[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints filed preliminary plans in Henrico County, Virginia for the Richmond Virginia Temple. That’s according to J. Elias O’Neal of Richmond BizSense. (Let’s pause for a brief moment and recognize that “J. Elias O’Neal” sounds like a comic book newspaper editor.)
Although there are no renderings or specifics about the temple, we know that it will be a two-story, 36,200-square-foot structure and be built adjacent to a new 16,2000-square-foot meeting house. The site will be built on 11 acres of cleared woods. O’Neal describes the “temple complex” as 52,000 square feet, but that’s clearly just the square footage of the two buildings, to say nothing of grounds, parking, etc.
The temple will be located at 10915 Staples Mill Road, at the corner of Staples Mill Road and Mountain Road in the unincorporated area of Glen Allen, Virginia, northwest of Richmond. (Fun Virginia trivia: Municipalities in the state are either counties or cities, with a few scattered towns, but cities are completely independent of counties and have equal authority to them. So Richmond is an actual independent city, surrounded by, but not part of, Henrico County.)
The plans do include a statue of the angel Moroni, who will stand over 150 feet in the air.
36,000 square feet is pretty middle of the pack as far as temple sizes go. Similarly sized temples include the Brigham City Utah Temple, Boise Idaho Temple, or the Tucson Arizona Temple. For additional reference, the just-dedicated Rome Italy Temple is 41,000 square feet.
O’Neal’s reporting states that the Church quietly started assembling parcels of land on the site in 2017 for about $2.3 million. The temple was announced in the April 2018 General Conference.
Glen Allen is an economically advantaged bedroom community northwest of Richmond proper. Locating a temple there puts it on the opposite side of the Richmond metropolitan area that is most convenient from the Hampton Roads area, where the Church has three stakes. Nevertheless, the location near Interstate 64 and Interstate 95 will be much more convenient for saints in Charlottesville, students at Southern Virginia University in Buena Vista (pronounced BYOO-nah, for some reason), and stakes on the southern fringe of the Washington, DC metropolitan area, such as the two in Fredericksburg.
No groundbreaking date or additional details are available at this time. Plans will now need to be approved by the relevant offices. No new zoning is required.
Once construction commences, a temple typically takes about three years to be dedicated.
Full disclosure: The author lives on the Virginia side of the Washington, DC area and desperately wishes this temple would have been built before the DC temple went down for two years for renovations, requiring lengthy trips to Philadelphia to take part in temple work.