RICHMOND, Va., Feb. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Rose Center for Public Leadership, jointly operated by the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Urban Land Institute (ULI), is working this week with Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney to advise the city on synthesizing and implementing a shared vision for Shockoe Bottom. The City of Richmond seeks to leverage existing investments in the area and honor its history to create a new destination district that supports the protection of its cultural and historic heritage, goals for economic development, and environmental sustainability.
“We are excited to welcome this team of national experts who are generously donating their time to help us explore the exciting possibilities and unique opportunities in this part of our city,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “Our goal is to find ways to protect and honor the significant historical nature of this area while promoting its growth and opportunity given environmental challenges. By creating partnerships and working together, we are poised to find a solution that will create a compelling destination for our residents and our visitors.”
One of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, Shockoe Bottom is a 129-acre district within the Shockoe Valley just east of downtown along the James River between Shockoe Hill and Church Hill. Much of the district has been razed and paved over; the tunneled Shockoe Creek beneath it is also a combined sanitary and storm sewer conveyance. But there has been significant investment in Shockoe Bottom in the last two decades, including:
The renovation of Historic Main Street Station An archeological dig at the Lumpkin’s Jail site (once the nation’s second-largest slave holding facility) The Richmond Slave Trail (a self-guided walking trail of the history of the movement of enslaved Africans to and through Richmond) The City of Richmond has enlisted the Smith Group JJR to lead partnership efforts to develop a museum at the Lumpkin’s Jail site.
Shockoe Bottom features numerous surface parking lots and vacant storefronts. Property owners are reluctant to develop or are asking for higher sales prices than the market will currently bear. Much of the district still lies within the FEMA 100- and 500-year flood plains, making sustainable infrastructure an important (and potentially costly) consideration for any future development.
With a history of several unrealized efforts to revitalize the district, the Stoney administration has asked the Rose Center to help it find a way forward