RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Just days after Richmond City Council doubled down on its opposition to the Navy Hill project, VCU Health announced it wants to build a complex in the proposed project that would include more doctor offices and a new Ronald McDonald House.
The newly released plans call for redeveloping ‘Block D’ of the Navy Hill district which is between 9th and 10th streets from Leigh to Clay streets.
Ronald McDonald House and Doorways — two organizations part of VCU’s redevelopment proposal for ‘Block D’ — said their facilities are at capacity, forcing them to turn away families and patients.
“These families have nowhere else to go,” RMHC Executive Director Kerry Blumberg explained. “We’re looking at how are we going to approach this growth knowing we need to grow to seven times our current capacity.”
Blumberg added that for years her organization has been looking for a larger, more affordable location to house patients’ families within a mile from VCU Medical Center.
“We’re spending precious resources to place families in hotels or use airbnb credits through a national partnership,” Blumberg said.
VCU and VCU Health System continue to strongly support redevelopment of the Navy Hill area that is critically important, especially with the current construction of the new children’s inpatient hospital and the adult outpatient pavilion. Bringing together this partnership of VCU Health, The Doorways and RMHC Richmond enables us to leverage our resources and our missions to better serve patients and families from the Richmond area and beyond.”Melinda Hancock, chief administrative and financial officer of the VCU Health System, said.
The redevelopment would include 250 physician-faculty office spaces for the adjacent VCU Medical Center, a new Ronald McDonald House, new Doorways facility. pharmacy, shopping, restaurants and more than 1,500 parking spaces.
In a statement to 8News VCU said its plan is contingent on the success of Navy Hill.
We have no ability to move forward with our urgent plans to address the needs of our patients, their families, and our employees without the joint cooperation of both City Council and the Mayor. We look forward to working with them in the mutual best interest of those we serve.”Pamela DiSalvo Lepley, Vice President for University Relations
Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch, who does not support the Navy Hill plan as it stands now, said she understands the need for more patient family housing and wants to keep working with VCU and make it happen a different way.
“I think that there would be an appetite and willingness to look at the other deals as well,” Lynch said. “I think it’s the arrangement that makes it go forward and that arrangement can be done in other contracts.”
A crucial vote is expected by city council next week.
Stay with 8News for updates.