City Council might regret nixing Navy Hill project

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Common sense would suggest that in preparing to sell any real property (public or private), a robust marketing plan and active sales effort would deliver the best outcome for the property owner. Normally, I would agree. Occasionally, however, an unsolicited offer presents such an opportunity for the seller, that it is highly unlikely that a better offer might materialize regardless of the sales effort and the time and money expended.

I have a strong suspicion that the Navy Hill project falls squarely in the second camp. It is hard for me to believe that the city of Richmond will be able to attract any additional proposals for Navy Hill of any consequence, much less anything remotely as strong as the current proposal.

While certainly complex, with a lot of moving parts and myriad details and objectives still needing refinement, the skeleton of the now terminated proposal was about as low risk-high reward as I can possibly imagine for a project of this scale.

Regardless, it appears that we will all get the chance to find out if a better offer is out there. If yes, then I applaud those who rejected the bird in the hand and demanded that the current plan be scrapped, and the process begun anew.

My personal belief is that this was a once-in-a-generation opportunity (perhaps once-in-a-lifetime), and we are all going to be looking back in 10 to 20 years at the Richmond City Council’s decision to scrap the current plan and bemoan what might have been. But by then it will be too late, and millions upon millions of much needed tax revenue (property tax in the city, sales and income tax in the state) will have been collected somewhere other than Richmond.

Gray Stettinius.


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