Shockoe Center development deal dead - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Shockoe Center development deal dead

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A strike out for Richmond. The $363 million plan to build a baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom is dead in the water.

The developer, Highwoods Properties cited financing concerns as one reason for walking away from the project. One person we talked to today sees this as an opportunity for Richmond to redevelop the Diamond.

Highwoods Properties said its plan for a self-financing ballpark would be feasible, but not in today's revenue bond market. It also said discussions about its plans to not only revitalize Shockoe bottom, but the Boulevard, have been overshadowed by debate about the ballpark.

Mayor Dwight Jones had the city spend $125,000 on a study about Highwoods Proposal. But the mayor said last month he wasn't ready to commit to the project.      

Charlie Diradour, who runs the website, baseballontheboulevard.com, says Highwoods decision is exciting news for the city.

"I think the will of the people has been heard by developers and those in government that we don't need to be issuing a $60 or $70 million bond right now when we have needs such as schools and a new jail to deal with," said Diradour.

In a statement released by the city, the mayor said many other considerations need further research, including the cultural heritage of Shockoe Bottom, the GTRC transfer station and good development of open space.

The mayor says the Eastern League made a commitment to Richmond to bring baseball to the Diamond next spring and the focus now is to find the best way to make that happen.

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