City News

Economic Development

Richmond EDA and the Greater Richmond Convention Center Authority receive five (5) submissions in response to City Center request for interest

Evaluation Panel to evaluate all submissions from development teams; short list to be announced in the winter

The deadline for interested development teams to submit proposals in response to the Request for Interest (“RFI”) for Phase 1 of the City Center Innovation District Project (“City Center”) ended on December 20, 2022. The Economic Development Authority of the City of Richmond (“Richmond EDA”) and the Greater Richmond Convention Center Authority (“GRCCA”) received five (5) submissions from the following development teams (listed alphabetically):

  • Capstone Development, LLC
  • City Center Gateway Partners
  • Lincoln Property Company
  • Richmond Community Development Partners
  • Sterling Bilder, LLC

The City Center Evaluation Panel (“Evaluation Panel”) is now tasked with assessing each submitted proposal based on the evaluation criteria in the RFI document:

  • Development team qualifications – financial capability, years of experience, diversity of team, and more;
  • Experience with urban mixed-use projects – experience with urban mixed-use redevelopment projects and proven capacity to deliver project requirements;
  • Equitable development benefits – employment opportunities, affordable housing, sustainability, resiliency, and more; 
  • Project understanding – a solid understanding for accomplishing the city’s goals; and
  • Financing approach – having provided a financing approach that minimizes public investment.

At the conclusion of its assessment of the RFI proposals, the Evaluation Panel will invite development teams to respond to a Request for Offers (“RFO”) that will require more detailed information on the invited development teams’ proposed projects.  The names of the development teams invited to respond to the RFO will be released to the public in winter 2023.  The RFO will also be posted at that time and made available to the public at

“We are thrilled to see the high level of enthusiasm and interest from development teams for the City Center Innovation District Project”, said Leonard Sledge, Executive Director of the Richmond EDA.  “Richmond has great momentum.  The formal interest we received today continues to demonstrate the positive trajectory of the City.”

“We are confident that amongst the number of outstanding development teams interested in this project, we have the right partner to bring this project to fruition”, said Brandon Hinton, Chair of the GRCCA Finance Committee.  “On behalf of the entire Richmond region, I could not be more excited for what the future brings for the Greater Richmond Convention Center with the addition of a long-sought headquarter hotel.”

About the City Center Project 
On November 3, 2022, the Richmond EDA and the GRCCA invited development teams to submit information to be considered for Phase 1 of the City Center Innovation District Project (“City Center”). The vision for City Center is to redevelop the area to become a mixed-use, mixed-income urban innovation district destination anchored by a headquarter hotel supporting the Greater Richmond Convention Center along with commercial, educational, and residential development to create a dynamic downtown.

Communication with the Evaluation Panel
Members of the public can send comments/questions electronically to the City Center Evaluation Panel by using this form. The form is publicly posted on the City Center Project webpage. Do not email the Evaluation Panel Members, Staff, or Advisors about the City Center Project (emails sent directly to the Evaluation Panel about this project will not be read). Comments/questions will be reviewed periodically and distributed to the Evaluation Panel during the evaluation process.

Evaluation Panel Members

  • Nupa Agarwal – Richmond EDA Board Vice Chair
  • Melvin D. Carter – City of Richmond Chief of Fire and Emergency Services
  • Sharon L. Ebert – City of Richmond Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Planning and Economic Development 
  • Pat Foster – City of Richmond Director of the Office of Minority Business Development 
  • Brandon Hinton – GRCCA Finance Committee Chair
  • Nathan Hughes – Richmond EDA Board Treasurer 
  • Lynne Lancaster – City of Richmond Deputy Director of Public Works Deputy Director 
  • J.E. Lincoln Saunders – City of Richmond Chief Administrative Officer and GRCCA Board Member
  • Leonard L. Sledge – Richmond EDA Executive Director and City of Richmond Director of Economic Development 
  • Sheila D. White – City of Richmond Director of Finance 

Additional Advisors may be added as the evaluation process progresses.

  • Maritza Mercado Pechin – City of Richmond Deputy Director of Planning and Development Review 
  • Matthew A. Welch – City of Richmond Policy Advisor to the Planning and Economic Development Portfolio

About the Richmond EDA
The Richmond EDA is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia and is comprised of a seven-member Board of Directors appointed by the City Council of the City of Richmond.  The Richmond EDA undertakes commercial activities as authorized by Chapter 49 of Title 15.2 of the Code of Virginia.  On behalf of the City of Richmond the Richmond EDA works in partnership with City Council, City administration, and state officials to achieve economic growth in the city. 

GRCCA is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia that was created by the local governments in the City of Richmond, Chesterfield, Hanover, and Henrico Counties and was established to acquire, finance, expand, renovate, lease, operate, and maintain the Greater Richmond Convention Center.  GRCCA is governed by a five-member commission made up of the Chief Administrative Officer of each of the four incorporating political subdivisions and the President of InUnison, a regional business association.  Debt service costs and other operating and capital cost obligations for the Greater Richmond Convention Center are funded by an 8% transient lodging tax levied on hotel room rentals in the four participating localities.

City Center Innovation District Request for Interest (RFI) Released

EDA and GRCCA invite experienced development teams to respond to the RFI 

The Economic Development Authority of the City of Richmond (“EDA”) and the Greater Richmond Convention Center Authority (“GRCCA”) are officially inviting development teams to submit information to be considered for Phase 1 of the City Center Innovation District Project (“City Center”).

Located in the heart of Downtown Richmond and within three blocks of the Greater Richmond Convention Center, the VA Bio+Tech Park, VCU Health, the State Capital, the Pulse Bus Rapid Transit line, and I-64/I-95, City Center is a prime redevelopment area. City Center is easily accessible throughout the Greater Richmond Region and the entire East Coat by road, rail, and air.

“Now is the time for Richmond to reinvigorate this part of our Downtown to be a more vibrant destination for innovation, residential life, and tourism,” said City Council Vice President Ellen F. Robertson.  “The collaboration between the Richmond EDA and GRCCA is the right approach to getting this redevelopment project done.”

“We are thrilled to start the redevelopment of our City Center and to align it with the vision of the City Center Innovation District Small Area Plan,” said Leonard Sledge, Executive Director of the Richmond EDA.  “All of the pieces are in place to position the redevelopment of the Coliseum site into a mixed-use, hotel-anchored development. We look forward to seeing this initial phase of the City Center redevelopment become a lively innovation district that attracts both established and startup companies, adds mixed-income housing, creates greenspace, expands tourism, and so much more, while also creating opportunities for as many Richmonders as possible.”

“The Greater Richmond Convention Center is an enduring testament to the power of regional cooperation,” said Brandon Hinton, Finance Committee Chair for GRCCA.  “Jointly owned by the City of Richmond and the Counties of Henrico, Chesterfield, and Hanover, the Convention Center adds tremendous value to the entire region, both in its role as an economic engine and as a cornerstone for our reputation as a thriving visitor destination.  Even so, a headquarters hotel has always been the missing link to fully maximizing this incredible facility’s potential.”

For the Request for Interest (RFI) document, please visit Submissions are due on Tuesday, December 20, 2022, at 2:00 P.M. ET.

About the City Center Innovation District Small Area Plan

The City Center Innovation District Small Area Plan is a direct outcome of the Richmond 300:  A Plan for Growth, which has been awarded the 2021 Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan from the American Planning Association.  The City Center vision is to, “…be the place to live, learn, collaborate, create, and develop new life science businesses in a high density, walkable, urban full-service environment that includes multi-modal transportation options to city and regional neighborhoods and job centers.”

City Selects RVA Diamond Partners as the Development Partner for the Diamond District

The City is pleased to announce that after a competitive selection process that began with 15 submissions from around the country last February is now concluded with the selection of RVA Diamond Partners as the city’s development partner for the redevelopment of the Diamond District.

RVA Diamond Partners was selected as the city’s development partner because their vision aligned with city goals. A few of the project’s key features include:

  • Begins the design phase of the baseball stadium as soon as possible with a commitment to purchase the first $20M of bonds to finance the new baseball stadium.
  • Provides a master plan approach to creating a strong sense of place with a balance of open space, walkable blocks, and a mixed-use, mixed-income development program that celebrates the baseball stadium as an important anchor and honors the legacy of Arthur Ashe, Jr.
  • Creates an 11-acre signature park that is envisioned to be a place for all Richmonders to enjoy with several distinct areas and programming planned throughout the year.
  • Provides 20% of the rental units to households earning between 30% - 60% of the area median income (AMI), with at least 100 of the units with project-based vouchers for public housing residents.
  • Provides 20% of the homeownership units to households earning between 60% - 70% of AMI and funding a $1 million fund that will assist affordable home buyers with closing costs and other transaction expenses.
  • Showcases a diverse ownership team that includes 45% MBE ownership.
  • Seeks to include MBE/ESB business throughout the project from ownership and development to construction and operations, maintenance, and leasing inclusive of employment, contracting, and leasing.
  • Desires to partner with the Richmond Public School Board to develop a Technical Training Center at the Maury Street and Richmond Highway former Altria site to create an available workforce with sufficient experience to support the development of the Diamond District, and other development projects throughout the city.

This evening a resolution “to select RVA Diamond Partners LLC as the developer of the Diamond District site and express City Council’s support for the proposed business terms and conditions for the development of the Diamond District” will be introduced at the end of the City Council meeting. The resolution will follow Council’s typical review process and may be voted on at the City Council meeting on September 26, 2022. Once the resolution is approved, the City and RVA Diamond Partners will use the term sheet as the basis for developing the definitive written agreements, which will be brought back to Council for final approval later this fall.

Ways to learn more:

  1. City to host an in-person meeting to give an overview of the selection process and the project, and answer questions.
  • Wednesday September 14, 2022 at 6:00 PM
  • Bon Secours Training Center (2401 W. Leigh St)
  • The meeting will be also simulcast on Teams Live: meeting link and attendee dial in  number 804-316-9457 (Conference ID: 693 704 099#).

  1. City will host a telephone town hall to give and an overview of the project and answer questions about the project.
  • Tuesday, September 20, 2022 at 6:30 PM
  • To register for the telephone town hall click here.

  1. Members of the public can also provide questions or comments on the project by filling out this form.

Support for the Diamond District:

Mayor Levar Stoney:  “This proposal meets our goals to equitably revitalize an underdeveloped part of our city and maximize its potential to enhance the quality of life for all Richmonders. Commitments to affordable housing, minority business engagement, publicly accessible open space and a new ballpark mean that the Diamond District will be enjoyed by, built by, and benefit all residents of our city. The Diamond District has long been a diamond in the rough. I look forward to seeing it shine.”

Council President Cynthia Newbille:  “Economic development is truly not a broad enough term to describe the project.  It is my hope that we can see the Diamond District plan brought to fruition to benefit our entire city from jobs, housing, sports and entertainment, and business development.  This plan helps us to continue to change the narrative of our city and its residents.  I am looking forward to seeing the result of months of hard work and dedication by the team of proven professionals.” 

Council Vice-President Ellen Robertson:  “I believe a rising tide lifts all boats. While I understand that one project can’t change the whole story, it can affect one chapter.  When we began the process for the Diamond District, many ideas were considered, but it all came down to what was in the Small Area Plan and the Richmond 300 Plan – both had city-wide input – and looked to change how we did development in Richmond.  Fast forward to September 2022, and we have come to a point where tonight, we will find out the development team chosen for the project as well as see the term sheet for the first time.  I am certain that my colleagues, Councilwomen Lambert and Jordan along with staff and community partners are presenting us with a comprehensive plan that represents inclusivity and a bold step forward.”

Councilmember Andreas Addison:  “The City continues to strive to create inclusive opportunities from development projects to those who become the end users.  When the Diamond District project was proposed, we understood that this would be the Small Area Plan in motion.  I will be thrilled to see what the culmination of months of collaboration looks like when the Diamond District Plan is unveiled. It is an understatement to say that my colleagues along with staff and community partners have put a great amount of time and effort into getting us to a place of plan terms review and next steps.”

Councilmember Ann Frances Lambert: “Having a role on the Diamond District evaluation panel and seeing the level of effort the process has required has given me renewed confidence in our city team.  Their attention to detail, and the desire to ensure that we get the right plan and the right team on board to produce the best outcome for our city is truly second to none. This project is a sign that we can create inclusive projects that take into account all aspects of our community.   I am excited about the team we have chosen and am thrilled not only to introduce them but to work alongside them to see the completion of the project.”

Councilmember Michael Jones: “There are many goals for economic development projects, and oft-times we meet one goal but unfortunately leave out others that would make the entire project equitable for all.  Based on the direction that was given for the Diamond District, beginning with the RFI process, the Diamond District plan looks to change the standard of development projects not just in Richmond but the region.  With the introduction of tonight’s paper, we, as a council, have the opportunity to move the needle forward and make sure we get the ball across the finish line later this month.”

Councilmember Stephanie Lynch: “This is an exciting opportunity for Richmond and strikes the right balance of fair and equitable development that will yield returns for the community for many years to come. We have come a long way from the deals of the past and I am truly proud of this one that will help solidify Richmond's future.”

Councilmember Katherine Jordan: “Councilmember Katherine Jordan:  Richmonders asked for a dynamic, multi-use, mixed-income neighborhood that provides more housing and green space, while keeping baseball on Arthur Ashe Boulevard and the Squirrels in Richmond. RVA Diamond Partners’ proposal delivers on that vision, and I am thrilled to partner with them to make it a reality. As a member of the evaluation panel, getting to the final team was difficult. I’m grateful to all the groups who submitted proposals. There were exceptional ideas, individuals, and organizations on each and every team. The design we chose has many winning attributes and will create a neighborhood with its own Richmond identity anchored by a multi-tenant stadium and a major, new public park. This project brings new revenue; new jobs; new housing; and a new, major public park – all anchored by a first class Richmond ballpark for our beloved Squirrels and Rams.”

Jason Guillot of Thalhimer Realty Partners and RVA Diamond Partners: “RVA Diamond Partners is thrilled to be selected to develop the Diamond District. 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. Our plan provides important community benefits for all Richmond residents while serving as an iconic gateway for visitors to our great city.”

Michael Rao, Ph.D., President of VCU and VCU Health:  "We're pleased with this important next step in realizing the vision for our exciting partnership with the Diamond District. This is a milestone moment for VCU, student-athletes and our city. This transformational project will further support the Rams as we compete at the highest national level as an NCAA Division 1 program.”

Ed McLaughlin, Vice President and Director of Athletics: "Taking this next step with the City of Richmond and the Richmond Flying Squirrels represents the final step in making our vision for that area a reality. We have worked tirelessly over the last six years to bring this vision to fruition, and we have landed on the cusp of that goal. Our student-athletes, university and the entire Richmond community will benefit greatly from the amazing facilities that our Athletic Village will provide along with the new ballpark as part of the Diamond District and this transformational project."

Rob Long, President of the Greater Scott’s Addition Association: “We really appreciate the City’s diligence in running the process to select a team. The City worked closely with our association and neighbors to ensure that our voice was heard and we are so excited to see this project come to a realization. It will be an asset for everyone in the city, not just Scott’s Addition.”

Lou DiBella, Richmond Flying Squirrels:  “The Richmond Flying Squirrels are proud to be an anchor tenant of this proposed revitalization and development of the Diamond District, a natural extension of the growth of our beloved hometown. The Squirrels will be the most well-known neighbors in a new, diverse, and dynamic neighborhood. We commit to being a great neighbor and to making memories together for decades to come.

As we race toward home in our quest for a new ballpark, we are grateful to the Mayor, his City team, the Richmond City Councilmembers, VCU, and all of the other officials who have gotten us to this point. So many people have worked tirelessly to reach consensus, all understanding the need to serve the communal interest of our RVA community. How reassuring in 2022!”

Mayor Stoney announces Strategic Plan for Equitable Economic Development (SPEED)

Mayor Stoney today unveiled the city’s Strategic Plan for Equitable Economic Development (SPEED). 

The plan, which will be introduced at tonight’s Richmond City Council meeting, focuses on community, innovation, and industry, and establishes five aggressive economic development goals through Fiscal Year 2026:

  • $3 billion in announced capital investment for economic development projects;
  • 3,000 announced new jobs with annual salaries at or above $52,000;
  • Reduce the poverty rate by 5 percentage points;
  • Public and private sector real estate development activities that generate $25 million in annual real estate tax revenue; and
  • 2,500 postsecondary credentials awarded to Richmond residents.

The plan outlines tangible steps toward addressing long-standing inequities that have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including racial disparities in education, poverty, housing, and health. Each of the plan’s initiatives are designed to build a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable economy for Richmond.

“This plan is Richmond’s roadmap to economic prosperity,” said Mayor Stoney. “It’s a forward-looking assessment of the trends that got us where we are today and those that will carry us into the future. But this is not just an economic development plan. This is an economic justice plan.”

SPEED was developed in consultation with TIP Strategies; VCU’s Center for Urban and Regional Analysis; The M Companies; Hugh Helen LLC; input from meetings with more than 200 community and business leaders and stakeholders; and a survey that had more than 800 unique responses.

“The City’s new strategic plan for equitable economic development is a smart guide for how to grow our community,” said Jennifer Wakefield, President and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership. “The plan addresses inequities further exacerbated by the pandemic and provides solutions to bring prosperity to our residents in the city and for all who call our region home.”

“The Metropolitan Business League is encouraged to see the aggressive measures incorporated into Mayor Stoney’s [economic development] strategic plan for the city. We, too, believe that a multi-pronged approach is a critical component in supporting minority businesses. MBL agrees with the city that launching creative new business models can help create greater opportunities for business ownership and wealth creation,” said Floyd E Miller II, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Business League. “We stand ready to collaborate with the city as it strives to close the gaps in economic disparities, achieve greater equity, and accelerate growth to create more opportunities for Richmonders.”

“SPEED gives Richmond a plan to increase General Fund revenue through sound initiatives to reduce economic inequities, retain and grow existing businesses, and attract new businesses to the City,” said City Council Vice President Ellen Robertson.  “Essential to this is the emphasis on minority owned businesses, small businesses, and larger corporations.”

“Every day we see the impact of a City rife with inequities,” said City Councilmember Michael Jones. “The Strategic Plan for Equitable Economic Development (SPEED) is incredibly well crafted and will serve as a meaningful benchmark on our City’s path toward true equity. It seeks to address and offer solutions for many of the long-standing economic and social disparities experienced in our communities of color. If we have learned anything throughout this pandemic, it is that the City remains resilient. I am hopeful that SPEED will further our growth exponentially for years to come.”

“For our city’s future to be equitable, inclusive, and thriving, we must be intentional around our investment and economic development,” said City Councilmember Andreas Addison. “This plan outlines key tasks and priorities to address Richmond’s historical challenges in income, education, and housing gaps. I look forward to collaborating with the Mayor, the Administration, and my fellow Councilmembers to act on these priorities.”

For more information and to read the plan in full, visit

City invites three finalists to respond to Request for Offers in Diamond District project

Teams made the competitive cut because their design, program strength, community benefits and financing approaches meet high city expectations, align with vision for area

Three finalists in the Diamond District redevelopment project will be asked to respond to a Request for Offers (RFO). The RFO will be issued the week of May 30, 2022, and responses will be due June 28, 2022.

The city anticipates announcing the preferred team and terms of the agreement in July. The city reserves the right to alter the process and timeline as needed to ensure the greatest benefit is derived for the city and its residents in the creation of this new mixed-use neighborhood.


After carefully considering the responses to the Request for Interest (RFI) and Request for Additional Information (RFAI), the Evaluation Panel has selected three finalist teams based on their design, program strength, community benefits and financing approaches (listed alphabetically):

  • Richmond Community Development Partners
  • RVA Diamond Partners
  • Vision300 Partners, LLC


The finalist teams prepared one-page summaries of their team, concept, and design. Those summaries are available to the public here.

In early June, the city will host a public meeting to update Richmonders on the process. Information on that meeting will be available here.


About the Diamond District project

The Diamond District project is just one aspect of Richmond 300: A Plan for Growth, which has been awarded the 2021 Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan for the American Planning Association. The plan provides a detailed roadmap to ensure “Richmond is a welcoming, inclusive, diverse, innovative, sustainable, and equitable city of thriving neighborhoods, ensuring a high quality of life for all.”

About the Diamond District Evaluation Panel

The Evaluation Panel is comprised of 10 members, including City Council members, city administrative staff, and VCU administrative staff.

Communication with the Panel

Members of the public can send comments/questions to the Diamond District Evaluation Panel by using this form. This form is publicly posted on the project page. Do not email the Evaluation Panel members, facilitator, or advisors about the Diamond District project, as emails sent directly to the Evaluation Panel about this project will not be read. Comments and questions will be reviewed every other week and distributed to the Evaluation Panel during the evaluation process.

Evaluation Panel Members

  1. James P. Duval – Investment and Debt Portfolio Manager, Finance Department
  2. Sharon L. Ebert – Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Planning and Economic Development
  3. Karol Kain Gray – Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, Virginia Commonwealth University
  4. Katherine Jordan – Council Member, Second District
  5. Ann-Frances Lambert – Council Member, Third District
  6. J.E. Lincoln Saunders – Chief Administrative Officer
  7. Leonard L. Sledge – Director, Department of Economic Development
  8. Caprichia Smith Spellman – Interim Director, Office of Community Wealth Building
  9. Robert C. Steidel – Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Operations
  10. Stephen M. Willoughby – Director of Emergency Communications

Evaluation Panel Facilitator

Maritza Mercado Pechin, Deputy Director, Department of Planning and Development Review, is the Project Manager for the Diamond District redevelopment process. She runs the evaluation panel meetings, coordinate logistics, and serve as the official point of contact between the evaluation panel and the respondents.

Evaluation Panel Advisors

These individuals will attend evaluation panel meetings and offer expertise as needed.

  • Lynne S. Lancaster – Deputy Director, Department of Public Works
  • Matthew A. Welch – Policy Advisor, Planning and Economic Development Portfolio
Or search using "Type it, find it" above