Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky is often quoted as saying “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
While Chesterfield County and Henrico County are taking shots, the City of Richmond is getting ready to do so.
Last month, the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors approved a multimillion-dollar incentive package to help Shamin Hotels build a 200-room full-service hotel and a conference center with 10,000 square feet of meeting space at the Stonebridge mixed-use development off Midlothian Turnpike near Chippenham Parkway.
Chesterfield is supporting the hotel project not with current tax dollars but by redirecting future tax proceeds in hopes of gaining a benefit in future years.
The county would reimburse Shamin Hotels for any sales, occupancy or real estate taxes for the new hotel as long as the company invests at least $30 million at the site.
Chesterfield also will refund occupancy and property taxes from three hotels the company is building — a Home2Suites extended-stay hotel and a Hampton Inn in Chester and a Residence Inn next to its DoubleTree by Hilton Richmond-Midlothian hotel on Koger Center Boulevard. In addition, taxes associated with the redevelopment of the DoubleTree also will be used to pay down the cost of developing the new hotel and conference center at Stonebridge.
The vote for the incentive package passed 4-1. While residents can question the decision, all will benefit from the larger tax base created by these projects at some point in the future.
Chesterfield is taking a shot on that future outcome.
Henrico has used basically the same program to get certain projects moving.
In fact, the Henrico EDA website promotes that the county will customize discretionary incentives with a “performance-based agreement for significant new investment and job creation that yields significant benefit for Henrico County.”
Hot zones for Henrico include the Westwood area and Regency mall. The county along with the mall’s owners are igniting new development through the public-private partnership that yielded the NOVA of Virginia Aquatics indoor aquatics center at the mall.
Henrico is essentially taking its shots to enhance its future tax base.
Virginia Beach took a shot about 20 years ago by creating a special zone called a tax-increment-financing district or TIF for the Town Center of Virginia Beach development.
It paid off and city officials continue to feed that area with new agreements to fund additional publicly beneficial projects in the area by using TIFs.
Meanwhile, the fate of the Richmond Coliseum redevelopment proposal is still uncertain.
NH District Corp. was formed to pitch the city a $1.4 billion plan combining private investment and tax dollars to redevelop roughly 21 acres of publicly owned downtown real estate around a new arena.
Its plans call for a 17,500-seat arena that would replace the Richmond Coliseum; a 527-room high-rise hotel; more than 3,000 apartments; 790,000 square feet of office space; 275,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space; and a $10 million renovation of the Blues Armory.
The project was announced in late 2017, but a decision to move forward has not happened yet.
No matter what is negotiated between the developers and Richmond for the project, it will not be perfect.
The city would like to redirect future tax dollars into a project where a team of private investors are risking a significant amount of capital. The goal is to expand the tax base so the city can have more money to fund projects that are not self-sustaining in the future.
The city’s ability to take a shot that combines private and public funds is an important step in Richmond’s future.