RICHMOND, Va. — An effort led by one of the region’s biggest corporate heavyweights appears to be taking aim at the ailing Richmond Coliseum, RichmondBizSense reported.
A group of investors led by Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell is said to be backing and gaining momentum on a plan for a new arena downtown to replace the aging Coliseum, as well as potential redevelopment of surrounding properties, including remnants of the long-dormant 6th Street Marketplace and Blues Armory property.
The project is still in planning stages but is slated to be announced in the coming weeks, according to sources with knowledge of the effort.
Dominion looks to play a big role in the process, according to those sources, eyeing naming rights for the new arena as it has done with other venues such as Dominion Arts Center.
The company has secured a website domain for the potential endeavor, purchasing through an affiliate the rights to DominionEnergyArena.com. Online records show the affiliate registered the domain Feb. 6, the same day Dominion announced its plans to rebrand from Dominion Resources to Dominion Energy.
In addition to the 6th Street Marketplace property, for which the city has been working to gain clear title, other related improvements could include construction of a hotel that would serve both the new arena and the neighboring Greater Richmond Convention Center.
Other properties potentially in play include surrounding buildings and parking decks owned by the city’s public works department.
A spokesman for the investor group declined to comment. Dominion spokesman Ryan Frazier did not return a request for comment on the company’s involvement.
The whole plan, should it materialize, could unlock for revitalization much of the acreage bound by North Fifth, East Marshall, North 10th and East Leigh streets.
The properties that could be included are all city-owned through various departments, and encompass about 17 acres, the largest chunk of which is 7 acres housing the city-owned Coliseum.
The future of that land depends on how closely, if at all, the group’s plan follows recommendations made in 2011 by consultants hired by Dominion, Altria, Genworth and MeadWestvaco, now WestRock, to study the feasibility of a new arena in the region.