The City of Colonial Heights is located in central Virginia, approximately 20 miles south of Richmond, Virginia’s state capital, and 120 miles south of Washington, D.C.
Colonial Heights is considered part of the Richmond-Petersburg Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The city covers a land area of about 8 square miles. It is bounded on the north, west and east by Chesterfield County and on the south by the City of Petersburg. The Cities of Colonial Heights, Petersburg and Hopewell make up what is commonly referred to as the Tri-Cities area.
Proximity to Virginia’s state capital makes Richmond’s amenities a realistic option for Colonial Heights residents. In addition, Atlantic beaches lie less than two hours to the east and the famed Blue Ridge Mountains are about two hours to the west.
A relatively moderate climate prevails. The average temperature is 37.5 degrees in January and 78 degrees in July. The annual average for precipitation is approximately 40 inches.
The city has a population of 17,411 (as of 2010). The Richmond-Petersburg MSA has a population of approximately 1,194,008.
The City of Colonial Heights has a civilian labor force of 8,939 (as of October 2016) and an unemployment rate of 4.4% (as of October 2016). The surrounding labor pool consists of tens of thousands of workers representing the entire spectrum of occupational groups.Employment within the city is concentrated in government, manufacturing, and retail. Virginia is a strong right-to-work state.
Total taxable retail sales in 2009 were $8.5 million. The largest employers are as follows:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|2||Colonial Heights Public Schools||Government||500-999|
|3||City of Colonial Heights||Government||250-499|
|4||Colonial Heights Health Care & Rehabilitation Center||Health Care||100-249|
|5||Red Lobster & Olive Garden||Restaurant||100-249|
|6||J. C. Penney||Retail/Consumer Goods||100-249|
|7||Care Advantage||Health Care||100-249|
|8||Home Depot||Retail/Consumer Goods||100-249|
Local & Regional Economy
As part of the Richmond Tri-Cities MSA, Colonial Heights has access to the area's dynamic business complex. Richmond is the financial center of the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as a center for manufacturing, distribution and trade. State and federal offices are located in Richmond and the area houses numerous corporate headquarters.
In the immediate Tri-Cities area (Petersburg, Colonial Heights and Hopewell) government continues to be a major employer. Government facilities include Central State Hospital and Southside Virginia Training Center, Richard Bland College, the United States Army Quartermaster Center, and Fort Lee.
Fort Lee provides more than $225 million of combined military and civilian annual payroll to the local economy through its Troop Agency, Army Logistics Center and Quartermaster School. The City of Colonial Heights is ideally situated to benefit from the additional consumer and construction spending power generated by the recent expansion of Fort Lee under the recommendations of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission ("BRAC"). Fort Lee has become the logistical hub of the U.S. Army. The economic impact of the newly arriving soldiers and civilian employees is estimated to be approximately $500 million in new income annually for regional businesses.
Colonial Heights also has strong manufacturing, trade and service sectors. The city is the site of a regional shopping mall, Southpark, which opened in the spring of 1989, with 715,000 square feet of enclosed retail space. Additional periphery development has added more than 1,500,000 square feet to the Southpark area. Total taxable retail sales in 2009 were $8.5 million.
At the eastern end of the Colonial Heights, Southpark Mall sports four anchor stores and an array of popular retail shops and eateries. A state-of the-art, 16-screen theater was added in 2007. Over 300,000 square feet of peripheral shops and restaurants are also located at Southpark Crossing and Park South. More than 180 stores are located conveniently off I-95 at the intersection of Temple Avenue and Conduit Road.
Numerous department stores, specialty shops, full-service and fast-food restaurants, professional offices, banks, hotels, fitness centers and home improvement stores lie adjacent to the Southpark area.
The city’s original retail sector, the Boulevard Business District, has also benefited from the increased exposure of the city’s regional emphasis. The Boulevard Revitalization initiative has spurred an explosion of commercial development including new construction and renovation of older properties. This main thoroughfare, in the heart of the city, continues to provide goods and services for every need.
Colonial Square, located on the Boulevard between Lakeview and Ellerslie Avenue, is a lively retail center. Retailers include grocery, pharmacy, banking, apparel, restaurants and other specialty stores.
“The Shoppes at Pickwick” is the oldest shopping center in Colonial Heights. Located in this center are more than 40 small shops and services. The shopping center is located towards the southern end of the Boulevard at the corner of Pickwick Avenue.
 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Civilian Labor Force in Colonial Heights City, VA [VACOLO0LFN], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/VACOLO0LFN, January 18, 2017.
 Community Profile Colonial Heights city. (2017). Virginia Employment Commission, 1-45. doi:http://virginialmi.com/report_center/community_profiles/5104000570.pdf Virginia Employment Commission, Economic Information & Analytics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics. January 18, 2017.