HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears visited Henrico County Wednesday morning to tour the site where the ‘Green City’ project is expected to break ground next year.
John Vithoulkas is the County Manager for Henrico County. He told 8News ‘Green City’ is the largest project that the county has ever undertaken and that Lt. Governor Earle-Sears requested an update.
“This is a win-win for not just Henrico County, but I think for the entire commonwealth,” said Earle-Sears. “It’s going to be a wonderful place, as our governor, Glenn Youngkin says, to live, work and raise a family right here off the 95 corridor.”
The over 200-acre property is located near the intersection of I-295 and Parham Road.
It’s expected to house a 300,000-square-foot high-performance office, which is currently in design. It’s also expected to get a Living Building Challenge certification.
The property will also include an arena district with a stadium holding more than 17,000 seats.
According to developers, the property will house more than 2,000 residential units.
In addition, there will be a natural resource conservation area throughout the property including fitness parks, a forest walk, botanical gardens, wetlands and streams.
Other features include EV charging, an internal shuttle, access to public transit, rainwater harvesting and renewable energy.
Dennis Bickmeier is the Executive Director for Henrico County’s Sports and Entertainment Authority. He said the county is focusing on providing indoor facilities.
“For a long time, Henrico County has done an amazing job with outdoor sports tourism. So think baseball, softball, soccer. Now we’re talking about the indoor game,” Bickmeier said.
The Virginia Center Commons redevelopment is expected to open in September 2023.
“We haven’t had an indoor facility since the coliseum was closed downtown,” Bickmeier said. “And to think of a 17,000-seat building and then another building just a few miles up the road that can hold 3,500 people, there’s a lot of flexibility and a lot of variety we can bring to the region.”
According to Bickmeier, a 2019 study showed $60 million in lost revenue without a facility that could accommodate large events.
Major events up and down Interstate 95 have been skipping over the Richmond area.
“So [now], we don’t have to say no anymore,” Bickmeier said.
The county is hoping to attract not only major music acts but also large sports competitions.
Bickmeier is currently eyeing an NCAA championship bid for the ‘Green City’ project. He said it operates in four-year cycles and wants to be in those discussions next summer.
Bickmeier also hopes to attract USA hockey and gymnastics championships.
Vithoulkas said Green City is expected to generate around $1.3 billion dollars per year and 7,600 jobs.
This was a major reason why the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously last October to approve the zoning for the project.
Green City is expected to break ground in 2023, with a completion date of late 2025-2026.