DO­MIN­ION’S NEW OF­FICE TOWER Build­ing will be ‘en­ergy-ef­fi­cient marvel for Rich­mond’s sky­line’

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - BUSINESS - BY ROBERT ZULLO

Do­min­ion Re­sources CEO and Chair­man Tom Far­rell had a “par­tic­u­lar dis­like” for the six-story for­mer Rich­mond Plaza build­ing on South Sixth Street.

And now, what Far­rell called “the ugli­est build­ing in the city of Rich­mond” is gone — re­placed by a nearly 2-acre hole from which will sprout a 20story glass, steel and con­crete of­fice tower and park­ing garage that Carter Reid, a Do­min­ion se­nior vice pres­i­dent, said will be an “en­ergy-ef­fi­cient marvel for Rich­mond’s sky­line.”

“The build­ing that was there was some­thing I drove by most days,” Far­rell said dur­ing a Mon­day af­ter­noon ground­break­ing for the new Do­min­ion tower, which will rise 417 feet, 4 inches from the side­walk. “I in­structed Carter to find a way to buy it and tear it down, so here we are.”

When fin­ished, if there are no changes to the planned height, the build­ing will be the sec­ond-tallest in the city. The James Mon­roe Build­ing at 101 N. 14th St. will re­main the tallest at 449 feet.

Far­rell said the de­mands of a grow­ing and chang­ing work­force that will use more col­lab­o­ra­tive spa­ces, as well as the need for more park­ing, a

de­sire for more en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and other fac­tors per­suaded the com­pany to build a new tower rather than ren­o­vat­ing ex­ist­ing space — in­clud­ing the of­fices at the ad­ja­cent, 310-foot-tall One James River Plaza, where about 1,300 em­ploy­ees work.

Build­ing out­side of down­town Rich­mond was never a con­sid­er­a­tion for Do­min­ion, which now em­ploys 16,000 peo­ple in 17 states.

“Rich­mond is our head­quar­ters town and will al­ways be our head­quar­ters town,” Far­rell said. “Be­ing down­town is very im­por­tant to us. We think hav­ing a strong, vi­brant down­town core is a big part of any com­mu­nity.”

When the new tower is fin­ished, Do­min­ion will have 2,500 work­ers in six build­ings down­town.

Of­fi­cials could not pro­vide the fi­nal price tag Mon­day. The roughly 1 mil­lion­square-foot fi­nal prod­uct will span the en­tire city block bounded by Sixth, Sev­enth, Cary and Canal streets and also will in­clude about 5,000 square feet of re­tail space at Sev­enth and Cary streets.

But Far­rell said it will cost “many mul­ti­mil­lions of dol­lars” that will pro­duce “mil­lions more dol­lars” in ad­di­tional tax rev­enue for the city.

Do­min­ion has not yet de­cided what to do with the One James River Plaza tower, though at least one sce­nario could in­volve tear­ing it down and re­plac­ing it with a match­ing and con­nect­ing build­ing, as a model in Do­min­ion Re­sources’ of­fices at 707 E. Main St. shows.

The project is a joint ven­ture be­tween Hourigan Con­struc­tion, which built the Stone Brew­ing fa­cil­ity, the Bon Se­cours Wash­ing­ton Red­skins Train­ing Cen­ter, among oth­ers, and Clayco, the Chicago-based de­vel­oper re­spon­si­ble for the Gate­way Plaza that is home to the McGuireWoo­ds law firm.

Un­like the Gate­way project, which got mil­lions in city fund­ing for its park­ing garage and a $3 mil­lion city per­for­mance grant, there were no pub­lic in­cen­tives for the new Do­min­ion tower.

“As the mayor knows, we did not ask for nor will we ask for any tax abate­ments or any other in­duce­ment to keep this build­ing” in Rich­mond, Far­rell told a crowd un­der the tent at the con­struc­tion site that in­cluded out­go­ing Mayor Dwight C. Jones and Mayor-elect Le­var Stoney.

In an in­ter­view, Far­rell said the re­mark was not aimed at the in­cen­tives for the new home for McGuireWoo­ds, which city of­fi­cials in 2013 said was se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing a move out­side Rich­mond.

“The city’s got enough on its plate. We weren’t go­ing to leave down­town any­way,” he said.

Mark Hourigan, Hourigan’s pres­i­dent, said that at its peak, Hourigan

the job site will em­ploy 450 peo­ple.

About 75 per­cent of the ma­te­ri­als from the de­mol­ished Rich­mond Plaza will be re­cy­cled.

Work­ers will haul 10,000 truck­loads of fill away to cre­ate space for the be­low­ground park­ing, which also will be topped with above­ground park­ing and a 1-acre roof gar­den, and use 40,000 cu­bic yards of con­crete, 4,000 tons of struc­tural steel and 335,000 square feet of glass.

That’s enough glass to stretch from the job site to Short Pump if laid end-toend in 5-foot in­cre­ments, Hourigan said.

Jones, who leaves of­fice at the end of this month, called Do­min­ion his “co-cheer­leader” for Rich­mond and “its ad­vance­ment.”

“I’m com­pletely amazed by the cor­po­rate lead­ers who make the de­ci­sion and have the de­sire to be in down­town Rich­mond, and we see it over and over and over again,” Jones said.

“What would Rich­mond be with­out this great cor­po­ra­tion? From the Christ­mas pa­rade to the UCI World Cham­pi­onships that gave this city un­prece­dented op­por­tu­nity for global recog­ni­tion and brand­ing, the peo­ple of Do­min­ion and Tom Far­rell have been ex­tremely present, they’ve been right there, and I can’t un­der­score enough just how great a cor­po­rate part­ner Do­min­ion has been.”



Do­min­ion Re­sources CEO and Chair­man Tom Far­rell (cen­ter left) and Mayor Dwight C. Jones (cen­ter right) shook hands af­ter the ground­break­ing cer­e­mony for Do­min­ion’s tower on Mon­day.


This ren­der­ing shows the tower (left) Do­min­ion Re­sources is build­ing at 111 S. Sixth St. The tower at One James Plaza could be re­placed with a match­ing and con­nect­ing build­ing (right).

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