RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — While college basketball teams fight toward the final four, a final six developers are battling for Richmond’s next major economic development project– transform the Diamond district.
City Hall hopes to turn property between North Arthur Ashe Boulevard and Hermitage Road into a tourism hotspot, and rebuilding the Flying Squirrels’ baseball stadium is reportedly what will keep the team in Richmond.
The city’s department of planning and development review announced the six finalists Wednesday, requesting more information from them about their proposals.
The six finalists:
· Diamond District Gateway Partners
· MAG Partners
· Richmond Community Development Partners
· RVA Diamond Partners
· Vision300 Partners, LLC
· Weller Development Company and LMXD
MAG Partners is a real estate development group in New York City, and Weller Development Company also develops real estate, but in Baltimore.
Vision300 Partners, LLC is a corporation registered to former Virginia state delegate Gregory D. Habeeb.
Maritza Mercado Pechin, deputy director of the city’s department of planning and development review, said the developers being considered still need to provide, “What’s going to be in it [a proposal], architectural renderings and drawings, and financial assumptions and how they’re going to finance the project.”
City documents also indicate developers will have to share what community benefits they will provide, and how they will engage with the community.
Timing is key for the developers, after Flying Squirrels President Lou DiBella said the team would leave Richmond if they don’t get a new stadium—and fast.
“There will never be baseball again in Richmond,” DiBella told 8News earlier this month.
Pechin told 8News, “We would like to have a baseball stadium ready in time for the 2025 season.”
City Hall’s finalist list means nine other developers were turned down, after initially expressing interest in the Diamond District. Pechin did not provide specifics why they were taken out of the running.
“The six presented, just more, stronger qualifications and vision for the project as we identified in the rules in the Requests for Interest,” she said.
City Hall set a deadline of April 26 for the six developers to share more information about project plans, and officials said they hope to pick a preferred developer in June.