VCU buys land for Athletics Village
$11.75M purchase on Hermitage Road is next to Diamond
VCU announced Thursday that the school’s Board of Visitors has approved the purchase of 10.94 acres of land on Hermitage Road. The land will be used for the school’s Athletics Village project.
The cost of the land is $11.75 million. Ed McLaughlin, VCU vice president and director of athletics, said in a release that the purchase is being financed by a lowinterest loan that’ll paid with revenue from the athletics department. No state or tuition funds will be used.
“This acquisition represents an important step in the future of our university and our Central Virginia Community,” VCU president Michael Rao said in a statement. “It enables VCU Athletics to move operations from core campus areas and free them for much-needed new academic facilities, including a STEM building now under construction at the site of the former Franklin Street Gym.
“From a gender equity perspective, this project helps us align more properly with our peers across the
country. We have taken steps to significantly improve the student-athlete experience,” he said.
The land was owned by Greyhound Lines, Inc., and used for a maintenance facility. It touches Hermitage Road, Cummings Drive and Hardy Street, and is next to The Salvation Army Family Store & Donation Center at 2601 Hermitage Road.
As part of a university master plan, VCU’s Athletics Village is due to include an indoor/outdoor tennis center, an indoor multipurpose facility, practice fields and a baseball park.
“We have worked on this part of the project for more than two years to get to this step. We have several steps remaining on other key parcels of land, but this project demonstrates our commitment to providing world-class Division I facilities so our student-athletes can compete for championships at the highest level,” McLaughlin said in a statement. “We look forward to working with local and state officials and community leaders to finalize the project soon and shape a vision that can transform the area.”
VCU’s current, on-campus
Thalhimer Tennis Center would be vacated as part of the plan. Franklin Street Gym, the former home of VCU basketball and of VCU baseball practice space, is set to be demolished in a process that will start Monday, making way for the STEM building.
There is a 22-acre plot of land on Hermitage Road on which discussion has centered concerning VCU’s Athletics Village project. That land is currently occupied by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority’s headquarters. The Times-Dispatch reported last year that VCU would also be interested in “up to 16 acres of adjoining property to develop the Athletics
ABC broke ground last month at the site of its new headquarters in Hanover County. The Hermitage Road land, owned by the state, would then become available when ABC moves in 2021.
The Times-Dispatch reported last year that Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed budget provides VCU the right of first refusal to the land.
A new ballpark, as part of the Athletics Village, would be shared by VCU and the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels.