Fast Buses May Bring Major Development Opportunities to Richmond

May 23, 2017

Beginning in October 2017, the City of Richmond’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System, known as the PULSE, will operate through the center of Broad and East Main streets. The PULSE Corridor will run from Willow Lawn to Orleans Street, near Rocketts Landing, and the city is poised to make significant changes to its current land use plan to promote and accommodate new economic development in these areas.

On July 24, 2017, the Richmond City Council is scheduled to vote on the PULSE Corridor Plan as a new component of the city’s Master Land Use Plan. If approved by the City Council, the PULSE Corridor Plan will re-designate many areas along the route and in adjacent neighborhoods for higher density development; greater active commercial and residential mixed uses; reduced or, in some cases, eliminated parking requirements; and increased heights and other standards focused on promoting transit-oriented development.

What do these changes mean for Richmond’s development community?

If Richmond’s millennials and urbanites like the PULSE BRT as much as their peers like metro and light rail in other areas, the city hopes that owners of commercial, office and residential properties a quarter of a mile or even half a mile from a PULSE station could realize significant rental premiums and hefty increases in property values. In an effort to encourage transit-oriented development along the PULSE route, the city has identified emerging areas and neighborhoods along the corridor believed to have high development potential. New zoning regulations intended to stimulate development also are in the works.

A kick-off public meeting for the city-initiated rezoning of Scott’s Addition and West Broad Street between Boulevard and I-95 is scheduled for May 24 at Gather, 2920 W. Broad St. in Scott’s Addition. A second meeting to provide a detailed review based on feedback from the first meeting will be held on June 7 at DMV Headquarters, 2300 W. Broad St.   

Adoption of the PULSE Corridor Plan is a first step in the city’s effort to create a vibrant downtown corridor that interconnects existing and future residential neighborhoods and retail areas.

McGuireWoods’ Land Use Team believes the city’s placemaking efforts provide new opportunities for the commercial real estate community in RVA to become involved and create change. Attorneys Ann Neil Cosby, Brennen Keene, Rob Benaicha and Danielle Stokes can share more information on the city’s plans, areas identified for development potential and how to navigate new zoning requirements adopted to further the city’s vision. To learn more, contact Ann Neil Cosby at [email protected] or (804) 775-7737.