1717 Innovation Center

Richmond, VA


Based out of a 100 year-old, 5-story heavy-timber former tobacco warehouse in the growing Shockoe Bottom region, the 1717 Innovation Center is a community-driven business incubator, housing the non-profit Start-Up Virginia. Capital One, who funded the project through their Future Edge program, also occupy space on two floors for gathering space and a research lab.

Purchased in early 2017, the owner sought to revamp this otherwise underutilized asset through a community outreach partnership with a local non-profit incubator that created a vibrant office hub for the entrepreneurial community, modernized an underutilized urban asset, and instilled a magnet for future subsequent development in the area.


Market Sector
Richmond, VA
37,860 sf
Year Completed


+ Provide a unique space to spur creativity

+ Nurture startup companies

+ Create a community innovation hub

+ Support urban revitalization efforts

+ Offer business mentorship

+ Create space that supports business operations, strengthens sustainability, and increases capacity to serve members



Entirely void of modern building systems past the 1st floor, the project scope included a complete renovation of the existing warehouse to include new building systems, the addition of a 6th level for larger meeting functions and outdoor rooftop patio space, and selective demolition to incorporate uniquely expressed vertical transportation systems.  Seeking to respect the historic tradition and character of the building while emphasizing the modern building additions, the project strikes a visual juxtaposition between the new and old to celebrate its inherent history and storied past while paving way for new means of innovation and development.

The state-of-the-art facility features six floors including 25 private offices for startups, shared, co-working and mentoring spaces, meeting rooms, common areas and a rooftop terrace overlooking the city. The space can host up to 50 startup businesses at one time, from single-owner to 8-10 person teams. Each floor features a theme, symbolic of the different Richmond neighborhoods: Church Hill, The Fan, Jackson Ward, Manchester and Scott’s Addition. Each theme was developed with a unique color scheme and finish palette, architectural elements that reflect the style of the individual neighborhoods, even signage and artwork was carefully curated to align with  each area of the city.

Measuring Outcomes

  • 1 The region’s premier full-service startup and business incubator
  • 300% Increase in StartupVA’s membership base, since moving to their new home at the 1717 Innovation Center
  • 2,549 People attend educational programs in an average year that foster startup success and leverage the mentor network