2 hotels, 2 restaurants set for construction beside Sports & Events Center

Venue drew about 112,000 visitors in first 4 months

Traveling teams, families and other visitors will soon have more places to stay and eat when they head to the Henrico Sports & Events Center.

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A pair of excavators and a dump truck paused long enough Thursday morning for officials to celebrate the next phase of development at the site of the former Virginia Center Commons mall.

Shamin Hotels will soon begin construction of a Residence Inn and Suites hotel, which eventually will be joined by a Home2 Suites hotel and two restaurants – all a short walk from the entrance to the Sports & Events Center. The 185,000-square-foot facility opened in October and attracted about 112,000 visitors in its first few months. That equates to an estimated economic impact of $14.9 million, according to the Henrico Sports & Entertainment Authority.

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In remarks before a ground-breaking ceremony, Fairfield District Supervisor Roscoe D. Cooper III called the hotels and restaurants the “perfect complement to a very busy Sports and Events Center” and credited residents for helping to shape the vision for the mall’s redevelopment.

“This area will soon be unrecognizable as the shopping center it once was,” he said. “This entire area is being transformed with housing, businesses, services and amenities, including access to the Fall Line trail.”

Neil Amin, CEO of Shamin Hotels, lauded county officials for leading the revitalization of the Virginia Center Commons area. In addition to the Sports & Events Center, hotels and restaurants, about 800 apartments, townhomes and condominiums are under construction or planned across the former mall site, between Brook Road and Interstate 95 in Glen Allen.

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Before the financial crash of 2008, the area represented the strongest submarket for hospitality and retail in the region, with convenient interstate access and proximity to Richmond International Airport, Innsbrook Corporate Center and downtown Richmond, according to Amin. He also noted that March was the highest month for hospitality revenue in Henrico and the region. Among other events, the month brought the Atlantic 10 Conference Women’s Basketball Championship to the Sports & Events Center.

“So clearly, this area has tremendous potential. It has the bones to really achieve greatness, which it will,” Amin said. “It’s a premier location for people to live, people to visit and, of course, people to spend money that improves the quality of life for all of our Henrico residents.”

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The hotels at Virginia Center Commons will be Shamin’s 21st and 22nd properties in Henrico, Amin said. A site plan shows a four-story Residence Inn and Suites and a five-story Home2 Suite situated across a private road from two restaurants that will feature patio seating.

In 2022, tourism accounted for $1.7 billion in economic activity in Henrico – the fifth highest total among localities in the state, according to a study by Virginia Tourism Corp. That translated to about $75 million in local revenue and 10,000 jobs.

“Tourism allows Henrico to thrive above its peers,” said Anthony J. Romanello, executive director of the Henrico Economic Development Authority. “We love tourism. We love sports tourism. Folks come here. They stay in our hotels. They eat in our restaurants, and we don’t have to educate their children. It’s a great combination. It really helps build our economy.”

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