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Councilman: Big Retailers Looking at The Diamond

Major big-box retailers, in the vein of Best Buy and Target, for example, are beginning to realize that Richmond is a "terribly underserved market," Pantele says. He says several local and national developers have approached him about developing the area into a retail hub that could include a multiplex movie theater.

Pantele declined to name the interested developers. But he says The Diamond site represents a golden opportunity because of the amount of city-owned land nearby and the proximity to Interstates 64 and 95.

That retailers are interested in that area isn't surprising, says Brian Glass, senior vice president of retail brokerage for Grubb & Ellis/Harrison & Bates Inc. For city residents, "other than Willow Lawn, you really have to travel to get to significant retail," Glass says.

"I do believe that they realize that Richmond is an underserved market," he says of the big stores. "A lot of retailers are going back to the inner city because the suburbs are tapped out."

As for a potential stadium in Shockoe Bottom, Wilder says his office has been in contact with the developers and expects that his advisory committee on the area could be reviewing a ballpark proposal as early as January. — Scott Bass

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