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