‘GreenCity’ environmental sustainability, development timeline: What you need to know

Henrico County

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Updates on the planned ‘GreenCity’ development in Henrico County were discussed in a virtual Fairfield constituents meeting on Thursday. A 17,000-seat arena, pegged as ‘the greenest venue in North America,’ is slated to be the centerpiece of the project.

Plans for the new development focus on mitigating climate change, promoting sustainability and bringing tourism to the county.

Henrico County officials announced the plans for the development located off I-95 and E. Parham Road in December and introduced the developers who previously worked on the proposed Navy Hill project with the City of Richmond.

‘GreenCity’ has been estimated to cost $2.3 billion and will be constructed using the 93 acres of the former Best Products Co., Inc. site, as well as an additional 110.6 acres of land to the north known as Scott Farm.

According to Henrico County, the project is under 100% private financing and ownership.

Frank Thornton, on the Henrico Board of Supervisors representing the Fairfield District, led the meeting alongside County Manager John Vithoulkas.

The meeting heavily focused on land redevelopment and environmental ‘Eco-Districts’ as well as highlighting jobs and further economic development.

Officials stressed the importance of citizen input during present and future constituent meetings.

Michael Hallmark, one of the developers of the project, took the attention as he broke down the master plan going forward.

Over the course of the next 15 years, the county and developers are pledging to work diligently to keep the community involved.

Environment and sustainability:

The first item on the agenda is the repurposing of the former Best Products Co., Inc. facility and transforming it into a living building — scheduled for completion by 2023.

The building will be redesigned to feature green roofs and solar panels.

The plot of land where the development is going to be built. (Photo: Tyler Thrasher)

One of the issues addressed in the meeting involved traffic patterns surrounding the Magellan Parkway, which is in the plans to undergo an extension, according to Hallmark.

Hallmark continuously mentioned how ‘green’ the development will be and brought attention to the surrounding wetlands and nature as a focus of preservation — highlighting the drive toward a ‘net-zero green energy’ goal.

Integrated park systems that will be “open to everyone” are in the plans for development after cleaning trash from surrounding wetlands, restoring streambeds and reforestation.

Hallmark mentioned ’20-minute living,’ describing it as having offices, retail shops and parks within walking distance from the housing developments, as well as offering access to green transit systems within the ‘city.’

The GreenCity development is planned to feature solar power, ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps.

Office, retail and residential:

GreenCity’s developers included plans for office, retail and residential construction spanning the course of the project.

Hallmark showed some of the numbers in the housing plans.

  • Multi-family: 1,200 units
  • Townhomes: 320 units
  • Two-over-two: 420 units
  • Villas: 140 units
  • Single-family: 120 units
  • Senior Multi-family: 120 units
  • Senior Villas: 70 units

The plans for ground-level retail are currently at a total of 280,000 sq. ft. and is planned to have a significant waste management system to be controlled within the development.

A 300-room hotel is planned to be built in conjunction with the arena with a second hotel to be built later on in the project.

Commercial office space is projected to span around 2.2 million sq. ft., with potential to attract companies that have signed climate pledges, according to Hallmark.

Arena:

The 17,000 seat arena is one of the main attractions of the GreenCity development. With 24 suites, 32 club boxes and 181 scheduled event days, the arena is said to have the capability to host touring headline acts and NCAA basketball tournaments.

Timeline and squencing:

According to Henrico County, the stages of development are:

  • Dec. 1, 2020: Henrico endorsement of the development vision
  • Early 2021: Formal GreenCity LLC submission of plans and application for rezoning to Urban Mixed-Use (UMU)
  • Jan. 26, 2021: Regular Board of Supervisors meeting to propose the transfer of 93.6-acre Best Products site to Economic Development Authority (EDA)
  • 2021-2024: Land assembly, planning, permitting, park boundaries, and initial developments
  • 2023: Arena bond closing
  • 2025: Arena opens
  • 2033: GreenCity buildout complete

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