The proposed 17,000-seat GreenCity Arena in Henrico County, VA could turn out to be the greenest venue in the U.S., according to the project’s development team. GreenCity Partners and ASM Global recently signed an agreement to develop and operate the venue, which will host touring concerts, family shows, sports and tournaments, and will be a central feature of the $2.3 billion GreenCity development.
Henrico first announced GreenCity in December 2020 as a mixed-use development featuring office, residential, retail and hotel uses designed to high-sustainability standards as an eco-district. The arena is being planned as a net-zero energy project with additional design features and practices that developers believe will make it the greenest arena in the nation.
“What we wanted in an arena-development partner is someone that also understood district programming,” said GreenCity Partners principal Michael Hallmark. “The arena may well be the main attraction, but GreenCity is much more.
“A growing list of touring artists as well as corporate sponsors are viewing climate change action strategies as key factors in their decision process. They can go anywhere. We want them to come here,” Hallmark added.
“Developing science-based targets and net-zero goals is just good business.”
— Michael Hallmark
Arena construction will be largely paid for by bonds issued through the GreenCity Community Development Authority (CDA), established by the Henrico Board of Supervisors.
“Through most of last year, we had been focused on the formation of the CDA and the arena financing,” said GreenCity Partners’ Susan Eastridge. “With the development entitlements in place and development agreements signed with the county, partnering with a world-class arena development and management partner was one of the last remaining pieces to advancing the arena design and construction.”
The arena site, located along Interstate 95 between East Parham Road and Interstate 295, is seen as the best location for a major arena in Virginia.
“We believe this location is optimal within the greater region, as the I-95 corridor connects touring shows from Boston to Miami. It will be a tremendous venue for us as well as Central Virginia,” said ASM Global Executive Vice President of Development Liam Thornton. “Additionally, the extensive work already done by Henrico County in terms of completing planning approvals, the development agreement and the formation of the CDA demonstrates their track record of successfully partnering with the private sector on consequential projects.”
The mixed-use nature of the development, the creation of a district around the arena, and its extensive focus on sustainability standards also were draws for ASM Global.
“It’s a beautiful development plan, impressive at every level,” said ASM Global President and CEO Ron Bension. “GreenCity offers tremendous synergies for the talent we hope to attract as well as the corporate partners we believe will be eager to be a part of this exciting project.”
Design for the arena will be finalized in the fall. Construction is expected to begin in early 2024 with completion in 2026.