ABC headquarters moves to Hanover, VCU has eyes on former location for athletic village

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HANOVER, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new headquarters and distribution center Monday morning.

The new facility in Mechanicsville includes a warehouse and office space which take up more than 400,000 square feet combined. The project broke ground back in February of 2020, and finished ahead of its 2021 holiday season deadline.

During the February groundbreaking ceremony, Northam said the Hanover location could replace the Richmond facility. He added if that happened, it would make space for a “world-class stadium” VCU and the Richmond Flying Squirrels could use.

Virginia Commonwealth University is first in line to purchase the property on Hermitage Road in Richmond, said Hill.

The total cost of the 22-acre ABC parcel is $16 million. Of that cost, $14.7 million has been allocated by the state and VCU will cover the remaining $1.3 million through a variety of sources, but not from tuition or student fees, said VCU Athletic Director Ed McLaughlin.

The Virginia ABC added it is moving its region six Bureau of Law Enforcement office, which covers the Richmond area, to the new headquarters as well.

However, the company has to feel confident in their new facility in Hanover before letting go of the land in Richmond.

“People are going to be trained, we’re going to be efficient. We need that August and September timeframe because October, November, December is our busiest time of year, so we’ve got to have this place nailed down and know what we’re doing here,” said ABC CEO Travis Hill.

VCU could possibly take over the site by the beginning of next year. They hope to incorporate it into VCU’s Athletic Village as part of the University’s master plan called One VCU.

The ABC parcel is one of several on Hermitage Road which will include an indoor-outdoor tennis facility, soccer stadium, track and field facility, fieldhouse, practice fields and multi-use courts. 

“That won’t happen until we’re satisfied that we can operate out of this facility,” Hill said.

He said the company moved from the Richmond location because of capacity and technology limitations.

“The old facility has really reached the end of its useful life. The equipment was going to have to be replaced inside anyway, so it became this decision of what’s the best investment for the Commonwealth,” Hill said.

In 2020, Virginia ABC reported a gross revenue of $1.2 billion, which was $117 million more than in 2019. This was the second year in a row its sales exceeded $1 billion.

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