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Award-Winning 1717 Innovation Center

PSG performed the Program and Construction Management services for one of the most notable and award-winning historical renovation projects in Richmond, 1717 Innovation Center. A once thriving tobacco warehouse was transformed into a contemporary space for local entrepreneurs to collaborate, in order to further develop their ideas. In addition, Capital One also occupies a portion of the building.


  • 2018 IIDA Interior Design Excellence Award – First Place, Corporate
  • 2018 Golden Hammer Award - Best Adaptive Reuse
  • 2018 ENR MidAtlantic Best Projects – Award of Merit, Small Projects
  • 2019 GRACRE Award – Community Impact Award
  • 2019 AIA Richmond Award – Honor Award


Located in the historic Shockoe Bottom region of downtown Richmond near the James River, stands a 100-year-old, 5-story, heavy-timber, former tobacco warehouse. This once underutilized building is now the home of Startup Virginia, a nonprofit incubator whose new space connects its participating entrepreneurs to mentors and programs in the community.

The 1717 Innovation Center was revitalized by Capital One through its Future Edge program, a campaign to invest $150 million on community grants aiding small business development. Named after it’s address, 1717 E. Cary St., it is a community-driven business incubator designed to help startups grow, compete and succeed in Virginia and beyond.

The 42,000 square foot space acts as a central hub where up to 50 startup businesses at a time can connect and collaborate and provides office space, mentoring and leadership programs, community events and conferences.

To realize this shared vision, Capital One chose a skilled and committed team of professionals.  Together, PSG, SMBW, Gilbane and MOI partnered to design and build an innovative workplace that encourages shared learning, partnership, and exploration.

The Vision

Capital One purchased this historic building and quickly brought in the PSG Project Team who managed the modernization and renovations of their West Creek campus in Richmond. Based on the successful results managing construction at Capital One’s multi-building campus, Ted Tremain, now PSG Vice President – Richmond, and Angie Mellgren, PSG Senior Director, lead the project team. They managed the program design and integration process as well as construction management and occupancy readiness activities.

Beginning Space

Totally void of modern building systems past the 1st floor, the project scope included a complete renovation of the existing warehouse. This scope was comprised of 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.

Project Highlights

Each floor of 1717 Innovation Center 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.

The space was designed to pay honor to the history of the building and try to preserve as much of the original structure as possible. The columns and beams were power washed and left in place in their original state. The original wood floor, unable to be fully salvaged, was reused as wall cladding and installed in small areas on each floor and on the wall behind the bar at the Penthouse. The original fire doors and hardware at the stairwells were preserved and left in place as architectural features. The wooden slat cart and horse elevator enclosure was dismantled and also used throughout the space.

Outstanding Results

This urban and unique facility, which has received multiple awards for community impact, design excellence, and best adaptive reuse, opened in March of 2018. It 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 building was deliberately designed to create “collision points” – intersections in the building where startup founders are likely to meet and collaborate.

The first three floors of the building are dedicated office and coworking space for Startup Virginia. The fourth floor offers shared conference space for both SVA and Capital One. It also features a Capital One user experience testing lab, which has an additional welcome lounge adjacent to the elevator. Capital One will occupy the fifth and sixth floors. The building’s roof will be split between an open-air, outdoor patio area and an enclosed indoor multipurpose space.

Continuing the revitalization efforts in Richmond's downtown, the former tobacco warehouse features is a one-of-a-kind space that benefits not only the residents, but also the local community and non-profits.