Canal Walk developers not thrilled with timing of city improvements

Photo courtesy of Scott Elmquist and Style Weekly

Style Weekly reports on the friction between private developers and the city. While this discussion continues the destruction of a historic part of the canal is for the most part being swept under the carpet.

Love the concept, says Richard Souter, executive vice president of the WVS Cos., which is leading the development of the Locks. The problem is the city’s timing, he says.

“Even though we have this great plan,” Souter says, “it’s been extremely frustrating watching this progress.” The city has long planned to spruce up that section of the Canal Walk, and improvement money to make it happen became available in July. The request for construction bids didn’t go out until last month. Bids are due Nov. 27 and work may begin by the end of the year. This means jackhammers probably will be pounding in the spring, just when the Locks’ first tenants have moved in and Casa del Barco, its flagship Mexican restaurant, begins to offer patio dining.

“It’s this black hole,” Souter says. “Nobody has a real time frame.” If the city had a plan and the money, he asks, why didn’t it make the Canal Walk a priority — instead of focusing on the Redskins training camp? “There’s real economic development potential here,” he says. “Very real. Long-term. Residents and businesses. This really should not take that long.”


  1. #1 • anonymous •

    It’s time for new leadership for the Richmond Riverfront Development Corporation and Venture Richmond. Unfortunately, these people are accountable to their corporate masters, not the public.

  2. #2 • td •

    Funny the city had no problem ramming through the 2nd street connector in record time. I suppose only an entity like Dominion can get the city to move so quickly.

  3. #3 • Tardus •

    Venture Richmond’s office is owned by NewMarket. Two NewMarket executives sit on the Venture Richmond executive committee. A Dominion executive is the Chair of Venture Richmond’s executive committee. Dominion and NewMarket are listed as a “major donors” to Venture Richmond. I wonder who is calling the shots at Venture Richmond??

  4. #4 • Jason •

    The folks funding most of Venture Richmond’s budget (downtown businesses) are the ones calling shots. What’s wrong with that?