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Norfolk History


wrldcoupe4

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You're right.  This is really weird, but when I was visting a couple weeks ago, my sister decided she wanted to get out of MacArthur and go into the sweltering heat.  So I thought, might as well visit the trader site.  Walking back from there, passing the Federal Building, I noticed a history marker on the City Hall Ave side of the building.  It said the Federal Building now stands on the site of the old Monticello Hotel.  The Monticello was the first of Downtown Norfolk's old buildings to be torn down to make way for modern offices.  The Federal Building ushered in the first wave of new structures in downtown starting in the early 70's.

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I remember the Monticello Hotel pretty well. Back in the '60s, there was another proposal to build a 20 story Hilton downtown. the owners of the Monticello Hotel responded with a proposal for a 21 story addition that would have risen in back of the main structure. Neither project materialized, and neither did an 18 story "boatel" project that would have sat at the foot of the "Banana Pier," where Nauticus now resides. The first visible sign of redevelopment was the new jail, which may have opened in about 1958. People liked to joke about Norfolk's beautiful new hotel (the jail), then the Golden Triangle hotel opened in the early 60's. The Rennert building (17 storeys) was completed in '59. As a boy, I liked to ride the elevators in that one. MacArthur Mall now sits there. From there, redevelopment turned to the Main Street area, where Plaza One, with its vertical louvres and its pagoda-like elevator housing was built. The new City Hall and Kirn Library made an impression in the early 60s. Then the Virginia National Bank building was finished in '66 or so. That one was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Not quite uip there with Burj Dubai, but great for Norfolk!

Edited by vdogg
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yeah if you have a chance to see some historical pictures of Norfolk make sure you have a tissue box with you because you will cry over everything that was lost and never happened. Good to see all this making a nice comeback for the city though.

One question, not sure I have ever heard an answer on it. I know the Ikon building is coming down, not that big of a deal, but what will happen to the buildings that line Granby right behind the Ikon building? And can anyone take some pictures of them? They are some of the best urban buildings in downtown.

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yeah if you have a chance to see some historical pictures of Norfolk make sure you have a tissue box with you because you will cry over everything that was lost and never happened.  Good to see all this making a nice comeback for the city though.

One question, not sure I have ever heard an answer on it.  I know the Ikon building is coming down, not that big of a deal, but what will happen to the buildings that line Granby right behind the Ikon building?  And can anyone take some pictures of them?  They are some of the best urban buildings in downtown.

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If I get to Norfolk soon I can try and take a few pics for you.

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Did anyone else notice that the rounded corner portion of the Monticello Hotel has only 5 floors whilst the other two "towers" have six? There were probably high-ceiling-ed penthouses in the rounded tower because the addition further up Granby has 6 floors.

It was a nice old hotel. I stayed there once. :)

Edited by burt
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  • 2 weeks later...

The Tazewell Hotel is the former Hotel Thomas Nelson (built as the Hotel Lorraine). The Southland was later the Hotel Commodore Maury, later still the Madison. As the Madison, it has been under lackluster management at the hands of Ramada and Clarion. The building deserves better.

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The Tazewell Hotel is the former Hotel Thomas Nelson (built as the Hotel Lorraine).  The Southland was later the Hotel Commodore Maury, later still the Madison.  As the Madison, it has been under lackluster management at the hands of Ramada and Clarion.  The building deserves better.

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I thought the Madison (formerly Commodore Maury) was mid-block and not on a corner. Wish someone had a map of Granby street pinpointing these old hotels!

When the Maury was renamed The Madison it was an up-grade attempt, and for at least a while was considered quite stylish. :)

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I'm finding this a little hard to believe. He's spend millions of his own money and they've hired out-of-state people to promote it, just to name a few. If he wasn't interested in it, he'd give the GSA the land.

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Me too. It's a wonderful project. I love it, and the market should remain pretty strong for that building for a long while. Overall, however, the market is a little jittery already. There has to be a limit to the demand for condos at some point. We might see some shift to office development over the next few years.

Another subject (maybe a different thread); how do you all feel about a reuse strategy for Scope? Assume strong opposition to it's demolition, a new and adequately large facility is built elsewhere (say near Harbor Park). I can't come up with much except for perhaps a convention center, general indoor sports practice facility, things like that. The acoustics are just awful.

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It just seems strange that Buddy would spend so much time and effort and not build the tower. And now he has the sales office there and a website being developed. And the website itself is quite sophiscated and they say the sales office will be too with touch screens and such. This just does not add up in my mind.

As far as the Scope I do wish they could/would build another center with start of the art sound system and one that would be larger to accomodate more people. With Norfolk growing with all of construction going on it should be able to even draw more people. As regards to the current Scope, well I am not so sure what they should do. Only if the city couldn't find another place to build another center would I even consider tear it down. But land in Norfolk (esp large tracts of land) and becoming more difficult to find. And if they do keep the Scope I am not sure what they could do with it. I really have not placed that much thought to that.

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I regret having placed mere speculation on someone's part in this forum.  My source was someone who knows Mr. Gadams on a personal basis, and is, as far as I know, on good terms with him.  This speculation may have been fueled by the aforementioned report, but it has nothing to do with a competing developer.  I firmly believe that the project would be the best thing possible for downtown Norfolk.  With reference to Scope, I definitely hope they wouldn't discard it.  It has a certain George and Jane Jetson charm....

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I personally think that scope should be junked and move on. Its taking valuable land away!

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Im down with that!  That thing is nasty, old and way outdated.

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Then you deserve the 18,000 seat on the cheap architectural drivel that Randy Wright will get you. :lol:

Seriously though, Scope really is dingy and obsolete, it's just that the beauty and power of those flying buttresses can't be denied. I would bet the farm that it will be preserved for some yet unknown purpose. When I first showed it to my daughter we called it "the jellyfish that ate Norfolk" but it's greatness has grown on me.

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Norfolk's land use plan calls for a new arena either at a city owned site between MacArthur and Scope or on the Elizabeth west of Harbor Park. tombarnes, is the latter site the one you're saying Gadams may try to get? It is also slated for residential development if the MacArthur site is chosen for a new arena. The MacArthur site is slated for mixed-use if the waterfront site is chosen.

Padman, the Scope-Chrysler Hall complex doesn't fit in with the rest of downtown. It is stand-offish. But I do agree on your take of its architecture. The buttresses were the only way that the roof could be supported without comprosing seating and sight lines inside. I'm trying to figure out if Chrsyler Hall has any architectural value. Once Norfolk builds a new arena, convert Scope into a 3,000-seat concert hall and demolish Chrysler Hall. The former site could be redeveloped and would include a larger garage.

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Norfolk's land use plan calls for a new arena either at a city owned site between MacArthur and Scope or on the Elizabeth west of Harbor Park. tombarnes, is the latter site the one you're saying Gadams may try to get?  It is also slated for residential development if the MacArthur site is chosen for a new arena.  The MacArthur site is slated for mixed-use if the waterfront site is chosen.

Padman, the Scope-Chrysler Hall complex doesn't fit in with the rest of downtown.  It is stand-offish.  But I do agree on your take of its architecture.  The buttresses were the only way that the roof could be supported without comprosing seating and sight lines inside.  I'm trying to figure out if Chrsyler Hall has any architectural value.  Once Norfolk builds a new arena, convert Scope into a 3,000-seat concert hall and demolish Chrysler Hall.  The former site could be redeveloped and would include a larger garage.

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Oh wow, I never thought of converting Scope into the new Chrysler Hall. It would make for more seats and a better venue! good idea!

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Oh wow, I never thought of converting Scope into the new Chrysler Hall. It would make for more seats and a better venue! good idea!

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Scope is having alot of structural problems right now and is going to cost alot of money to fix it. My dad worked on Scope when it was constructed.

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