Yesterday afternoon Mayor Levar Stoney gave the mayoral thumbs-up to the NH District Corp. plans for replacing the Richmond Coliseum and in theory revitalizing a large swath of Jackson Ward. This announcement follows months of closed-door negotiations between the Mayor’s office and NH District Corp. NH District Corp. is a private group led by Dominion Energy CEO Thomas F. Farrell II.
The plan is dependent on the establishment of a special district referred to as a tax-increment-financing district. This would allow taxes collected to be redirected to pay down the debt that finances the arena deal instead of having those taxes go into the general fund. The mayor’s office believes that if all goes according to plan the district would create $1 billion in tax revenue over 30 years.
More details on the plan from Mayor Levar Stoney:
- We will create 21,000 jobs — including more than 9,000 permanent jobs and workforce training opportunities. Less than a mile away in Gilpin Court, 75 percent of our residents live in poverty. This project will offer economic opportunity to thousands of men and women who just need a helping hand.
- This project will include more than $300 million in contracts for minority businesses – this will ensure that our talented minority contractors are in the game and NOT sitting on the sidelines.
- We will build nearly 680 units of affordable housing – a substantial down payment on our goal of building 1,500 affordable units by 2023. We want those who work in this neighborhood to be able to live in it as well.
- We will build a new GRTC transit center here in the heart of downtown so that residents across our city can have a facility that offers shelter and dignity to our hardworking men and women who rely on public transit.
- We will preserve and restore the historic Blues Armory – bringing it back to life as a centerpiece of this newly revitalized neighborhood.
- And we will reconnect our street grid and raise Leigh Street so that we can create a true walkable and vibrant neighborhood that links to a resurgent Jackson Ward.
As mentioned all this is dependant on the city council approving the creation of a special tax district. The likely next steps will be drafting of a formal proposal that the city council can debate and eventually vote upon.