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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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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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City Council strikes fatal blow to Navy Hill plans with vote Monday evening

The increasingly-unpopular plan to redevelop the area around the Richmond Coliseum including a new arena, office towers, apartments, and condos, was struck from the docket Monday evening, effectively killing the deal.

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The plans to redevelop Navy Hill are no more. Richmond City Council voted to strike the redevelopment proposal. Andreas Addison of the 1st District, Kim Gray in the 2nd, Chris Hilbert in the 3rd, Kristen Larson from the 4th, Stephanie Lynch from the 5th, Ellen Robertson from the 6th, and Reva Trammell of the 8th all voted against moving the project forward. 9th District Councilman Michael Jones voted in favor, while Cynthia Newbille of the 9th abstained.

Navy Hill’s redevelopment plan called for a 17,500-square-foot arena, 2,000 apartments and condos, upwards of 1 million square feet of office and retail space including a proposed building for CoStar Group, hotels, and more.

Both supporters and opponents of the project lined up to speak in advance of the meeting hours before it began.

Ultimately, Council struck the proposal from the docket, claiming the deal was not transparent enough and posed too much risk to the city should it fail.

NH District Corp., the entity set up to support the project, called the outcome “regrettable.”

“We were actively working on amendments to incorporate the suggestions we heard, but unfortunately, those who opposed the project voted to end it before learning more — which is regrettable,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

Mayor Levar Stoney, who championed the project, echoed that sentiment. “It saddens me that Richmonders won’t benefit from the housing, jobs and economic empowerment this project would bring — and I’m disappointed that council did not follow through on the process they laid out to review and evaluate this transformative project for our city — but I’m resolved to wake up tomorrow and keep working to move our city forward,” Stoney said.

Councilmembers are asking, through a resolution, for a small area plan to be conducted in the neighborhood that would amount to taking the plans back to the drawing board. They say with “robust” public input, an appraisal of city-owned land, and a new request for proposals, a new, more citizen-focused plan for the area can emerge.

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