Property and business owners in Manchester have been working with the neighborhood organizations and Venture Richmond on a plan to expand the Downtown General Special Service and Assessment District into Manchester to fund enhanced services and improvements in that neighborhood. City Council approved $300,000 for Manchester in the adopted FY 2023 budget which represents the public investment in the public/private partnership. The public investment would be matched by the private sector investment of $0.05/$100 of assessed value, which is the current Downtown General Special Service and Assessment District rate. The desired enhanced services include:
Maintaining Public Spaces
Strengthen Manchester’s Infrastructure and Connections to Downtown
Market and Promote Manchester
Advocate for more City Investment
The property and business owners desire the enhanced services the rest of Downtown receives, because Manchester is one of Downtown’s neighborhoods. To accomplish this, the property owners want to expand the Downtown General Special Service and Assessment District, that is managed by Venture Richmond, into Manchester.
The property owners and organizations that have been involved in the initial discussions include: Manchester Alliance, Hull Street Merchants Association, Hull Street Action, SunTrust (now Truist Mortgage), UPS Freight (now T-Force), Thalhimer RE, Robin Miller, Lynx Properties, WVS/Fountainhead, Monument Companies, The Hanson Company, W. M. Jordan Company, Guy Blundon, Genesis Properties, Charles Macfarlane, Sam McDonald, Charlie Westbrook, Jeremy Connell, Dodson Commercial, Brent Graves, Nick Cametas, Bringitbackrva, Old Manchester Lofts Owners group, CoStar, Hourigan, Canterbury Enterprises, and more.
Manchester is one of, if not, the fastest growing neighborhood in the city. The private sector has invested over $700 million in the development in the neighborhood, and more is in the pipeline, adding over 4,600 residential units (completed or underway). There are new restaurants and new commercial spaces as well. Manchester is generating new tax revenues for the City and the property and business owners are willing to fund enhanced services as part of a public/private partnership with the City. This is a way for the City to reinvest some of those revenues back into the neighborhood.
With an expansion of the current Downtown General Special Service and Assessment District, the property and business owners would pay $0.05/$100 of assessed value for enhanced services, just like the property owners in the rest of Downtown. In turn, the property owners have asked the City to be an annual 50/50 funding partner at $400,000. City Council put $300,000 in the 2023 budget as a match to the private sector investment.
In 1990, the City of Richmond established the Downtown General Special Service and Assessment District to provide special enhances services to certain areas of Richmond’s Downtown.
Venture Richmond (“VR”) has a contract with the City of Richmond to provide enhanced services within the District, including:
-Providing the Clean and Safe program (sidewalk cleaning, litter and leaf collection, tree well maintenance, weed eradication, etc.)
-Activating, managing and beautifying public spaces (manage Brown’s Island and Canal Walk, landscaping, planters, hanging baskets, etc.)
-Marketing and promoting Downtown, its neighborhoods and businesses
-Neighborhood placemaking enhancements (trash cans, bike racks, murals, parklets, etc.)
-Producing Downtown festivals and events
The cost of these services are covered by funds VR receives from the city through a public-private partnership. The property and business owners within the District pay the City a special assessment of $0.05/$100 of assessed value, which is the private sector investment. The City’s share of the program comes from annual Municipal Services grants, which is the public sector investment.
VR draws down these funds to implement the annual work plan and budget, which is approved by City Council.
A subcommittee of VR’s standing Service District Committee, made up of property owners in Manchester, would set the annual budget and work plan for Manchester for submission to Council.