Will the Canal Walk ever become a tourist hub?

Canal Walk and the Turning Basin in downtown Richmond, Va.It has been more than 10 years since the completion of the Canal Walk and while beautifully landscaped walkways may have replaced the abandoned wasteland that frequently hosted bonfires set by Richmond ’s homeless, the promise of the area remains unfulfilled.

The Canal Walk is a 1.25-mile greenway that connects Tredegar Ironworks to 17th Street in Shockoe Bottom. It features a series of markers and signs that interpret Richmond ’s history and provides a link to many of downtown’s best attractions. And while there has been some commercial development, it hasn’t developed into a tourist hub.

Last week, Richmond City Council unanimously approved a special-use permit to relieve some zoning requirements for a development proposed for the 6-acre Reynolds Packaging Group’s North Plant property along the Canal Walk at 12th and East Byrd streets.

WVS Cos. and Fountainhead Development LLC plan to build more than 225 apartments in a mixed-use development that should remove the Canal Walk’s biggest roadblock.

For more on the status of the Canal Walk, see Richmond.com


4 responses to this post.

  1. […] hosted bonfires set by Richmond ’s homeless, the promise of the area remains unfulfilled. rotj.wordpress.com Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Zoning – Council approves Canal Walk special-use […]


  2. Posted by Scott Burger on August 5, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    I reiterate my earlier comment:


    From the comments:

    “In San Antonio, you see the canal lined with tiny little businesses… ice cream shops, henna painting, wine bars, taffy stands, restaurants, even an amphitheater where nightly performances depict the history of the area. I’m sure managing all of that is a lot more work than throwing up a bunch of apartments (and yes, less profitable for the developer), but it’s essential in creating a unique, balanced and diverse community.”


    Its sad that the City gave Cordish a $50 million loan and yet we are still trying to get some organic growth going on the Canal Walk. Its pretty clear that money should have put to better use in fixing up PUBLIC school and municipal buildings.

    Hopefully the Canal Walk can develop more positively from this point forward.


  3. Canal Walk will never be anything until you put/have something there that will attract people. I was on it going to the Duck Race last weekend and it was deserted…. except for the people walking to the event.

    In Boulder, CO they have the Pearl St. Mall – and while yes there are some shoppes it’s the other things that bring people – street musicians and dancers, buskers, food and stuff vendors, and the city may just have to pay for some of these until people start to realize that there is something going on at the canal. Also some places for people to sit and have a sense of community would really add to people using the facilities.

    If you want to make Canal Walk touristy, then you have to do just that, otherwise it is just some nice walking paths next to a canal.


  4. […] Riggan wonders about the future of the Canal Walk: It has been more than 10 years since the completion of the Canal Walk and while beautifully […]


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