HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Henrico County officials are endorsing a developer’s vision for GreenCity, a $2.3 billion private, mixed-use “eco-district” development that would promote economic development and environmental sustainability as well as include a 17,000-seat arena for major concerts, sporting events and other entertainment.
The development would integrate extensive parks, trails and open spaces among about 2 million square feet of office space, 280,000 square feet of retail space, 2,400 housing units, two hotels and a $250 million arena.
Fairfield District Supervisor Frank J. Thornton is holding a virtual meeting with constituents to explain the project on Thursday, Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. Residents can submit questions to email@example.com and access the meeting through the Henrico County Government’s YouTube channel.
Officials with Henrico and GreenCity LLC announced plans for the development today at the county-owned former headquarters of Best Products, which is northeast of East Parham Road’s interchange with Interstate 95 and where the 250-acre community would extend north to Interstate 295.
“GreenCity will be a community that preserves, embraces and showcases open space, and it will drive economic development and tourism in new and exciting ways while remaining respectful to county taxpayers,” County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said. “The arena will put this region back on the entertainment map. It also will provide tremendous benefits to our county while creating no financial risk to our taxpayers.”
The arena described as ‘the greenest arena venue in North America’ and would accommodate up to 17,000 people in flexible seating configurations to accommodate touring concerts, family shows and potentially new sports teams, including ECHL Hockey and G-League Basketball.
The former Best Products headquarters, including its iconic Art-Deco eagle statues, would be renovated and repurposed to Living Building Challenge standards, which features the world’s highest level of sustainable design and operations. “Living buildings” provide net-positive energy and water, and produce zero waste.
The developers anticipate a formal submission of plans and an application for rezoning to the UMU, or urban mixed-use, classification in early 2021.
The Board of Supervisors will consider at its Jan. 26 regular meeting a proposed transfer of the Best Products site to the county’s Economic Development Authority (EDA).
The EDA anticipates entering into an agreement to convey the land to the developers pending approval of the rezoning. The developers would then finalize the purchase of the land at $6.2 million which is the amount Henrico paid when it bought the property in 2011.
Henrico officials expect to conduct a detailed review of the financial projections as part of its due diligence of the proposal.
When many hear “arena” they think of the $1.5 billion Navy Hill project in Richmond, which was scrapped back in February of this year by City Council. So developers moved to Henrico.
The Mayor’s Chief of Staff saying “Henrico’s announcement today shows that this vision had merit - and the mayor wishes them well and he’s glad that the region will benefit.”
The City Manager agreeing that Mayor Levar Stoney’s premise was “spot on,” but he says the two projects are different.
“A big difference here is the developers are working with raw land, they’re not working within city blocks, so the topography is different, the development is different, the financing is different,” said Vithoulkas.
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