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The Navy Hill Project is dead: Richmond City Council rejects $1.5B proposal

Despite a major push by Richmond mayor Levar Stoney as well as local celebrities and Dominion Energy executives, the $1.5 billion Navy Hill Redevelopment plan is dead.
Richmond Mayor releases Navy Hill redevelopment documents
Public hearing on Navy Hill Project scheduled for Wednesday
Posted at 12:11 AM, Feb 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-11 10:50:16-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Despite a major push by Richmond mayor Levar Stoney as well as local celebrities and Dominion Energy executives, the $1.5 billion Navy Hill Redevelopment plan is dead.

In front of a packed house in City Hall, dozens of supporters and opponents of the project voiced their opinions for more than two hours.

And in a 5-4 vote, the Richmond City Council voted to kill the plan, citing financial risks to the city and a lack of transparency by the project's developers among numerous other concerns. The decision was predicated by a vote last Tuesday where five of the nine council members voted against the project during a committee meeting.

Stoney sold the Navy Hill project as an economic driver and job creator for the city. On top of a brand-new coliseum, the plan called for new retail spaces, affordable housing and space for VCU Health.

Supporters of the project said that it would help "transform" the downtown area, create jobs and boost additional city revenue. But those opposed pointed out the project's lack of transparency, taxpayer risk, and concerns that the city should be focusing on other issues like improving Richmond Public Schools.

Stoney released a statement Monday night saying he is disappointed in city council, but remains determined to move forward.

“It saddens me that Richmonders won’t benefit from the housing, jobs and economic empowerment this project would bring — and I’m disappointed that council did not follow through on the process they laid out to review and evaluate this transformative project for our city — but I’m resolved to wake up tomorrow and keep working to move our city forward,” wrote Stoney.

“I’d like to thank the four members of city council who supported this project, the city administration who worked tirelessly to evaluate this proposal, and the thousands of community members who called, wrote, and spoke in support of this project.”

The Navy Hill District Corporation released the following statement after the vote:

"While we are disappointed that five City Council members rejected the project, we are proud of the proposal that we delivered. Navy Hill would have offered a transformative opportunity for our City and for the Central Virginia region.
Moreover, the community spoke – and we listened. We met with hundreds and hundreds of Richmonders over the course of two years. We were actively working on amendments to incorporate the suggestions we heard, but unfortunately, those who opposed the project voted to end it before learning more – which is regrettable.

Our proposal would have revitalized downtown – creating thousands of jobs, investing $300 million in minority-owned businesses, building a historic number of affordable housing units, and creating a new stream of revenue to fund Richmond Public Schools, infrastructure improvements, workforce training, and more.

As you can see from the outpouring of support tonight, this was a missed opportunity to address many of the issues we have heard about through countless hours of community engagement.
We remain grateful to the four members of Council who carefully studied the project and collaborated to make it even better. We also thank our partners, supporters and friends – old and new – who worked tirelessly to move Richmond and Central Virginia forward, and to Mayor Stoney for his leadership and vision with this project."