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Updated plans call for oldest portion of Westhampton School to be retained, addition demolished for Bon Secours development

The updated plans call for a medical office building adjacent to the historic, circa-1917 school, which will be preserved, a mixed-use retail building, and a concealed parking deck in the rear.

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UPDATE 9/24/18:

Officials have released an updated site plan for the Westhampton School property that would see the oldest school building, constructed in 1917, preserved, while the newer addition will be demolished. From Mark Robinson at the RTD:

The Bon Secours Richmond Health System will raze one of the Westhampton School’s two Colonial Revival buildings to accommodate a $53 million mixed-use development on the property in the city’s West End, according to preliminary plans unveiled Friday.

The proposed plans — including a previously announced medical office building, two new mixed-use buildings and a parking deck — are projected to generate $524,000 in new real estate taxes for the city, but come at the expense of the majority of the school’s structural footprint, built in 1930.

The remaining, easternmost portion of the school, which was built in 1917 and played an important role in the desegregation of public schools in Virginia, will serve as office space.

Read the full article here.

UPDATE 1/3/18:

Bon Secours is moving forward with plans to redevelop the Westhampton School property. The health system has applied to rezone the property in the Near West End, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. There’s no guarantee the historic structures will remain intact, but the organization’s agreement with the city requires them to attempt to preserve them unless it’s deemed to costly or otherwise burdensome.

Read the full article here.

ORIGINAL 8/25/17:

The fate of the historic Westhampton School at Libbie and Patterson, once in question, seems a little more secure–for now.

Bon Secours announced plans Thursday to build a medical office building adjacent to the school’s two original buildings, one built in 1917; a the second in 1935. The hospital system originally intended to demolish both after coming to the conclusion that rehabilitation of the aging structures would cost more than new construction. Neighbors and City Councilman Andreas Addison spoke in opposition to those plans, citing the school’s historic nature and architecture.

This week, an alternative to demolition was announced. The hospital system says it has found a way to build a free-standing medical office building on the Westhampton School property and leave the Westhampton School and its footprint intact for “a joint development project,” as the nonprofit said in a news release. This puts the ultimate fate of the school buildings in question, as it may leave the door open for future demolition or, alternatively, renovations.

The new plan allows for a three-story, 55,000-square-foot building to be constructed along Libbie Avenue between the Bon Secours Evelyn D. Reinhart Guest House and the Westhampton School.

Bon Secours is also soliciting proposals from private developers to jointly develop the Westhampton School site footprint, and will give priority to any partner who can endeavor to save “at least the most historically significant portion of the Westhampton School,” which it cites as the oldest building, which stands at the corner of Libbie and Patterson Avenues.

The statement goes on to say that “any future development and its tenants must be consistent with Bon Secours’ faith-based values and must complement the health care provided on the St. Mary’s Hospital campus.”

“Our team has pooled its resources at every level of the organization while working with the City of Richmond, City Councilman Andreas Addison, and architectural firm Baskervill and Associates to develop this innovative solution,” said Toni R. Ardabell, CEO of Bon Secours Virginia Health System. “Everyone’s hope is that this solution will bring the highest and best use to the Westhampton School property, meet the health care needs of the community, and honor our commitment to the City of Richmond and the St. Mary’s Hospital neighborhood.”

Bon Secours’ original plan was to renovate both school buildings to be used as the future Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing, but terminated that plan on December 15th, 2016 after calculating costs.

“We appreciate the support we have had from Councilman Andreas Addison, Mayor Levar Stoney, local merchants, and most importantly, the neighborhood associations surrounding St. Mary’s,” Ardabell continued. “We look forward to seeking input from and working collaboratively with our community on this project.”

According to Ardabell, the hospital system has all necessary approvals and permits to build the medical office building on Libbie Avenue, and construction should begin by March of 2019.

Renderings of the proposed building can be seen below.

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Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of RVAhub.com, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.

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Tom Leonard’s Farmer’s Market planning to double size of Short Pump store

Construction on an expansion of the locally-owned store should commence this Spring.

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From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Tom Leonard’s Farmer’s Market, which has operated in western Henrico County since 2004, is getting bigger.

The 15,000-square-foot market will nearly double in size when the store expansion project is completed later this year, owner Tom Leonard said.

Construction should begin late in the spring.

The expansion will take over the tented area to the left of the store – where pumpkins and Christmas trees are typically sold.

The added space will enable the market, off Tom Leonard Drive, to expand and move its bakery and deli departments into the new space. The bakery will be able to make fresh-boiled bagels – “the way they do them in New York,” Leonard said.

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Richmond-based company launching digital TV streaming network today with event at VMHC

Richmond-based Soulidifly Productions will launch the new streaming TV network today and is throwing a launch party tonight in celebration.

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Richmond based Soulidifly Productions is launching a new digital TV streaming network today known as SoulVision.TV. The new network will feature over 200 hours of “authentic, positive, and often untold human stories shown in feature films and movies, TV shows, news, interviews, cartoons, and more,” according to a news release.

The network will be accessible from all devices including all leading streaming platforms – Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire – and on all mobile platforms, tablets and other devices including smart TVs and home computers.

Entertainers Cecily, Carla Jackson, JJ Squire, and vocalist Imani Waters will headline an event this evening at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture ahead of the network’s launch.

The event takes place beginning at 6:30 PM at the museum at 428 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard. Tickets are $20; $10 for students. Attendees can also get complimentary tickets by entering code “SVTV” on the ticketing page.

Learn more and get tickets here and check out a preview of the new network below.

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Henrico clears the way for redevelopment of Azalea Mall, Virginia Center Commons sites

Two derelict properties in the Northside of town will soon have new life breathed into them as Henrico greenlit their redevelopment Tuesday.

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From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

As Henrico County officials are preparing for the redevelopment of Virginia Center Commons with a public arena, the operators of a senior living community are ready to expand on top of land where another county mall was demolished in 1999.

On Tuesday, the Henrico Board of Supervisors approved zoning and permit changes to let Westminster Canterbury of Richmond expand its continuing-care retirement community over part of the lot where Azalea Mall once stood. The board also voted to authorize the use of $50 million to build an indoor sports arena at Virginia Center Commons.

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