No hot iron here
12/29/2022, 6 p.m.
“Strike while the iron is hot” is a familiar saying.
It means don’t wait, but take advantage of an opportunity while favorable conditions exist.
Clearly, Mayor Levar M. Stoney’s administration prefers to wait until the iron cools.
On Dec. 20, the Stoney administration’s development officials proudly announced that five teams had met the deadline and would compete for the right to redo the two-block section of Downtown bounded by Leigh, Marshall, 5th and 7th streets.
That area includes the vacant Richmond Coliseum that is to be demolished, the historic Blues Armory and the long closed remnant of the failed 6th Street Marketplace.
Sounds like a big deal, right. But don’t be so quick to hand out congratulations.
There should be a lot more going on right now in Downtown in the way of development of city property that would create jobs and business growth.
In the two years since the council killed the $1.5 bil- lion Navy Hill deal, the Stoney administration has yet to issue requests for developers for city-owned surface parking lots at 6th and Grace streets and 4th and Broad streets.
Both are south of Broad Street and already had active interest, and both have been ripe for activity while interest rates were still low, which is no longer the case.
And then there is the half block of surface parking at6thandBroadstreetsthattheRichmondPerforming Arts Alliance was supposed to sell off so a major new development could rise there. Before he left office in 2019, former City Councilman Parker C. Agelasto had put in place a requirement that RPAA sell it. But the Stoney administration dropped that idea earlier this year.
And so far, a private developer’s plans to replace the shuttered Public Safety Building located just north of City Hall with new offices and hotels have yet to advance.
So, instead of multiple developments taking place, the Stoney administration has waited until interest rates soar and development begins to contract to get the Coliseum blocks going. But nothing else.
Once again, City Hall has preferred to keep silent, and City Council has declined to ask questions. Well done, all.