RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A majority of Richmond City Councilors are asking Mayor Levar Stoney to restart the bidding process on the controversial Navy Hill development.
Five members say they want the mayor to request new proposals and have all old bids for the $1.5 billion dollar project withdrawn.
Board member Kristen Larson said there are concerns over public financing of the arena and fears the city would lose money on unapprised property that would be handed over to developers.
"Our job is to serve the people. I’ve heard loud and clear from residents of the 4th District. They have had concerns about this from the beginning...We want to see this area developed but it needs to start and evolve in a different way,” Larson said.
Councilmember Kim Gray said they weren’t able to vet the plan with Navy Hill’s key players because they signed non-disclosure agreements.
They also want the mayor to get more public engagement on the proposal that includes an arena, apartments and office space.
The mayor says his office has spent more than a million dollars vetting the plan and claims council members are simply refusing to take action.
Stoney called the resolution “laughable,” "ridiculous,” and “selfish.” He also says the council members haven’t been vocal with their concerns prior to taking this move.
The Navy Hill District Corp. released the following statement saying in part:
“It’s unfortunate that instead of looking for ways to improve the Navy Hill proposal, these Councilmembers are putting their heads in the sand and hoping that the City’s problems resolve themselves. We proactively sought to sit down with each of these five members to ask them for their ideas, amendments and recommendations to make this the best possible deal for Richmond, to which they have offered nothing.”
“Just as the Council’s Navy Hill Advisory Commission worked hard – it’s time for these Councilmembers to do the people’s work, because we are not going to withdraw this community benefit-driven proposal or start over. The project has been under unprecedented scrutiny for the past six months – and we have engaged residents in hundreds of civic meetings and briefings and dozens of Advisory Commission meetings, Council work sessions and public hearings. No City process has ever been this transparent.”
A final vote was set for next month.
Stay with NBC12 for the latest on this developing story.
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