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Website posted June 3, 2003 - Updated March 2, 2004

 

Open for Business - or - CITY FOR SELL?

Developers have had their way with Richmond City Council, and Council didn't even complain.

Instead Mayor Rudy McCollum, City Manager Calvin Jamison, and Richmond Renaissance's Jack Berry are brazenly proud of their value destroying schemes. In reality, they have betrayed the public trust.

Instead of preserving the City's infrastructure and public buildings,

Instead of helping to grow small business in the heart of the city,

Instead of protecting taxpayers' investment ($15.5 million in 1984 of tax payer money)

City Council and the City Manager have gone along with a plan hatched by Richmond Renaissance and the Broad Street Community Development Authority (CDA) to borrow $67 million dollars (from undisclosed investors) to tear down the 6th Street Marketplace and put in a street to profit the very same developers & corporations that are leading the redevelopment project and who sit on the Board of Directors of the Broad Street CDA. Conflict of interest, anyone?


I am now editing The Crow a free socialist newspaper that focuses on covering Richmond City Council's various meetings. "The Free Press is the People's Friend and the Tyrant's Foe." It is my hope is that by paying closer attention to Council's activities, we shall be able to avoid future wasteful and costly mistakes. Click image for more details.

Would you like to know the story behind the story?

Click here to read Greg Will's excellent analysis of the Broad Street Community Development Authority (CDA).

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"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers alone. The people themselves therefore are its only safe depositories."

 
 
Thomas Jefferson, 1782

Richmond Renaissance,
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

This Place should have been kept.

The intersection of 6th and Broad Streets has been a public market for over 70 years. In the earlier times, it was a place were you could get fresh fruits and vegetables from real farmers, fresh meat, flowers -- a real city market.

The 6th St. Marketplace was designed to be an integral part of the Convention Center. However, the city took longer than expected to complete the convention center. But does that mean you should abandon the plan? What is the purpose of a plan? The city needs to start thinking about the best way to use the resources we already have. That means developing projects with an eye towards the future. The failure of the Marketplace is the failure of our local government. Tearing down the Marketplace may remove the reminder of that failure but its disappearance should not allow us to forget exactly what has happened here.

The ordinance to create the Broad Street Community Development Authority (CDA) was introduced in Richmond City Council on May 28, 2002. On July 8, 2002, only three Richmond citizens: Al Bowers, L. Shirley Harvey, Luis Pantophlet, Jr. and Christophe Maxwell spoke against the paper; and eleven individuals from Richmond’s economic development community came out to speak in favor of it. The Council unaminously approved the resolution thus sealing the fate of the Sixth Street Marketplace.

Sometime between 2000 and 2001, the decision was made to teardown 6th Street Marketplace. How was the decision made? Did the people of Richmond have an opportunity to say what they thought should be done with it? I am not aware of any public discussion on this matter, and I would argue that the decision to tear down the Marketplace was made by developers and members of the Broad Street CDA as they pressured City Manager Calvin Jamison and City Council to develop the area on their own terms.

On May 10, 2003, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported an announcement by the Broad St. CDA that they had gotten a commitment from investors to sell $66.74 millions in bonds to finance demolition of Sixth St. Marketplace between Marshall and Grace streets, as well as tearing down other downtown buildings for surface parking lots, putting in a street where 6th St. Marketplace once stood and purchasing some parking garages, and doing some landscaping and utility work.

Who are the investors?

This should be public knowledge, after all it was a city building built with taxpayer money. The Times-Dispatch tells us of the investors, "six were institutions, such as insurance companies and mutual funds, and five were individuals." The Marketplace is a valuable city asset that was largely financed with tax-payer money, $15.5 million.

Are any of the investors also members of the Broad St. CDA? Is Jim Ukrop an investor? Who is responsible for this obnoxius waste of tax-payer money besides City Manager Calvin Jamison, City Council, Richmond Renaissance, and ECI Investment Advisors? Who is making money on this project? And who is making the decisions?

The people of Richmond have the right to know.

We are the ones losing the Marketplace. And for what -- a brand new corporate park for rich tourists?

 
 
  The 6th Street Marketplace was designed for mixed-use retail -- with some corporate retailers; the City had a unique opportunity to promote local small businesses.  

Section of the Marketplace between Marshall & Broad Streets.  
A view of the 6th Street Bridge over Broad Street. Miller & Rhodes in background.      
This was the second floor level between Broad & Grace Streets.      
 
Entrance on Marshall Street, opposite the still existing Food Court at the Armory.  
 

Who is the  

Broad Street Community Development Authority?


  Chairman, Gary A. Beller, Chicago developer of ECI Investment Advisors who wants to recondition the Miller & Rhoads building to put in a 216 room luxury hotel adjacent to the 6th St. Marketplace. Mr. Beller is also a senior executive vice-president and general counsel of MetLife, Inc. and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. He is also chairman, president and chief executive officer of Metropolitan Insurance and Annuity Company and the Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company. Out of state multi-millionaire! He doen't live in this "community."
Gary Beller
 
       
      James Procaccianti, President and CEO of the Procaccianti Group based out of Rhode Island,which owns the Broad Street Marriot and the Sheraton Richmond West at Innsbrook and number of other hotels mostly in the northeast. Another non-Richmonder, out of state multi-millionaire, profitting at Richmond tax payers' expense.
       
      Ronald Stallings, landowner and developer in the adjacent Jackson Ward neighborhood. Local Millionaire.
 
      Brad Armstrong, CEO of the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation, which plans to build a performing arts complex at Sixth and Broad Streets. Read more about the Performing Arts Center.
     
 
  Jim Watkins, Assistant Director of Richmond Renaissance. Richmond Renaissance, a local group of business boosters, initially spear-headed the Sixth Street Marketplace development, and joined with developers in 2001 to demand its destruction.
Jim Watkins

"Whenever people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government, and whenever things get so far wrong as to attract the public's attention, the people may also be relied upon to make things right." S. P." 2003   This website is paid for by Silver Persinger, a citizen of Richmond who is concerned about the manner in which the decision to demolish the 6th St. Marketplace was made with very little public input and for the seeming benefit of developers, investors, and land speculators.

     
Last updated March 2, 2004 12:45 am