With a local developer floating proposals to replace City Stadium with mixed-use retail, and Virginia Commonwealth University tiptoeing toward making a bid for the site, the question still looms: What is the property worth?
City Councilman E. Martin Jewell's plan to prohibit the sale of the property until its market value can be determined is stuck in the legislative churn.
Jewell proposed an ordinance last month that would require Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall to commission an economic-feasibility study to determine the stadium site's potential profitability. The proposal prohibits the demolition, sale or lease of the site until the study's findings are presented to council.
"You wouldn't sell your house based simply on the assessed value, would you?" asks Jewell, whose district includes the stadium. "You sell it based on the appraised value. And in the case of City Stadium, that's never been done."
Local real estate developers have eyed the site for years. Bounded by the Downtown Expressway, Interstate 195 and Powhite Parkway, City Stadium's location makes it ideal for developers looking to lure larger retailers.
Paul Bratten, a spokesman for the Fulton Hill Partnership, the development group behind the bid, agrees that a study of the site's value should be initiated. Asked how much the site might be worth, Bratten says it depends on what the city ultimately determines is the best use for the land.
The 16 acres assessed at a total value of $5.3 million, according to the city real estate records. But the site might be worth considerably more depending on how many "economic generators" are constructed there, says real estate developer Joseph Harding, president of Harding & Associates. "For example, you could put a midrise hotel on only 3 acres," he says. "That alone could be worth $2.5 million easy."
The proposal comes back up for consideration May 9.