RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond Coliseum is just shy of 50 years old, and most touring acts pass right by due to the age and condition of the facility. But, a bill just passed by the General Assembly could mean a new coliseum may be on its way.
The Richmond Coliseum use to host large, popular acts. In the 1990’s it even hosted the NCAA Tournament. For promoters, it’s a dream right off Interstate 95. However, as of late, most acts pass right by, choosing newer venues in Charlottesville and/or Virginia Beach. But that could all change.
“It’s way past it useful life,” said Delegate Manoli Loupassi. “You can go over there and you can see the crumbling infrastructure. It costs the city, probably, when I was there it was costing about a million a year.”
Loupassi just introduced a bill which passed the General Assembly that would turn ownership of the Coliseum over to the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority. They would own, manage, lease and construct the building. There is just one big problem.
“You got to be able to pay for it,” said Loupassi.
The new construction would cost around $170 million. And since the project would fall into the RMTA’s lap, three localities — Richmond, Chesterfield, and Henrico — would all have to agree on the project. James Holland, Chairman of the RMTA and a Chesterfield Board of Supervisor, says the benefit to the region would be huge.
“It could have a major impact economically on the area because we would be able compete with those other arenas for regional tournaments,” Holland said. “NCAA could come back to Richmond.”
The mayor’s office says the action by the General Assembly is a good thing from the city’s perspective. They point to the large cost being a great reason for the region to get involved. They also say a new coliseum could have a $40 Million annual impact to the Greater Richmond Region.