May 9, 2023 - Development

City Council approves Diamond District deal

A rendering of the planned Diamond District development with the first phase outlined in red. Photo: Courtesy of City of Richmond (area highlighted by Axios)

City council members unanimously approved the largest development deal in the city's history last night.

What's happening: The plan to redevelop 67 acres of land around the Diamond and build a new baseball stadium is a go.

Why it matters: The deal calls for $2.4 billion in construction and is projected to generate a billion in new revenue for the city over the next 45 years, create a brand new neighborhood on Arthur Ashe Boulevard and fund the construction of a new baseball stadium.

What they're saying: Mayor Levar Stoney called it a "game-changer new development" in a statement after the vote.

  • Council members praised the inclusion of affordable housing, provisions requiring local employees for construction jobs and a minimum percentage of union labor.

Of note: Not a single person spoke in opposition to the proposal during Monday's public hearing.

  • It was a totally uncontroversial conclusion to a decadeslong debate over building a new ballpark.

What we're watching: The city says it's going to miss Major League Baseball's 2025 deadline for stadium upgrades, but city officials hope MLB will let the deadline slide once it sees a deal locked into place.

  • In a statement, the Flying Squirrels said they "look forward to continued momentum with respect to the design and construction of our long-awaited home."

What's next: Officials hope to break ground on the stadium in April 2024.

  • Construction is scheduled to wrap at the end of 2025, in time for the Squirrels to move in before their 2026 season begins.

💰 Meanwhile, the council adopted Stoney's budget proposal.

  • Ultimately, the council members made minor tweaks to Stoney's proposal, moving $3 million in funding to fund a handful of small park and community projects.
  • The council also voted to create a new five-person bureau, dubbed the Division of Neighborhood Support, dedicated to helping residents with city issues.

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