And then there were two.
The City of Richmond announced Friday that it has reduced the number of finalists for the Diamond District project from three to two development teams.
The remaining teams vying for the project are: Richmond Community Development Partners, led by Machete Group, JMA Ventures and Tryline Capital; and RVA Diamond Partners, led by Republic Properties Corp., Thalhimer Realty Partners and Loop Capital.
Vision300 Partners, led by Freehold Capital Management with members such as Brookfield Properties and Hourigan, is eliminated from competition. Freehold is a Boston-based company with an office in Scott’s Addition.
In addition to Hourigan, Vision300 included several other Richmond-based members, including the nonprofit Better Housing Coalition, hospitality giant Shamin Hotels and developer Spy Rock Real Estate Group. Other local team members included the YMCA of Greater Richmond, the Metropolitan Business League, recruitment and consultancy firm Astyra Corp., construction company Canterbury Enterprises and youth athletics group Sports United Ltd.
A statement from the city says the cut was based on project evaluation criteria. It does not specify the criteria that the Vision300 team did not meet.
Maritza Pechin, the city’s Diamond District project manager, said she could not comment further on the specific reasons Vision300 was eliminated.
In a statement on Friday, Casey Tischer of Freehold Capital said: “While we regret that Vision300’s proposal did not go further, we appreciated the opportunity to bring together an outstanding group of community partners who are committed to working with us and our great city leaders on this project.”
The statement added: “We are a team of Richmondians and we remain deeply committed to the success of our city. The Diamond District project presents a fantastic opportunity to build a stronger and more equitable Richmond, and we will be here in Richmond rooted for its success.
The city’s statement said the project’s evaluation committee is continuing negotiations with the two remaining teams and plans to announce its selection by the end of the summer. An announcement was expected by the end of July, but in an update from city council late last month, trustees remained coy about a timeline for selection.
The city has compiled an FAQ with answers to questions related to the scope of the project, the committee and the evaluation process, financing, the ballpark, infrastructure and services, housing, community benefits and adjacent development. . The document is posted on the project website.
The FAQ states that panel members “have been in communication with the finalists to test financial assumptions to fully understand stadium and infrastructure financing. These discussions allow the judging committee to recommend the best development team with the best financial proposal to realize the City’s vision for the Diamond District.
The winning team will work with the city to redevelop the 67-acre, largely city-owned site, which includes The Diamond and VCU-owned Sports Backers Stadium. The 37-year-old Diamond was deemed impossible to renovate and would be replaced by a new 10,000-seater stadium that would anchor the largest mixed-use development.
The city’s solicitation for the project includes upgrades to offices, residences, retail, a hotel and infrastructure. The residential component would include rental and for-sale homes targeted at a combination of income levels.
Earlier last week, the Greater Scott’s Addition Association endorsed RVA Diamond Partners as the neighborhood group’s preferred Diamond District team, based on the results of an analysis conducted by its board members in recent months. . The board met with and received individual presentations from each of the three finalists and held an anonymous ranking vote, according to the group.
Of 16 votes cast, RVA Diamond Partners received 75% of the vote and Richmond Community Development Partners received 25%. Vision300 received no votes, with four of the 20 board members recusing themselves due to ties to teams that fought over the project.
Association president Rob Long said the group is sharing its findings as a stakeholder in the project, which is across Arthur Ashe Boulevard from the Scott’s Addition area. Findings are not part of the project evaluation criteria.
RVA Diamond Partners is led by Republic Properties Corp., a DC-based company whose mixed-use developments include the Port of Washington on the Georgetown waterfront, Georgetown Park, Market Square and The Portals.
He is working with Richmond-based developer Thalhimer Realty Partners and Loop Capital, a Chicago-based investment bank that is involved in the redevelopment of the Oakland Coliseum site in California and new terminals at LaGuardia Airport and JFK airport in New York.
DLR Group and JMI Sports are the stadium designer and development consultant to the team, respectively. DLR’s minor league baseball credits include Fluor Field in Greenville, South Carolina, while JMI worked at Chase Center in San Francisco and Petco Park, home of Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres.
The team’s lead architect is New York-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and its hotel developer is Maryland-based Capstone Development. Its residential developers are Philadelphia-based Pennrose, Maryland-based NixDev, and Richmond-based Southside Community Development & Housing Corp. Contractors on the team include Breeden Construction, Emerge Construction Group, M Companies, Prestige Construction and Whiting-Turner, all locally based.
In a statement, the team said it was ready to get to work on the Diamond District and deliver a new stadium by the start of the 2025 baseball season, the deadline set by Major League Baseball. so that all professional sites comply with the new installation standards.
“We believe RVA Diamond Partners and the City would make a great team, and we stand ready with boots on the court ready to go in order to meet the City schedule,” the statement read.
“With minority-owned businesses at all levels – including ownership – and leadership deeply rooted in the Commonwealth, this team has the local staff and expertise to execute a project of this scale.”
The statement adds that the team is distinguished by its experience developing, owning and operating mixed-use real estate and “a strong personal interest in ensuring Richmond gets the ballpark and inclusive community that ‘she deserves”.
“We have a record that we are proud of and we will put it in competition with anyone else,” the team said.
Richmond Community Development Partners is led by Machete Group, a Houston-based venue development management and consulting firm whose sports and entertainment businesses include Barclays Center in New York, Chase Center in San Francisco, Amway Center in Orlando and the Toyota Center in Houston. .
JMA Ventures, a San Francisco-based company that developed Sacramento’s Downtown Commons, a mixed-use shopping and entertainment complex next to the Golden 1 Center, home to the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, is also part of the crew.
Another team affiliate includes Sterling Project Development, a New York-based company that developed Citi Field for the New York Mets and whose parent company, Sterling Equities, once owned the Major League Baseball team. .
Other team members include several companies based in Richmond or with a proven track record here, such as construction company Gilbane, hotel management and consultancy firm Retro Hospitality, architectural firm Hanbury and design firm VHB engineering.
David Carlock of Machete Group said the team stands out for its experience in developing arenas and stadiums and the mixed-use neighborhoods anchored therein.
“We consider that one of the strengths of our team,” Carlock said. “That is the most urgent part of this project: getting the stadium started and making sure this project can be successfully delivered. We thought we were the team best equipped to do this when there were 15 respondents, and we continue to believe that today.
Carlock said community engagement is another focus of the team, with Richmond-based members including VCU’s School of Urban Design, planning nonprofit Storefront for Community Design, environmental consultant Biohabitats and recent addition Todd Waldo of Hugh Helen LLC, a diversity consultancy.
“We have assembled a team that fully reflects our vision for equitable and resilient development,” Carlock said. “We believe this is the right answer overall for the Diamond District and we are also committed to engaging broadly with the community to ensure we align results with community hopes.”