Home 2019 Elections Richmond’s Navy Hill Development Advisory Commission Report Released

Richmond’s Navy Hill Development Advisory Commission Report Released

Majority finds "proposed, publicly financed $300 million arena" is NOT "a sound and reasonable public investment in the redevelopment of Downtown [Richmond]"

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The final report by Richmond’s Navy Hill Development Advisory Commission is now available. See below for the report, the Commission Scoresheet, and for other key findings. Also, just a bit of background, from the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

  • “NH District Corp.’s plans call for a 17,500-seat arena that would replace the Richmond Coliseum; more than 2,000 apartments and condominiums; a high-rise hotel; 1 million square feet of commercial and office space; 260,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space; renovation of the historic Blues Armory; a new transfer plaza for GRTC Transit System bus riders; and infrastructure improvements.”
  • “The commission’s recommendations stand in stark contrast to Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s full-throated endorsement of the project. Stoney has said the plan poses ‘no risk’ to Richmond or its financial well-being. The mayor and the project’s backers have said repeatedly that the plans would help the city coffers and schools in the long run.”
  • “Stoney spent 18 months reviewing and negotiating the terms of the project with NH District Corp., the developer led by Dominion Energy CEO Thomas F. Farrell II.”

With that…here’s the Commission Scoresheet, which is mostly in yellow (“Assumptions, projections, costs, benefits or impacts of the project that are not validated due to insufficient information, lack of a majority position, or no position on the issue”), with five issues in green (“Validated assumptions, projections, costs, benefits or impacts of the project are designated in green if they support advancement of the project by a majority of Commissioners”) and four issues in red (“Assumptions, projections, costs, benefits or impacts of the project that are not agreed to by a majority of Commissioners or do not support the advancement of the project are designated in red”).

The issues in red are: risk to general fund, risk to school funds, cost of Navy Hill program and project oversight, and whether the arena is a sound public investment. And a key finding:

“A majority of Commissioners (2Y-5N-2?) did not find the proposed, publicly financed $300 million arena a sound and reasonable public investment in the redevelopment of Downtown [Richmond].”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the project.

By the way, check out this story from November 19, which reports on a “26-page IRS complaint alleg[ing] that the NH District Corporation [the “group behind the plan” for redeveloping Richmond’s Navy Hill area] is breaking IRS laws to serve its own interests, rather than act as a non-profit charity,” and notes that “NH District Corporation’s tax records, which were ultimately posted on the group’s website, show a $1.5 million donation to the group from Dominion Energy Services,” while “Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell is the chairman of NH District Corporation.” Hmmmm…

P.S. Click here for audio of the final meeting of the Navy Hill Development Advisory Committee.