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Everything posted by JPN0731

  1. Death knell for the MacArthur Center. Any major retail center that starts housing city offices is dead. RIP.
  2. I am a little late to the party but I am very happy to see that Stuart is being turned into apartments and not getting turned into a parking lot or left sitting abandoned. When I worked with NPS, I used to love that old building. It is really amazing and has an inner courtyard. As for the basketball courts, it is kind of a shame that the city can't or has not yet thought of ways to accommodated it. There is a weird strip of land called the "Colonial Place Playground" that is basically an empty stretch of grass at Llewellyn and Delaware that could easily accommodate a new basketball court. But I am sure that there would be inevitable drama because it is close to the dog park and so you would have complaints about parking and every other blah blah blah complaint people can come up with (like when the good folks in Ghent squashed the grassy strip on Princess Anne from being used as a soccer pitch) to fight it.
  3. Oops I posted in retail section too but here in DC there is something called DC USA that is a big box mall of sorts that has a two story Target, Marshalls, Best Buy etc. I think honestly downtown and the west side of Norfolk have close to zero big name retail. Military Highway is the closest but think of the surrounding area and also Ghent, Larchmont, Park Place, Wards Corner and ODU that have no Target/Walmart type retail to speak of. As for Military, I would bypass that when I lived there because it is just awful. The pay for parking could be brought down, especially after 6 pm. I dunno, I could see a Marshall's on the first floor and a two story Target on floors 2-3. Macy's is kind of past it but if Dillard's bails out maybe they can come into that spot, who knows. I definitely think high end retail is kind of ebbing, especially in markets like Norfolk so they would be better off making it a city big box place and focus on maybe brining in a few unique retailers that are cheap (Uinqlo and Zara) and yes get rid of kiddie land on the side of the mall that has great views and get some restaurants over there.
  4. So I moved away but still read these forums from time to time. In DC there is something called DC USA. It's got a bunch of big box stuff in an urban footprint. I wish MacArthur would get its act together and go that route at this point. DC USA has a Marshall's, Target, Best Buy, Staples and some other stuff under its roof. I could see a two story Target taking up floors 2-3 with like Marshall's on the ground floor. Give them some discounted rent. The Target on Military Highway is pretty awful. I used to drive past it to go to Pembroke. Not sure of the powers that be read this or care. I hate to see such an icon of Norfolk go down the tubes.
  5. The rendering looks pretty bad but I'm sure it's preliminary. To be honest, it looks better than the buildings at the VB TC and would fit right in there.
  6. There are a few Targets up here in the DC area that are multi-story in mixed use settings. I think a two story Target and maybe chop up the third floor into something else (destination restaurant) might work. MacArthur was an innovation for Norfolk at the time but now it is like the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand. As is the case with lots of retail, the owners want to hold out for top dollar instead of filling space with different retailers. The west side of Norfolk has almost no retail like Target or Walmart or anything. The current Norfolk Target is... well it's just kind of ick. When I lived there, I would pass it by to go to the Pembroke one.
  7. I hate to be like the people in the Pilotonline comments section but for crying out loud, enough is enough. Light rail has been a colossal failure here. Now there is some hair-brained scheme to run a light rail up Miliatary Highway to the airport and then to the "BASE" and this is going to magically solve traffic woes and make enlisted people want to ride transit that will take longer than driving and cost more. Yeah, not gonna happen. I ride The Tide quite often actually. I take it to Newtown Road to meet my husband after work regularly and it's a nice, easy, smooth ride. Never crowded because even at rush hour, there are not that many people on it. If it went to Town Center, that would be even better. I ride my bike a lot and then use The Tide to get me back sometimes. Out of all the left wing, liberal west siders that I have as friends I am one of the only if not the only one who rides it this much. But it is a waste and it is not efficiently tied into the bus system. I honestly feel this is because HRT wants a clean delineation between bus riders and light rail riders and does not appreciate the "bus crowd" who tend to be poorer on The Tide. I actually met a friend of a friend who works at HRT and was asking why on earth they would put the bus transfer center over by the projects and not Harbor Park where it would tie into light rail and she was incredulous saying "we have a bigger consumer base there!" Yeah until Norfolk bulldozes all the projects down. Watch for that bus transit center to vanish once pricey condos go up. Norfolk's leadership is myopic and sad but no more so than when it comes to public transit. Hampton Roads is a unique area because of the huge number of enlisted military folks we have here. I am a vet myself so I am not slamming military. But this area is made up of people who are from tiny crappy towns or slums of cities across the US who could not get out fast enough and the only ticket out was to join up. Myself and a good number of my military buddies included. So these are people who don't have the same value set as urban elites and don't make tons of money. When time is tight, who wants to drive to Newtown Rd where there is NOTHING and then park and then have to ride to a base and then get off a train and ride a bus or shuttle to somewhere else. When you have a life and kids and a job and have to be to work at 6:30 am. People going to the base won't even pay the express lane tolls of like $1 but they are going to go and sit on the light rail for twice that much and it will take twice as long? Again... yeah, not gonna happen. Then you have Highway which is like driving in a war zone. Like literally wtf is going on and when is that going to be done? So now they want to send a light rail up there? I lived through the construction in Freemason and it was a disaster. I do not understand how Norfolk is not bankrupt. If they are not giving their Buddys 15 year tax abatements on brand new, shoddily done buildings or giving land to fast food places they want to throw more money in the burn barrel to fund another light rail track that goes nowhere? Norfolk has seriously pressing issues that should be addressed. Instead of light rail, why not consider these options: Revamping the transit system in place to better reflect the needs of the current riders? Maybe express bus lines and lanes that better connect to light rail? Get smaller buses as in the buses that seat 15 people or so. The kind that are based on something like a Ford Transit (see what I did there?) These use less gas and are much cheaper. They can be used on off-peak times or for less busy routes. Synchronization of the traffic lights to get better traffic flows. Maybe putting lights to flashing red/yellow after 9 pm? Forget about "THE BASE" because it is a mini city in itself that will need extensive shuttles, etc. If the military is so worried about traffic to and from the base they would be more involved. Think to the future. ODU students don't need light rail because they just use lyft and uber anyway. I know because I drive part time for both. There is a free shuttle that ODU students can use and it is EMPTY because people go where they want when they want. Maybe Norfolk would better help its citizens by giving uber/lyft vouchers to get people to jobs because the bus certainly is not the way to do it. If it were somehow possible, ditch The Tide all together. It is never going to catch on. And this is coming from someone who rides it regularly.
  8. Wow why so cynical? I get that there was supposed to be a 3rd anchor but retail has changed dramatically since the mall was built. MacArthur Center has lots of vacant space and will probably lose an anchor when Nordstrom bails out after its 20 obligation is done. I think the mall's owners are showing insight and building something there that can generate foot traffic rather than an open plot.
  9. So after the grand tour of the new Lidl in VB, I have to say it was kind of... disappointing. Here are my takeaways: Lidl is suggesting it is somewhere between Trader Joe's and Harris Teeter. I'd say this is definitely not the case. Although it is much bigger than a TJ or Aldi, most of what it has is really just too "American". It feels more like a cross between the IKEA cafeteria and a Walmart NM. TJ especially and even Aldi have quirky stuff that is fun to try. Here everything just seemed like the off brand of every boring thing you can already buy everywhere else. EXCEPT that the wine section was huge and... did not seem to have the best prices so there's that. And I guess what I like about Aldi is the selection is basic. TJ has a lot more stuff but the store is still small. Lidl is not big but is not an easy in and out place. It's a weird size that feels too small and too big for what its trying to accomplish if that makes any sense. I'll probably bypass it for the Hilltop which will have an Aldi, TJ, WF and Target all close to each other. Even a Kroger (although the only thing I ever get at that one is gas) and Walmart too. I think the biggest competitors will be Food Lion, Walmart NM and maybe Farm Fresh. I don't see it as huge competition for TJ or WF though. Not really even Aldi.
  10. A quick question about the state of grocery retail in VB and HR in general. Aldi recently opened one store and has 3-4 more in the works. Each time I have been, it has been fairly crowded. Lidl is humming right along with its Norfolk and Hampton locations (have not been past the Indian River Rd/Providence site lately); they are rumored to open in the summer Wegmans is coming soonish to Town Center Publix is rumored to be coming soon (Publix in VB?) With so many new grocers opening and some fairly new concepts to HR that have opened recently (Kroger Marketplace, Walmart Neighborhood Grocery- yes I know there has been one in Norfolk for many years but the vast majority have opened in the past 2) does anyone know the state of the grocery retail market? I wonder how much pain this is causing some of the more traditional and established players (Food Lion and Farm Fresh to be precise). I have never been a fan of Farm Fresh and would actually not shed one tear to see it be taken over by Publix or some other brand. Its parent company is in bad shape. Food Lion is pretty sad as well but now that they have merged with Giant, I think they are safe for now. I just don't understand how all these new places can open and the ones that are here can survive. Harris Teeter still seems to be thriving in the almost luxury grocer niche. Anyone have any inside scoops?
  11. A couple things to understand about this area. In the 1950's people began moving en masse from Norfolk to Princess Anne County. For various reasons but a biggie was to avoid desegregation. PAC was worried because Norfolk City began gobbling up its areas on the border (e.g. the areas close to Newtown Road) so they merged with the small city of Virginia Beach (what we now call "The Oceanfront") and thus stopped the spread of Norfolk. Added into this mix is a large number of military people. This area has a lot of people from all over the nation but large numbers of them were from small conservative towns and these people bring their views with them. So Norfolk is a "big scary city" and they avoid it like the plague. My spouse's family went to Norfolk maybe once or twice a year as a family. So the bottom line is that they don't want Norfolk coming to them. They don't want to be urban. They are not urban at heart. Many are from small towns or the children of people from small towns. They see light rail as bringing in the "Norfolk element" (I will leave that up to your interpretation as to what their coded words actually mean) and costing too much money. And although Trump won VB, it was by a smaller margin than the light rail lost so it's not 100% a democrat vs. republican thing. Had the city council not dragged its heels for the past 4 years after voters approved it, we would be in a different place. Maybe Norfolk can get some other city on board like Chesapeake but I doubt it will expand anytime in the near future.
  12. That's too bad. I was hoping to open this and see some progress being made. Looks like it may be the end of the line for that old building.
  13. I don't quite get how a monorail would work from Newtown Road to Town Center or better yet, why? Most monorail systems I have been on were either looped tracks or a very short distance like Disney World or an airport. The problem is that Norfolk took a big (and arguably stupid) gamble with LR. It built it on the assumption that VB would jump on board once it was up and running. That has not happened. I live near a LR station and have used it often. It is good for extending bike runs and for avoiding traffic when I want to meet my husband after work. But honestly, it is almost always empty, it goes nowhere that I would be interested in stopping that I cannot walk/bike to, it took large amounts of funding away from the already cash deprived transit system and lastly, where is the TOD? Newtown Road area around the station is still underdeveloped and even Ruby Tuesday's can't stay in business over there. I like LR, I am one of the very few people I know who use it and I would really like it if it went to Town Center BUT if it gets voted down by VB city council, I wonder if Norfolk might want to consider an exit strategy or if it is even possible.
  14. Meh. The food on the website does not even look good. The menu is way too many pages and way too many different cuisines. Unique as in "slightly lower budget Cheesecake Factory? I do hope this is not what boabas is referring to below, especially since I don't think this is the most requested place in our area.
  15. Well that is good to hear. I see on their website that they are doing a hard push to expand in Southern CA as well so I was thinking that would put the quash on us getting one. The food is very good and the prices are aligned with Chiptloe. If you haven't been, check it out!
  16. Ah... maybe Shake Shack or something along those lines? Personally, there are a lot of fast-casual chains in DC that would work well here. Cava Grill, Nando's and La Madeleine to name my top three wish list (being as we are getting Bonchon in Norfolk).
  17. So I was in the MacArthur Center not too long ago and saw the Lidl ads that are hanging up. And there was the inevitable write up in the pilot: http://pilotonline.com/business/consumer/german-grocer-lidl-picks-military-highway-site-in-norfolk/article_3a4da689-357b-5ad4-b33f-1d2028ee5a3f.html As usual, there is a description of the plans bit no link to them. This is public info, right? Anyway I have been to Lidl in Europe and in general they are pretty awful stores. However, they are also stepping up their game and improving. If they look more like these pics: http://www.retail-week.com/sectors/grocery/lidl-unveils-store-of-the-future-amid-15bn-property-investment/7002025.fullarticle than the grocery equivalent of Olli's or this: https://www.kamppi.fi/en/retailer/lidl , they may have a better shot in the US. I think if they go full Dollar Tree with their stores, they will bomb. Now I know that VB is supposed to be getting at least two Aldi stores (Kempsville and somewhere down near the south of Oceana). The article says two in Chesapeake. Any in Norfolk? The Portsmouth one is OK- I have shopped there a few times and was surprised at the quality levels. Anyone know the scoop?
  18. Yes, you're right- all I wanted to know was what "Recreation Island" was. Thanks.
  19. Not to the SE across 64. North West (upper left) from the wooded lot.
  20. Off topic but when looking at the area where IKEA will be built, what is just north west of that parcel? There is a building with tennis and basketball courts and maybe a bridge leading to it but the bridge does not appear as a road on google maps? Is it a peninsula or is it connected to the golf course some way? Creepy?
  21. http://pilotonline.com/business/consumer/po-ng-talk-of-a-hampton-roads-ikea-heats-up/article_f2a9952a-95e7-5400-8dde-fa2ed5ecd8ba.html So Norfolk gets an IKEA? I read and re-read this article and the parcel of land they are referring to is the one right next to 64 by the old USAA HQ. There is already a signal and road there. I am sure VB is going to be PISSSSSSED about this.
  22. The article is a bit confusing. Would this be in Norfolk or in VB on the land that Norfolk owns? Ahhh just re-read and looked at the map. WEST of 64 meaning this would be in Norfolk right by USAA's old HQ where there is a big driveway to nowhere. This def needs to be posted in the Norfolk page if that is the case. Also I think that parcel next to the outlet mall may end up being a Wegman's? So much excitement for that part of Norfolk-VB. If only the two would work together.
  23. I'd like to see more unique and new to this area stuff. Northern VA has quite a few fast-casual dining places that are pretty good that I am sure would fare well here. Also and IKEA, even a smallish one (they exist) would probably do well enough here and would be better than a Wegman's. Overall, who knows I guess. The market drives the line up and our market is not as high income as nova.
  24. When there were some initial renderings of the VB part of the project a few years back, it looked like a Wegman's. And it may still be being as they are not referring to it as "unique to the area" now. An outlet mall and a Wegman's is a big yawn in my book though. I work in nova over the summer and Wegman's is the closest store to where I live but I am not sold on it. It's great but very expensive and overwhelming for my tastes.
  25. Walked through MacArthur Center tonight. Seems like a lot of places are closed now. The au bon pain is closed. Lots of other empty store fronts. Oh well, maybe the "A Dollar" store will be back soon.
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