Two-pronged planning process underway for City Stadium

An email today from Councilman Parker Agelasto (5th District) provides an update on the plans for City Stadium. As detailed at Agelasto’s 5th District meeting in August, there are two studies of the location under way. The first study will provide a look the cost to invest in rehabilitation of City Stadium for continued use […]

An email today from Councilman Parker Agelasto (5th District) provides an update on the plans for City Stadium.

As detailed at Agelasto’s 5th District meeting in August, there are two studies of the location under way. The first study will provide a look the cost to invest in rehabilitation of City Stadium for continued use as a stadium or as a sports-entertainment complex. The second is an exploration of the “highest and best use” of the land at City Stadium if completely redeveloped.

A community session originally tentatively scheduled for late September or early October is still on the timeline, though no date is specified.

The Councilman’s email and the City Stadium Summary Project Update are below:

Dear Stadium , Carillon, and Carytown Residents and Businesses,

I would like to provide you with an update on City Council’s 2011 resolution to study City Stadium for a rehabilitated sportsplex as well as another study to look at the redevelopment of the site for alternative uses. A consultant was hired in the summer to complete an analysis of the Region’s sports facilities, tourism, and opportunities. Their report is expected soon. In the meantime, a task force of residents was formed to keep a small working group of neighbors engaged in the process. They represent the Carillon Civic Association, Stadium Civic Association, and Carytown Merchants Association. We have yet to secure a representative from the Carytown Residents Association and ask for a volunteer.

The neighborhood task force has been in dialogue with staff from the City’s Economic and Community Development staff and met recently to outline the role out for community engagement. This task force will continue to meet though we have requested that City staff provide a written summary that can be shared with all residents. Below is the most recent project update from Brendan Williamson along with his contact information.

The neighborhood task force is being invited to represent the community during another City-initiated meeting next week with the Urban Land Institute. Details on this have not been provided. While this ULI Technical Assistance Panel is expected to have stakeholder input, it is not a large public forum for all residents to engage.

In a recent meeting of the task force, I recommended that the civic associations become the client of Storefront for Community Design and take ownership of the upcoming community engagement process and visioning workshops. This would give authority to the residents to set the agenda and timeline. It is essential that the residents feel their voice is heard as a primary stakeholder.

As more details become available, I will try to keep all residents informed. In the meantime, please reach out to your civic association to alert your delegate to the task force of your interest in the future of City Stadium.

Parker C. Agelasto
Richmond City Council, 5th District

Members of the City Stadium Task Force: Jackie Snow, Leslie Moore, Deanna Griffin, Faye Cates, Paige Quilter, Debbie Flippen, Raul Cantu, and Parker Agelasto

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City Stadium Summary Project Update
Thursday, October 17, 2013


The City Administration is in the process of exploring the development potential of the City Stadium site. As requested by City Council, this process will account for both the possibility of rehabilitating the present facility (and/or accommodating other sports/entertainment or community facilities on the site), as well as a highest and best use determination of market value of the site. The City project team is working with a number of partners, and below is a detailed update on each aspect of the overall project process, followed by a list of key points.

Sports or Community Facilities on the City Stadium Site

The City has engaged a team led by Hunden Strategic Partners (Hunden) to explore the market demand for, financial feasibility of, and site capacity to accommodate development of sports or community recreation facilities on the City Stadium site. This work includes:

  • Exploring the cost, feasibility, and market demand for rehabilitating the extant stadium, or replacing it with a more modern facility suitable to the same purposes (i.e., minor league professional soccer, college field sports, outdoor concerts and events, etc.). This work includes consideration of enhancements to the facility (such as the addition of a track or office space which could accommodate other sports uses), andpartnership interests expressed by local sports organizations seeking new facilities.
  • Exploring the cost, feasibility, and market demand for developing other sports-related facilities on the site, including indoor or outdoor community space, court sports, racquet sports, aquatics, or other activities. This work includes consideration of facilities suitable to accommodate such uses as currently exist at the Arthur Ashe Community Center on North Boulevard.

Highest and Best Use and Market Value

Any determination of the highest and best use of the City Stadium site must take into consideration the various possible uses for the property which are legally and physically possible, financially feasible, and appropriately supported, and identify that use which produces the maximum possible value for the site. In order to begin a conversation about the highest and best use and market value of the City Stadium site, the City project team has requested that the Urban Land Institute (ULI) convene a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) to generate a private development perspective on the site.

For those unfamiliar with the ULI TAP process, the organization convenes a panel of developers, supported by real estate financiers, architects, and planners to discuss the potential development opportunities of a specific property.

The report generated by a TAP includes those ideas which the panel finds most attractive as development opportunities for a site, based on their experience with other projects and their understanding of the market potential. The activity is short and intensive, and drives directly at the point of identifying the most appealing private development potential of the property. Given this focus, ULI will invite a small group of stakeholders from the City project team and the neighborhoods around the stadium to inform the process.

Because of sensitivity to recommendations coming from developers interested in promoting their own project ideas, ULI is convening a panel of experienced out-of-market developers who are expected to generate high-quality and objective perspectives on the potential for development on the site, uncolored by prior interest in developing the site themselves. The dates planned for this activity are October 29-30, 2013.

Following the work of the TAP, and receipt of an initial draft of the Hunden analysis (anticipated no later than October 23), the City project team plans to conduct a community engagement process which will allow residents and businesses from the communities around City Stadium to discuss the future of the site. The Administration has requested that the Storefront for Community Design lead this process, but a different approach remains possible, depending on Storefront’s ultimate response.

The intended outcome of this community engagement process is to determine the type or types of development that constituents of the neighborhoods around the site would support. We are interested in the perspectives of these parties who will be most affected by the future of the City Stadium property. As part of this process, stakeholders from the community will have an opportunity to examine and respond to all of the work and ideas generated by HSP, ULI, and the City in the early phases of the project.

After a final report and presentation of the results of the community engagement activities has been completed, the City team will work with Hunden and another consultant from a pool of on-call firms to put final numbers to those concepts that:

  1. are considered financially feasible, and for which there is sufficient market demand
  2. are not objectionable to the community stakeholders around the City Stadium site
  3. fit within the physical and legal limitations of the site

These numbers will include total economic impact, project financing and cost and revenue projections, and details of market demand determinations. This detailed work will be used to prepare a final report and presentation which includes highest and best use of the property and market value, and specifically addresses the potential for both continued use as a sports facility as well as private development on the site.

It should be noted that while this process has taken some time, and is ongoing, the Administration is not advocating for any specific approach to development on the City Stadium site. Rather, the objective of this project is to determine the feasibility of rehabilitating the facility for continuing sports entertainment activities on the site, the potential economic and community impact of private development on the site, and the highest and best use and real market value of the property, as requested by City Council. The City project team is confident that the ongoing work as outlined above will meet this objective.

Next Steps

As indicated, thenext major activity in this process is the ULI TAP which is scheduled to take place on October 29-30. ULI is convening the panel, and will send invitations to the stakeholders. The TAP activities are expected to take place at Maymont, Randolph Community Center, or a similar venue proximal to the site. Prior to this process, the City project manager will convene the neighborhood representatives to update them on this process, and to let them know what to expect from the TAP, and what the next steps are in the overall project process.

Next, the City project team and our partners will begin planning the community engagement process. This activity will not take place until the final report from the TAP is available, so that as much information as possible will be available to participants. Also, because we are not yet certain who the partner(s) in this process will be, there is not a defined timeline yet for this activity. The objective is to do it as soon as possible without compromising the integrity of the process.

Following the final report from the community engagement process, it should not take more than 4-6 weeks for a final report from HSP and an on-call firm to be completed. When this work is completed the final report will be presented to City Council and the public, and will likely define possible next steps to be taken to move forward with future use of the City Stadium site.

Any further questions about the progress of the project should be directed to the City’s project manager, Brendan Williamson, via email at, or via telephone at 804.239.8261.

Key Points Summary and Timeline

  • Draft analysis of sports uses by Hunden Strategic Partners expected the week of October 21
  • Stakeholder representatives meeting to take place the week of October 21
  • ULI Technical Assistance Panel October 29-30
  • Full-scale community engagement activities to discuss all site possibilities will follow final report of ULI TAP, and will be scheduled with the goal of maximum participation
  • The final highest and best use report will consider all prior work, including work by Hunden, ULI, and the City, as well as citizen input from community engagement activities

Further questions about progress of the project should be directed to the City’s project manager, Brendan Williamson (email:, phone: 804.239.8261)

PHOTO [LARGER]: Tobacco Bowl football game by Adolph B. Rice Studio (1949) via Rice Collection at the Library of Virginia

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