The Diamond District team led by Hourigan plans to implement Richmond 300

Vision300 Partners team members include (from left) Sam Young of Astyra Corp., Casey Tischer of Freehold Capital, Abby Rogers of YMCA Greater Richmond and Mark Hourigan of construction company Hourigan. (Jonathan Spiers photo)

Richmond’s recent update of its long-term master plan not only laid the groundwork for the latest push to redevelop the area now dubbed the Diamond District, but also spawned one of the development teams vying to see it through.

The largely Richmond-based team, Vision300 Partners, takes its name from the involvement of some of its members in updating the Richmond 300 Master Plan, a year-long effort that led to the rezoning of the Diamond District and, in turn, the city’s bidding for interest in the stadium. anchored mixed-use project.

Mark Hourigan, whose eponymous local construction and development company is a key player on the team, said they made a decision during the Richmond 300 process to implement the plan’s recommendations for the district.

“We were just trying to help Richmond become a better place. But as we looked around the table and saw the other community leaders and proven business leaders that were together, this team came together and said we had a way to move this forward,” Hourigan said. “It was kind of organic.”

The 140-plus acres of the Diamond District are bounded by Arthur Ashe Boulevard, Hermitage Road, the Interstate and the railroad tracks. (BizSense file)

Hourigan will be joined by Freehold Capital Management, a Boston-based firm with an office at Scott’s Addition, which will act as lead developer for the team, along with a gathering of notable players in the Richmond development scene, including the nonprofit Better Housing Coalition, a hotel giant for residential Shamin Hotels and developer Spy Rock Real Estate Group.

Other local team members include the YMCA of Greater Richmond, the Metropolitan Business League, staffing and consulting firm Astyra Corp., construction company Canterbury Enterprises and youth sports group Sports United Ltd.

Unannounced members include local engineering firm Timmons Group and architectural firm HKS, headquartered in Dallas but with an office in Richmond.

Rounding out the team are Toronto-based investment firm Brookfield Asset Management, Atlanta-based developer Greenstone Properties, Dallas-based developer KDC, and Florida-based Kodjoe Family Foundation.

Greenstone’s work includes SRP Park Stadium and the adjacent Riverside Village multipurpose facility in North Augusta, South Carolina. (Photos courtesy of Hourigan)

Greenstone, which has developed and operates several baseball stadiums, would lead development of the new stadium to replace The Diamond with HKS handling designs. The companies previously worked together on Riverside Village, a 35-acre, multipurpose facility in North Augusta, South Carolina anchored at SRP Park, home of the Augusta GreenJackets minor league ball club.

Greenstone also developed Parkview Field stadium and an adjacent mixed-use building in Fort Wayne, Indiana. HKS stadium design credits include Regions Field in Birmingham, Alabama, home of the Birmingham Barons Double-A club.

Team member Brookfield’s developments include The Yards mixed-use development adjacent to Nationals Park Stadium in DC

Brookfield Asset Management is tied to Brookfield Properties, which co-owns Short Pump Town Center. Brookfield’s developments include The Yards, a 42-acre mixed-use complex adjacent to Nationals Park Stadium on the DC coast.

Freehold develops Masterplanned Communities and is managed locally by Casey Tischer, who relocated to Richmond six years ago for personal reasons and opened an office in Scott’s Addition. While the Richmond company has work to do, the office’s proximity to The Diamond reflects its priority, Tischer said.

“We don’t have any specific properties here, but we’ve been working on it for a very long time,” Tischer said, adding that the team had been working on the project for several years.

“Projects like this require an enormous amount of time and coordination. It’s not just real estate; It brings a lot of different, like-minded people together, and that’s been the focus here,” he said. “We all want to win this and we want it to happen. We’ve seen unsuccessful opportunities slip by and we want this to work, so we’ve put together lots of resources to try and make that happen.”

Among those like-minded people are Sam Young, President of Astyra Corp. and Abby Rogers, CEO of YMCA Greater Richmond.

A Church Hill resident who has lived in the Richmond area for 54 years, Young brings not only his corporate leadership experience but perspective on housing needs from his years on boards for the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority, LISC Virginia, ChamberRVA and Metropolitan Business League.

The area that makes up the Diamond District includes the ballpark of the same name and nearby Sports Backers Stadium. (BizSense file)

“The Affordable Housing piece is something I’ve done for nine years, and I’m still committed,” Young said. “Just from a community engagement and leadership standpoint, I’ve been at it a long time. When you talk about societal benefits, what’s good for our residents and businesses, people of color and women, I’ve been dealing with that for over 20 years.”

Rogers, who oversees the Y’s 17 branches, including three in the city, said the Diamond District project presents a unique opportunity for the Y and other stakeholders to be part of the creation of a new neighborhood.

“We’re about building communities. Our purpose is to strengthen community foundations, and what we’re doing (with the Diamond District) is building a new community,” Rogers said. “It’s a really exciting opportunity for us to be part of a process that is rethinking how we’re building the community for the future, how we’re building a more just community and doing it from the ground up.”

“We are building a neighborhood. We’re building a zip code,” Tischer added. “Those are really important things to think about. When we do this in our business, it doesn’t just affect roads and physical things; They affect how people and children go to school, what schools look like and what services they have, how people live together.”

Vision300 is one of six teams continuing to compete for the 67-acre mixed-use redevelopment that will include a replacement for the 37-year-old Diamond Ballpark. Following the latest trimming of the process, teams have been asked to provide additional information about themselves and their approach to the project – details due to the city on April 25.

A judging panel will then review the information and select a shortlist of finalists, who will be invited to submit proposals by early June. A final selection is targeted later this month.

The city is looking for a team or teams to work with on the redevelopment of the site, which has been in circulation for redevelopment for over a decade. Alongside Richmond 300, driving this latest effort is a deadline set by Major League Baseball for all pro baseball venues to meet new facility standards by the start of the 2025 season. The Richmond Flying Squirrels have been promised a new stadium since the Double-A club’s arrival in 2010.

Hourigan’s local work includes Dominion Energy’s 600 Canal Place tower. (Photo courtesy of Hourigan)

Hourigan, whose on-site operations include Dominion Energy’s 600 Canal Place Tower and VCU Health’s Adult Ambulant Pavilion building, said his team brings a level of local knowledge and experience that its competitors cannot match.

“We understand Richmond. We are here, we were here. So we have a deep understanding of what the community needs and I think our team reflects that,” said Hourigan.

“This team has been thinking about what we are going to feature and how it will benefit the community and how it will work as a real estate business. It has to be both. The conversations around the table were rich and robust in terms of how we’re going to get there,” he said.

While they declined to discuss in detail their vision or the teams they are competing with to win the project, Young said they are pleased with the keen interest in the Diamond District both locally and nationally.

“As a Richmonder, I love the fact that there’s competition because it’s very healthy,” he said. “A win for the city”

Rogers added, “Who would have thought we could get so many really great ideas and suggestions coming to town for this project. This is exciting for Richmond.”

Still, the group stands by their bid amid a field of other teams with notable national names. While Vision300’s makeup is mostly local, Tischer said they’ve also found a balance with national teammates.

“We’re able to combine local horsepower and style, which wasn’t small here, but also national horsepower and style,” said Tischer. “We have a national reach, we’re extraordinarily well capitalized and we’re also very local in terms of how we ensure we can benefit the community.”

On her proposal if shortlisted, Hourigan added: “I would say it’s going to be a bold vision that serves the community at a very high level but still works as a real estate development business. That’s part of the strength that we bring is the ability to see what that can be – not what has worked elsewhere.”

The other five teams still in the running are:

Diamond District Gateway Partners, consisting of local real estate investment firm Capital Square, DC-based developers Dantes Partners and Hoffman & Associates, Maryland-based real estate firm The Velocity Cos., architectural firms Baskervill and Pendulum, engineering firms VHB and Froehling & Robertson, and general contractors Clancy & Theys and Barton Malow.

Richmond Community Development Partners, comprised of Houston-based Machete Group, developers JMA Ventures and Sterling Project Development, construction company Gilbane, hotel management and consulting firm Retro Hospitality, architectural firm Hanbury, engineering firm VHB, and planning for the nonprofit Storefront for Community Design.

MAG Partners, a New York City-based developer working with Seattle-based developer MacFarlane Partners, DC-based developer Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners, real estate investment firm MSquared, architectural firms AtelierTek and Woods Bagot, engineering firms Kimley-Horn and Thornton Tomasetti, sports venue developer CAA Icon and placemaking and staffing company C Space.

RVA Diamond PartnerTeam members unknown.

Weller Development Co. and LMXDcomposed of Weller, a Baltimore-based developer, and LMXD, which is affiliated with L+M Development Partners of New York.

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