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Majority of City Council asks Mayor Stoney to send Navy Hill plans back to drawing board

Five out of nine City Council members submitted a formal request to Mayor Levar Stoney on Monday afternoon to send plans for the $1.5 billion Navy Hill project back to the drawing board ahead of a planned final vote on the matter in February.

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Five out of nine City Council members submitted a formal request to Mayor Levar Stoney on Monday afternoon to send plans for the $1.5 billion Navy Hill project back to the drawing board ahead of a planned final vote on the matter in February.

The non-binding request, patroned by Kimberly Gray of the 2nd District, Vice President Chris Hilbert of the 3rd District, Councilwoman Kristen Larson of the 4th District, Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch of the 5th District. and Councilwoman Reva Trammell of the 8th District, was rebuked strongly by Mayor Stoney as quoted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch Tuesday, saying, “Honestly, I think if this was 2019 or 2021, we would be doing this today,” Stoney said. “But guess what? They’re thinking about their elections more than anything. They should be thinking about the city of Richmond and the future.”

NH District Corp., the formal entity behind the Navy Hill plans, echoed these sentiments in a news release:

“It’s unfortunate that instead of looking for ways to improve the Navy Hill proposal, these council members are putting their heads in the sand and hoping that the city’s problems resolve themselves,” according to the statement. “We proactively sought to sit down with each of these five members to ask them for their ideas, amendments and recommendations to make this the best possible deal for Richmond, to which they have offered nothing.”

Among the asks that Council made in the request are a more robust public engagement strategy and an appraisal of the city-owned land and buildings part of the plan.

Councilwoman Kim Gray says that she’s simply “responding to the wishes of the people,” while Vice President Chris Hilbert says the plans should be a regional effort supported by the surrounding counties.

A final vote on the matter is expected to take place at the February 24th City Council meeting.

We’ll continue to follow this developing story as more details emerge.

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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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