GreenCity gets green light from Henrico County

The next step is the sale of land in the county to the developers of GreenCity.


October 15, 2021


Katherine Schulte / Robyn Sidersky

If approved, the GreenCity project in western Henrico County would include a 17,000-seat arena and 2.2 million square feet of office space. Courtesy of GreenCity LLC

The Henrico County Supervisory Board this week unanimously approved the rezoning of the land that will become the $ 2.3 billion GreenCity project, a major mixed-use development in Henrico County that will be built on the site. of 204 acres of the former Best Products head office campus. .

GreenCity, which was offered in December 2020, will have a 17,000-seat arena, two 600-room hotels, approximately 2.2 million square feet of office space, 280,000 square feet of retail space, 2,100 units residential and green spaces and squares. Michael Hallmark of Capital City Partners LLC and Susan Eastridge, President and CEO of Eastridge, lead developer GreenCity Partners LLC’s project.

Anthony Romanello, executive director of the county’s economic development authority, put the project in the context of the impact it will have on the region’s economy: Henrico County’s gross product is $ 26 billion. dollars per year and GreenCity’s impact is expected to reach $ 1.4 billion per year. . “It’s really going to be phenomenal,” he said.

Discussing the arena at Henrico’s board meeting on October 12, attorney Andy Condlin of the Richmond-based law firm Roth Jackson Gibbons Condlin PLC spoke on behalf of GreenCity Partners LLC, telling supervisors that the central location of the project will be “a much more intimate arena venue” and “the performers will want to come here.” He also noted the growing movement among performers to perform only in arenas that have established standards of performance. sustainability and have made climate commitments, so he expects this arena to be a desirable venue for these artists.An operator for the arena has yet to be appointed.

Over the next four to six months, the developers will create a community development authority with the county that will serve as a vehicle to fund the arena, Eastridge told Virginia Business. The developers will also buy the county property and work on funding the first phase of development during that time. The property is priced at around $ 6.2 million, according to Anthony Romanello, director of economic development at Henririco.

The first phase will be an “adaptive reuse” of the existing 300,000 square foot Best Products building, rather than increasing the project’s carbon footprint with a completely new construction, Hallmark said. The developers hope to start construction in the second half of 2022 and complete it by the end of 2023, Eastridge said.

In the second phase, GreenCity Partners LLC will build the 17,000-seat arena and most of the commercial and hotel spaces, which they hope to start in 2023 and complete in 2024 or 2025. During the meeting, the developers noted that the whole project would not be done until around 2033 or 2034.

“What’s most exciting about this project is that there is nothing like it,” said Romanello. “And to have a fully sustainable community that has that kind of economic impact, that will be unique. And what we really think about from an economic development perspective is [that] many companies are committed to sustainability and work really hard to reduce their carbon footprint or eliminate their carbon footprint. … You may not be able to build a fully sustainable building, but now that will allow people who are committed to sustainability to rent space and a facility that helps them meet that commitment.

“We think it will be really attractive for corporate headquarters, especially again for companies that have this strong feeling or a strong sensitivity to sustainability,” he added. “And so that’s where I think the element of sustainability is one of the differentiators.”

GreenCity developers are conducting a feasibility study on residential units to see how quickly they can build them without creating competition between them. They are also studying the proposed park area, which will stretch approximately 2.5 miles from Parham Road to Interstate 295, to see if it can be developed at the same time or should be built in phases, Eastridge said.

During the October 12 Supervisors’ Meeting, Nelsen Funeral Home CEO Bernie Henderson spoke in support of the project on behalf of ChamberRVA’s Henrico County Government Affairs Committee: “Our committee has been following the GreenCity project closely from its initial announcement until today and we find it to be well designed and has enormous beneficial potential specifically for Henrico, as well as for the greater metropolitan community of Richmond. We proudly offer him enthusiastic support.

Henry County Supervisor Tyrone Nelson said, “I feel like we talked about this ad nauseam. … We are just ready to move on.

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