The Retail Study and ONE VCU

June 13, 2018

The ONE VCU master plan is driven by data, which comes in many forms: information learned at public meetings and forums, interviews with deans and senior administration and at small group listening sessions with stakeholder groups. In addition to what we learn by talking to our community, much data is derived from the many studies, plans and reports undertaken by the university and the greater community.

Before embarking on the master planning process, the planning team identified more than 40 studies and reports that should inform the master plan. Many of these reports are internal to VCU, but as an urban university with two campuses in downtown Richmond, there are also many initiatives from City and State government and private property owners that need to be considered.

While in the process of identifying those current studies and reports that should feed into the master plan, the planning team determined there were smaller feeder studies to be undertaken, or in some cases, updated. One such study is an update to the Retail Study the university first conducted in support of the previous master plan.

The university hired RCLCO, who had conducted the 2012 study, to provide the update. The original study only focused on the Monroe Park campus, but the current study has been expanded to include the MCV campus. The study will: 

  • Provide a current view of the health of the Richmond retail market
  • Gain insight into the University and VCU Health System communities’ needs (and wants) for retail services around the campuses
  • Refresh, revisit VCU and the Health System’s role in the retail revitalization of the respective neighborhoods around both campuses

As part of the study a survey of the campus community was conducted to better understand spending habits. Some of the findings include:

  • Shoppers come into areas near VCU for restaurants/bars.
  • Food comprises the bulk of spending dollars near VCU campus.
  • Shoppers leave areas near VCU for grocery, hardware/supply, gas and health/personal care.
  • Clothing and grocery stores lead the list for “missing” retail on campus, followed by Movie Theaters and Full Service Restaurants.
  • Most people shop in areas because it is convenient to walk to and most respondents either walk or use their own car as transportation.

The survey results will be included in the One VCU Master Plan and will provide valuable guidance in securing future retail and dining options for our campuses.  

Below are a few selected charts from the survey results.

From retail study, what retail do you feel is missing? Clothing and Grocery Stores Lead the List [View Image]

From retail study, students want brands and walkability [View Image] 



From retail survey, list of strengths and weaknesses, similar feedback across both Monroe and MCV [View Image]

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