The hard sell that is the Canal Power Plant

A large downtown property going unused.

When taking a look at the Haxal Canal Power Plant you can’t help but be struck by the massive smokestack and large windows facing the canal. Despite it’s uniqueness it has set unused expect as a canvas for murals. In the plus column you’ve got history, unique location and impressive architecture. In the negative column you have too large, not enough foot traffic, and parking hassles.

Richmond takes a look at the challenges and the options for the property.

But the 115-year-old building that once supplied power for Virginia Electric and Power Co. customers – and in a later life helped give a financial jolt for construction of the adjacent Riverside on the James condos – remains as dark as it was when it shut down about 50 years ago.

Local real estate professionals tend to agree that its location at 1201 Haxall Point and canal-fronting façade would make a great building for the right user. But while it’s an interesting-looking property, a list of complications, including its potential for tax incentives, makes the hydro plant a tough sell.

Last year, Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer broker Jeff Cooke took the 21,000-square-foot property out to market. The canal-side building drew several bites but no signatures.

“One was interested in doing a small hotel with some restaurant spaces, another was looking at it as a mixed-use, primarily entertainment-oriented building,” Cooke said of prospective buyers. “There’s a ton of ideas, but nobody I was talking to could really make the numbers work.”

Cooke’s listing expired earlier this year, and now the hydro plant’s owner, Baltimore-based Cordish Companies, is assessing its options.

Images: Valentine Richmond History Center/Richmond Rolett

  • error

    Report an error

Richard Hayes

When Richard isn’t rounding up neighborhood news, he’s likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest craft beer.

There are 4 reader comments. Read them.