and it does not solve all of our schools’ challenges, but it was important that we get started now. I’d like to thank the members of City Council tonight for understanding the urgency and importance of our needs and having the courage to take action. And I would like to thank the Richmond School Board and Superintendent Jason Kamras for their advocacy and leadership for the children under their care. Through our Education Compact, we will continue to work together to tackle the challenges that lie ahead and forge solutions that will not only benefit our students but also make our city stronger.

To the restauranteurs who supported this proposal and those who had reservations about it, you are part of what makes Richmond a great place to live, work and play. I will continue to be a champion for you, and I look forward to finding ways that we can make it easier for you to do business and continue to thrive.

The large number and wide range of individuals and organizations who have supported this initiative – from education advocates to the real estate and business community to RPS teachers, parents and students – reinforce the broad consensus that we must move forward. Our kids can’t wait, and you heard their voices.

Our children face a brighter future. Now let’s make it happen.”