RICHMOND, Va. -- Residents and business owners who work and live in Richmond’s Greater Scott’s Addition are closely watching plans to redevelop approximately 100 acres located in the booming neighborhood.
Sandi Cauley has owned her gym Turn Cardio Jam Studio on West Moore Street for seven years. The Greater Scott's Addition Association board member witnessed the major overhaul in the neighborhood over recent years.
“We kind of call it the pioneer days, like seven years ago when no one was here,” Cauley recalled.
Considered the city’s up-and-coming entertainment district, Scott’s Addition will soon see another transformation.
VCU’s Athletic Director Ed McLaughlin and Richmond’s Director of Economic Development Leonard Sledge addressed the Scott’s Addition Boulevard Association at the Richmond Triangle Players theater Wednesday morning.
According to plans released by Virginia Commonwealth University and the City of Richmond, approximately 100 acres off Arthur Ashe Boulevard and Hermitage Road will be home to a new athletic village, baseball stadium, retail, apartments and offices.
McLaughlin admitted he doesn’t expect crews to break ground on about 40 acres of practice soccer fields and indoor public tennis courts on VCU-owned land east of Hermitage Road until after Summer 2022.
“The total cost for the whole project will be between 80 to 100 million dollars,” he explained. “It’s going to take us five to seven years to get this thing built at the very least.”
McLaughlin could not provide a timeline or an expected finish date for the VCU Athletic Village.
Sledge largely remained mum on their plans to redevelop about 60 acres which includes the current Flying Squirrels baseball stadium and Sports Backers Stadium. He reassured the association that the city will release a request for interest to redevelop the city-owned land to potential developers by the end of the year.
“We understand there are prime pressures to have a replacement stadium in place,” Sledge stated. “We are mindful and sensitive of those things.”
The Flying Squirrels president, Lou DiBella, told The Richmond Times-Dispatch, “We need to be playing in a new stadium no later than 2025. Period. I think everybody knows the stakes, and I don’t think anybody wants us to go anywhere.”
Sledge couldn’t say how much money it would take to develop the land or a timeline for construction to begin, which he said would be dependent on the potential construction company’s proposal.
Sledge did say the city has learned from past failed projects like the Navy Hill development plan in Downtown Richmond.
“We’ve been very methodical in terms of making sure we took that feedback,” he stated. “We programed a better path forward in terms of redevelopment, large-scale redevelopment in the city.”
Cauley was optimistic that whoever moves in next door will contribute to the grassroots development of the neighborhood.
“They thought they had this well-intended, well-researched project and tried to be conscious of that, putting the right project into the right part of town. Whether that’s the proposed Live! casino or Navy Hill,” Cauley said. “But I think in this instance this is the right project for that corridor or for us.”