RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — After recent progress in the Diamond District Development, Richmond has its eyes set on what’s next for the City Center area including the plans surrounding the long-awaited coliseum project.

The City Center Innovation District Small Area Plan was adopted by City Council on Jan. 24, 2022. Now, the city is preparing to start the implementation process. These next steps will include:

  1. Creating an Innovation Zoning District – The City Center will be rezoned to align with the proposal by allowing mixed uses such as residential, ground floor activation and unlimited height and density.
  2. Reducing the Municipal Footprint – City-owned properties that are vacant will be redeveloped and possible options for renovating, replacing or relocating city functions to reduce the municipal footprint in City Center will be explored.
  3. Expanding Education Offerings – A high-tech high school will be developed with a Center City campus.

Rezoning is the first step in the implementation process, where the city says they plan to change the current zoning map of the city to one that better aligns with their goals.

Comparison of current zoning and the proposed new zoning. (Courtesy of the City of Richmond)

They started this process on March 7, 2022, when the Richmond City Planning Commission passed Resolution 2022-023 with the intent to amend the official zoning map. The area includes north of East Broad Street, south and west of Interstate 64/95, and east of North Third Street in accordance with the Richmond 300 Master Plan. 

According to the city, their vision for the City Center is to become the engine for expanding Greater Richmond’s life sciences industries. Officials say the new City Center will be a high-density, walkable, urban, full-service environment that includes multi-modal transportation options to the city as well as regional neighborhoods and job centers.

To make this happen, community leaders within the Economic Development Authority have pushed for the space to reach its full potential.

“That plan calls for creating and having the City Center become the engine for expanding Greater Richmond’s life sciences industries and becoming a life sciences innovation district,” said Maritza Pechin, the Deputy Director at the city’s Office of Equitable Development.

At the heart of this project, is plans surrounding the Coliseum following the denial of the Naval Hill project three years ago. The city now has high hopes for the future of this space.