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City planners share blueprint to demolish Coliseum, redevelop downtown district

Richmond Coliseum
Posted at 9:31 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 11:47:43-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- City planners are unveiling their blueprints to the public to demolish the Richmond Coliseum and redevelop several acres surrounding the 50-year-old building.

The draft City Center Plan, which city planners started developing in June 2020, will replace the aging Coliseum with an outdoor entertainment venue and other open spaces, including a park, apartment complexes, office space and hotels. The last phase of the plan could also involve the construction of a new City Hall Tower.

“We already have strong anchors like the Virginia Biotech Park, VCU Health, the Convention Center and Jackson Ward, but in the middle of this is nothing,” says project manager Maritza Mercado Pechin. “There’s 26 acres of city-owned property and a lot of it is underutilized or vacant.”

Pechin says the area slated for new development will be phased in over a period of time, with the goal of boosting tax revenues for the city while increasing the number of people who work and live downtown by creating mixed-income and affordable housing. There are also plans to develop a new GRTC bus transfer center.

“The whole area downtown from Belvedere to 95, from the river to the railroad, used to have about 24,000 people now it has about 9,000 people so we have a lot of room to add more people,” Pechin says.

The first phase of the plan includes the redevelopment of the Public Safety Building, which the city council agreed to sell for $3.5 million for the redevelopment of VCU Health and the Ronald McDonald House Charities, among other projects.

The next phases will include the redevelopment of surface parking lots, the demolition of the Coliseum and the creation of a new entertainment venue, park, hotel, office and residential space.

The final phase of plans could also include the creation of a new City Hall building and government offices, along with a new public high school.

A meeting will be held on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Convention Center. At the meeting, attendees can learn the details of the draft City Center Small Area plan and will also have the chance to share their thoughts on the draft. Those interested can also attend the meeting virtually.