RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The first phase of the $2.4 billion Diamond District project will include a new baseball stadium to replace The Diamond, more than 1,200 housing units, a hotel and retail stores.
RVA Diamond Partners, the development team picked for the project, will redevelop nearly 22 acres of land for the new 10,000-capacity stadium and surrounding projects, according to the city’s term sheet with the developer.
Richmond’s new baseball stadium is slated to be ready by the opening day of the 2025 minor league season, a sticking point for the city as Major League Baseball set a deadline for all venues to meet new minimum facility standards.
Under the project’s first phase, RVA Diamond Partners will develop at least 1,134 rental units and 92 housing units for sale, a 180 key full-service hotel, nearly 59,000 square feet of retail space and more than 1,700 parking spaces.
“The redevelopment of the Diamond District site is intended to be financially self-sustaining, meaning that the new development in the Diamond District will generate enough tax revenue to pay debt service for Community Development Authority (“CDA”) bond financing and additional municipal services that may be required to support the new development,” the city’s resolution states.
Infrastructure costs and money used for the new baseball stadium will come from Community Development Authority bond financing. The city’s resolution says it will be repaid using real estate tax revenue generated in the CDA district, tax revenue from businesses and sales, money the stadium brings through the admissions tax, the local portion of the state sales tax and lease payments.
Once the CDA bond debt is repaid, the project’s first phase is expected to generate $156.2 million in tax revenue for the city over a 30-year period. The initial phase will have a minimum capital investment of $627.6 million, according to the city, with an aggregate minimum capital investment of $2.44 billion for the project.
The RVA Diamond Partners’ proposed project will start the design phase of the new baseball stadium “as soon as possible with a commitment to purchase the first $20 million of bonds to finance the new baseball stadium,” according to the city.
The proposal from RVA Diamond Partners will also create an 11-acre park and provide that 20% of rental units built will be available to households earning between 30%-60% of the area’s median income. At least 100 of these units will be open for project-based vouchers for public housing residents, according to the city.
Twenty percent of the project’s homeownership units will be for households earning between 60%-70% of the area’s median income. The proposal will also provide a $1 million fund to help affordable home buyers with closing costs and other expenses.
According to the term sheet, RVA Diamond Partners acknowledges it is “100% at risk for all costs” associated with the stadium’s design and won’t be reimbursed for any aspect of the project’s first phase. RVA Diamond Partners has also ensured that a percentage of workers hired for the project would be city residents.
The city picked RVA Diamond Partners after initially getting 15 submissions from development teams last February. The project calls for the redevelopment of the nearly 70-acre site along the Interstate-95 east coast corridor that is mainly owned by the city.
“Our plan features an exciting new ballpark for the Flying Squirrels and VCU, an 11-acre public park and an overall vision that creates a dynamic and inclusive mixed-use urban community,” Jason Guillot of Thalhimer Realty Partners and RVA Diamond Partners said in a statement. “Our plan provides important community benefits for all Richmond residents while serving as an iconic gateway for visitors to our great city.”
RVA Diamond Partners is made up of Republic, Loop Capital, Thalhimer Realty Partners, Pennrose, NixDev, Southside Community Development, Capstone, M Companies and JMI Sports. The design team will be led by SOM, Nelson Byrd Woltz, KEi, 510 Architects, Poole & Poole and Hickok Cole. Stadium design will be overseen by the DLR Group.
There is a public meeting regarding the project on Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Bon Secours Training Center — 2401 W. Leigh Street — that will also be live-streamed. The city will also host a telephone town hall on Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m.
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