Construction of a four-level, 400-space parking deck at the Science Museum of Virginia could begin by the end of the year, a museum official said Wednesday.
The proposed parking deck would be located where a surface parking lot exists now between the museum at 2500 W. Broad St. and the Children’s Museum of Richmond at 2626 W. Broad St.
The plans, which currently are in the concept stage, also call for turning the existing parking lot in front of the two museums into a park-like green space.
“It’s been a delight to watch this resurgence of Scott’s Addition. The best museums kind of reflect back the aspirations of the community that they are in,” Richard Conti, chief wonder officer at the museum, said Wednesday morning at a meeting of the Scott’s Addition Boulevard Association.
“We discovered in order to really use our property and our site to leverage the best of what’s around us, we have to figure out parking, so we have a parking deck under design,” Conti said.
A parking deck would allow the museum to “scrape up all that asphalt along Broad Street and really create a grand civic green space,” Conti said, explaining the nature of the project to the Scott’s Addition business owners and residents meeting at Paisley & Jade, a vintage and specialty rental business on West Moore Street.
“If you look at a map of Scott’s Addition, and certainly this part of the city, there is not a lot of green space or nature around. We would like to really bring some of that back into the area,” Conti said.
“There is a really interesting way to connect from the Science Museum right back to the back side of Scott’s Addition, which is pretty cool. We want to really explore that,” Conti said.
The existing parking lots at the museums have 345 spaces, according to an analysis of the project’s impact.
Conti said the project will go out to bid when it is fully designed and has been approved by the State Bureau of Capital Outlay Management, a division of the Virginia Department of General Services, the state agency that oversees government facilities. He said the construction budget is approximately $10 million.
A rendering of the proposed parking deck shows its features, colors and styling matching the architectural style of the Science Museum of Virginia’s main building, which dates back to 1919 and was designed by John Russell Pope.
A previous master plan completed for the museum by 3North included the idea of the green space along Broad Street, said Andrew B. Moore of Glavé & Holmes Architecture, who talked about the parking deck proposal.
The Science Museum of Virginia has another opportunity for development now that it controls the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission building on DMV Drive. That state agency moved its offices this year to 333 E. Franklin St. in downtown Richmond
“That’s in play,” Moore said of the vacant building. “We don’t know what it is going to be used for yet, whether it’s going to be torn down.”
Moore said there have been discussions with city officials and area property owners about introducing a greenway.
“We think it would be pretty cool if there was a pedestrian and bike connection from Scott’s Addition to the Science Museum property. We are still working through that,” Moore said.