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Diamond Dreams: Group wants to build hotel, stores, health club around baseball stadium

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A new plan would put The Diamond at the center of a large mixed-use project. (RENDERINGS: Save The Diamond Committee)

RICHMOND, Va. — A second pitch from the private sector to keep baseball on the Boulevard is aiming to keep The Diamond in place through a neighborhood-wide redevelopment effort.

A group of architects, developers and citizens called the Save The Diamond Committee presented a proposal Wednesday for updating the 30-year-old ballpark as part of a mixed-use development totaling 50 acres.

The proposal, which does not include cost estimates or recommendations on how to fund the project, calls for a ballpark-anchored neighborhood with 580,000 square feet of office space, 225,000 square feet of retail, a 75,000-square-foot fitness or health club, a 200-room hotel, 1,350 residential units, and surface and deck parking to accommodate 4,850 parking spaces.

This latest proposal would keep the existing stadium structure but improve upon what was built 30 years ago, said committee member Tom Hanson, who was the structural engineer on The Diamond when it was constructed in 1985.

“We built it for $6.7 million; we built it in six months,” Hanson said. “I’d like to think of it as our having built phase one, and what we’re proposing now is finishing that job.”

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