But the deal simply doesn’t add up. First, Highwoods’ projected retail and restaurant development is outlandishly overconfident. The developer’s claim that it can build 192,400 square feet worth of retail and restaurants, and generate more than $78 million in sales, is simply not feasible. This is important because the sales revenues generate the taxes needed to pay for the ballpark.As a person well-versed in real estate matters, Diradour offers a perspective that some who dream of building an amusement park/baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom may be overlooking. Click here to read Diradour's argument against baseball in The Bottom.
The pitch sounds simple, but therein lies the curveball. Revenue projections are speculative, and Highwoods Properties’ executives have yet to disclose a single retail or other prospective business tenant for the complex. And while it continues to tout the project in public meetings with city residents, at press time Highwoods Properties had yet to submit formal development proposals to the city. The developers gave the city’s administration an Aug. 1 deadline to sign a letter of intent to progress with the project, placing it under Council’s consideration.Click here to read the entire Richmond Magazine piece, which offers an overview of this issue that may be useful, especially to a reader not familiar with some of its history.
Click here to read my call for a referendum to settle this issue.