Economic Development 2023: LEONARD SLEDGE
DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, RICHMOND
Since 2019, Sledge has guided numerous economic development proposals in Richmond, culminating in the $2.4 billion Diamond District redevelopment project, approved by City Council this year. The site will feature a new baseball stadium for the Richmond Flying Squirrels Double-A baseball team, an 11-acre green space and mixed-income housing.
Sledge was also instrumental in getting approval for Charlottesville-based Red Light Ventures’ $30 million Richmond Amphitheater project, a 7,500-person entertainment venue overlooking the James River that’s expected to open in spring 2025. Meanwhile Virginia NPR and PBS affiliate VPM will be building a new, five-story headquarters in Richmond, relocating from Chesterfield County after 60 years.
When not busy ushering in new development, Sledge serves as vice chair on the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Advisory Committee on Business Development and Marketing. He also is on the board of the Virginia Economic Developers Association. A graduate of Morehouse College and Georgia Tech, Sledge learned about economic development while working in workforce development for the Virginia Community College System.