RICHMOND, VA-Work on Riverside on the James, a massive $82 million mixed-use project on Brown’s Island under development by local developer The Cordish Co. and Birmingham, AL’s Daniel Corp., has gotten underway with an invitation-only groundbreaking. The 760,000-sf complex of residential, office and retail space is expected to reach full completion sometime near the middle of 2005.

Riverside on the James, also referred to in plans as Riverside Village, sits on a 4.5-acre parcel between Canal Walk and James River that was formerly home to a vacant brick steam plant with three smokestacks.

The property will be reinvented as two looming towers. The luxury apartment tower will sport 122 units in its 175-ft tall structure, while the 230,000-sf office tower will rise 251 feet in the air above a single 70,000-sf level of retail/restaurant space and a seven-level underground parking structure capable of accommodating up to 800 vehicles. Already, law firm Troutman Sanders LLP has committed to space in the office tower. Daniel Corp.’s Michael Campbell tells that Troutman Sanders will occupy 140,000 sf in the building, where the quoted lease rate is $26.50 per sf.

Development of Riverside on the James will result in approximately 1,200 jobs during the construction period and over 1,000 permanent jobs over the long-term. The Richmond City Council has come up with $4.6 million to help the developers cover public infrastructure expenses, which will include the erection of two bridges to the island. The Cordish and Daniel team will be able to repay those funds in just over three years through its anticipated yearly tax return of about $1.2 million.

“The two parties were able to solidify a mutually-beneficial development agreement to serve as a foundation for what all agree is the most exciting development project to hit downtown in a generation,” City of Richmond Department of Economic Development director John Woodward said in a previous comment on the project. According to Chmurra Economics & Analytics, the development will result in an anticipated annual economic impact in Richmond of more than $100 million.

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