City marketing ‘The Diamond District’ as it seeks redevelopment proposals

Now dubbed The Diamond District, the City of Richmond is beginning the process to redevelop The Diamond and the land surrounding it on North Arthur Ashe Boulevard. (Courtesy city documents)

With a new neighborhood name in tow, the city is taking steps to begin fielding pitches for the potential redevelopment of a major chunk of Arthur Ashe Boulevard.

The City of Richmond announced Monday that it has begun marketing the redevelopment of what it has now formally dubbed as “The Diamond District,” the 67-acre, largely city-owned assemblage along Arthur Ashe Boulevard made up in part by land where The Diamond, the Arthur Ashe Junior Athletic Center and Sports Backers Stadium currently stand.

A standalone website — rvadiamond.com — as well as a site on Richmond’s city website were launched as part of the marketing effort.

With the marketing underway, the city said its next step will be releasing a request for interest (RFI), a process that will provide more details on the city’s goals for the property, how the city will select a development team, deadlines for response submissions, and other details.

City spokesman Jim Nolan said in an email Monday that the RFI’s scope and the length of the response window are not yet available. He did say the RFI is on track to be released by the end of the calendar year.

An aerial shot of the area surrounding The Diamond. (BizSense file photo)

It’s unclear if the RFI will precede a separate request for proposals (RFP), which typically solicit more specific details about development projects. Henrico County used an RFI to begin its reimagining of Belmont Golf Course.

The city’s recently approved master plan outlines for the land a new multi-purpose stadium replacing The Diamond to be shared by the Richmond Flying Squirrels and VCU, along with retail and residential buildings, parks and multi-modal transit infrastructure.

The city owns about 60 of the 67 acres in question. VCU owns the remainder.

Flyers from the city show that the Diamond District RFI redevelopment area would not include the former Virginia ABC headquarters adjacent to the Diamond District at 2901 Hermitage Road. With the ABC moving into its new Hanover headquarters, VCU is preparing to purchase the 19-acre parcel. The university has spent the last two years acquiring other land north of The Diamond to be part of its planned athletic village.

Monday’s announcement also marks the first time the city has formally used The Diamond District to describe the area. Nolan said the Diamond District name was developed by the city in-house.

City marketing ‘The Diamond District’ as it seeks redevelopment proposals

Candice Cearley

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