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Navy Hill Developers Make New Offer To Buy Richmond’s Public Safety Building For Development

a redering of the development, VCU tower and office buildings.
A rendering of what the development at 11th and Leigh Streets could look like under the proposal. (Courtesy of Capital City Partners)

A development firm that was a key part of the failed proposal to redevelop the Richmond Coliseum and Navy Hill neighborhood has made a new offer to city officials. 

In a letter dated May 1, Capital City Partners made an unsolicited offer of $3.17 million to buy the land where the city’s Public Safety Building currently sits at 11th and Leigh Streets. The site, which is across the street from VCU Health’s new outpatient building, would be redeveloped into a mixed-use development anchored by an office tower for the VCU Health System. Other named tenants include two local nonprofits: The Doorways and Ronald McDonald House Charities. 

Capital City Partners urged Richmond City Council and Mayor Levar Stoney for “timely action” in its proposal, saying its planned delivery of the development relies on the deal being done in the next 90 days. 

“As they were originally intended to benefit from expanded facilities in the proposed Navy Hill development, their plans have been stalled, creating uncertainty for their leadership, for essential workers and staff, and for their philanthropic supporters,” the proposal read. “With the progress that has already been accomplished toward realizing this development over the last year, work on this project can proceed immediately.”

Capital City Partners, headed by Susan Eastridge and Michael Hallmark, was the lead architect and developer for the proposed Navy Hill development. They operated under the umbrella nonprofit NH District Corp., which was led by Dominion CEO Tom Farrell and former Altria CEO Marty Barrington.

That deal was voted down by Richmond City Council on February 10. Under the rejected proposal, the city was expected to take out roughly $350 million in bonds to pay for redeveloping the Richmond Coliseum. The developers, meanwhile, would build nearly a billion dollars in new apartments, offices, and retail space. The new tax revenue from the development was expected to pay back the bonds.

Critics of the Navy Hill proposal were concerned that the financial structure of the deal could impact local funding for schools and other critical services. An independent, citizen-led commission also found that replacing the Richmond Coliseum was not a “sound public investment.”

The new proposal from Capital City Partners does not include a similar tax increment financing structure or other public subsidies. The unsolicited proposal is also not predicated upon the city building a new arena. 

In addition to new office space for VCU and area nonprofits, the proposal includes 20,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 35,000 sq. ft. of space for child care. In total, the project is expected to create more than 545,000 sq. ft. in new leasable space and 1,900 parking spaces. Importantly, Capital City Partners says the development would put the land back on city tax rolls, including the office space leased by VCU.

Jim Nolan, a spokesperson for Mayor Stoney, said his administration is currently reviewing the offer.

“The Department of Economic Development has communicated the receipt of the offer to council and will be discussing the contents with city council to decide next steps,” Nolan said.

Richmond City Council will ultimately decide whether to accept or reject the unsolicited offer.

You can read the full proposal from Capital City Partners here.