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History of the University of Richmond Downtown


A seminary is established by Virginia Baptists from 1830 to 1832 and later becomes Richmond College for white men in 1840. The college is located in the former Haxall Mansion at the corner of Grace and Lombardy Streets downtown.


Richmond College moved to a new 350-acre campus at the end of the streetcar line where Westhampton College for women was established.


Demonstrating the University’s commitment to community engagement and the city whose name we share, the University of Richmond opened UR Downtown at 626 East Broad Street. UR Downtown started with 5,000 square feet on the first floor of the Edward Sinnott designed International Style building that housed Franklin Federal Savings and Loan from 1954 until the 1990s. UR was the first tenant in the renovated building located blocks from Richmond City Hall, Capitol Square, the Library of Virginia, the Federal Courthouse, and the Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts.


In 2012, the University added 7,741 square feet, including the entire lower level for programming and offices and the first-floor corner space to open Richmond on Broad Café in response to surveys about downtown dining options. UR also erected the UR Downtown blade sign, referencing the original architecture and Broad Street’s rich history, as it once served as a commercial thoroughfare for the city and housed local giants like Thalhimer’s and Miller & Rhoads.