November 6, 2014

Richmond, VA- (November 6, 2014) The City of Richmond has officially announced the groundbreaking for the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.   The museum occupies the historic Leigh Street Armory building that was redeveloped to house the museum and cultural center.  The ceremony will take place at the project location at 10am today.

Built in 1895, The Leigh Street Armory building holds significant historic importance to the City of Richmond’s African American Community. Originally built as an armory for African American militia, later the building was repurposed as a school for African American children. During World War II it served as a social hall and a reception center for black soldiers, before falling into a disrepair.

After renovations the Leigh Street Armory building will house the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. The museum will have more than 12,000 square feet of exhibit space, to tell a story of African American Culture from 1619 to present day. In addition to permanent and temporary exhibit space the museum has a grand exhibit hall, which will double as a community space. The design incorporates a café that will invoke the ambiance of the old Woolworth’s lunch counter and other symbols of the Civil Rights Movement.

Working with the City of Richmond, The National Development Council provided technical assistance to the City’s Economic and Community Development Department, providing direction and assistance in budget development and devising an ownership structure for the museum. Redevelopment financing includes funding from federal and state historic rehabilitation tax credits, state grant funds, and a Section 108 loan from the City.

“Through our Technical Assistance contract with the City, National Development Council was able to secure a HUD Section 108 Loan and ensure the availability of funds crucial to completing the project” said Regina Celestin “We are proud to support the efforts of the City of Richmond in the redevelopment of Leigh Street Armory building, creating a permanent home for the Black History Museum”

About National Development Council 

Founded in 1969, the National Development Council (NDC) is a national non-profit organization that has evolved into one of the most progressive and innovative community and economic development organizations in the country.  From a seminal role in the earliest days of the community development movement, NDC has grown into one of the most comprehensive providers of financing, development expertise, technical assistance and training for community revitalization efforts throughout the U.S.  www.nationaldevelopmentcouncil.org