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mikeas

494 St Paul Residential Development

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I don't understand why they don't go for a nice mixed use apartment tower, or perhaps a midrise mixed use development. Why are they so adamant about building this suburban crap downtown? It's infuriating. if you want to build cheap apartment complexes then stay at the beach.  :angry:

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The only thing that looks different to me is that you can see the brick more. Other than that, meh. It looks like the new buildings going up along Monticello.

 

Still not a fan of the open parking lot...I seriously hope they vote 'No' on this.

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Planning Commissioner here.  Most, if not all, of the Planning Commission is not in favor of this project in its current form.  Our objections are similar to what many on this forum have expressed, i.e. the suburban nature of the project.  

 

The power rests with City Council and this project is still alive and being pushed by the developer and some on City Council.  Please take some time to write emails to City Council members expressing your concerns.  Their email addresses are on the City's website at http://www.norfolk.gov/index.aspx?NID=533

 

Thanks!

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One of the senior partners at Nausbaum Realty addresses the criticisms of the 494 St. Paul Development in an op-ed in the Virginian Pilot.  I had no idea this development would be right next door to St. John's AME church the church I grew up in. 

 

http://hamptonroads.com/2015/02/objection-apartments-will-benefit-downtown

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Of course he is going to defend this crappy proposal. How hard is it for him to add office/retail space on the ground floor, wrap the units around a parking garage, and improve the overall appeal of this.

 

Isn't there enough "low income" housing surrounding downtown?  Not too sure how many "hard-working" individuals there are in public housing that his development is targeting. UGH

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Of course he is going to defend this crappy proposal. How hard is it for him to add office/retail space on the ground floor, wrap the units around a parking garage, and improve the overall appeal of this.

 

Isn't there enough "low income" housing surrounding downtown?  Not too sure how many "hard-working" individuals there are in public housing that his development is targeting. UGH

 

An interior parking garage is very expensive, and much more expensive than surface parking.  You will never see a low income development with a parking garage.

 

The greater issue (beyond zoning and architectural appeal) is decentralizing poverty, a key component of the SPQ vision.  How will this project help achieve that mission?  How will this project lead to a blended population on socioeconomic and racial lines?  How will this project give retailers confidence in the area?

Edited by mistermetaj

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Planning Commissioner here.  Most, if not all, of the Planning Commission is not in favor of this project in its current form.  Our objections are similar to what many on this forum have expressed, i.e. the suburban nature of the project.  

 

The power rests with City Council and this project is still alive and being pushed by the developer and some on City Council.  Please take some time to write emails to City Council members expressing your concerns.  Their email addresses are on the City's website at http://www.norfolk.gov/index.aspx?NID=533

 

Thanks!

 

Who on city council is pushing this project?

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One of the senior partners at Nausbaum Realty addresses the criticisms of the 494 St. Paul Development in an op-ed in the Virginian Pilot.  I had no idea this development would be right next door to St. John's AME church the church I grew up in. 

 

http://hamptonroads.com/2015/02/objection-apartments-will-benefit-downtown

 

Anything this partner says is smoke and mirrors.  He knows he is taking the city for a ride and already has some council members on board.  This article outlines all the legitimate criticisms, most of which he does not address in his op-ed piece.  Highlights below:

 

From last month's article : http://hamptonroads.com/2015/01/planned-st-pauls-development-norfolk-criticized

 

"Murphy and others cried foul Monday when they discovered that the city’s proposed contract for the sale and redevelopment of the property – which will be considered by the City Council at its meeting tonight – also allows the developer to circumvent key portions of the development process.

 

The contract says Nusbaum will be exempt from the city’s Architectural Review Board’s design review. Nusbaum representatives who had presented the plan to the board, most recently last week, heard an earful of criticism from members.

The contract also says the city must “cooperate” to rezone the land for commercial use by March 1, a process that had already begun and resulted in similar pushback from the city’s Planning Commission. The first week in March is Nusbaum’s deadline to apply for low-income tax credits for the project.

“The public is being put in a position where they don’t have a voice, as a result of this contract,” said Martin Thomas, a member of the Planning Commission and Architectural Review Board. “If this were a good project, it would be able to stand on its own merits and city staff wouldn’t have to slide things by like they are.”

 

And for a taste of the shadiness of the project and council:

 

The project went before the city’s Planning Commission on Dec. 11 with the city, not the developer, as the applicant.

The city asked for the commission’s approval without putting forth a site plan.

Planning commissioners didn’t bless the project, noting it was unusual to consider a rezoning request without an associated site plan.

Edited by mistermetaj

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Norfolk city council needs to be removed and put in citizens that actually care about expanding the city as the urban core of this region.....Norfolk is so far behind as other cities its size...Norfolk needs to diversify its economy and not put all of it on the military. I don't see Norfolk trying to get better jobs into the region...Norfolk has the potential to be a great city but the council shoots that in the foot with crappy leadership

Edited by Norva757

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Well, they did it. They snuck it through. Believe it or not, it sounds like the plan actually got worse. Front porches? Really. I gotta do some research on this but I no longer have any hope for that quadrant. What horrible decision making. 

http://hamptonroads.com/2015/09/norfolk-listened-its-residents-then-ignored-everything-they-said#_ga=1.61718181.829525846.1438141595

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http://www.norfolk.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/1739?fileID=2313

Well, the rendering on page 48 doesn't look terrible, and it looks like they hid the parking, so that's a plus. The image they provide for reference seems to be a DC Georgetown style. That said, we still have a huge problem. It is not mixed use and there are only 6 market rate units. So once again there is concentrated poverty, no retail, and the community is still disconnected from downtown.

Edited by vdogg

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Gotta start somewhere. ANYTHING is better than the current condition across St pauls IMO. Im shifting my hope for urban development to the FT Norfolk area and hopefully Harbor Park in the future. Reality is much different than the idealistic renderings and plans

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http://www.norfolk.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/1739?fileID=2313

Well, the rendering on page 48 doesn't look terrible, and it looks like they hid the parking, so that's a plus. The image they provide for reference seems to be a DC Georgetown style. That said, we still have a huge problem. It is not mixed use and there are only 6 market rate units. So once again there is concentrated poverty, no retail, and the community is still disconnected from downtown.

I don't know that the city was every going to solve the issue of concentrated poverty.  There isn't enough demand for living downtown for developers to take a risk on that area selling the space as mixed income.  Further, I don't really believe the city was ever going to move the Tidewater Gardens residents, despite the fact they are living in government housing. 

While I too don't love the idea of this development, if we HAD to have it, at least the left side of the development looks acceptable.  All the parking is hidden on that side.  If the actual building resembles the images they used to show what it'll look like, it won't be a blight to the city.  The right side of the development, which looks like it has the sales office and a pool is still pretty awful.  A pool surrounded by a sea of parking makes very little sense to me.

 

 

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There is demand to live downtown, just not there. The whole point of this exercise is to change that issue. Buddy can't stop building apartments, and major high rises are going up in Fort Norfolk. There is demand, it's just not evenly distributed. Part of the reason for this is that people view St. Paul's more as downtowns eastern border, rather than as an integrated part. Changing the type and style of development in that area will change this perception.

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I agree with everything you say.  However,  more than the current development,  I think it's the large super blocks that give the area a feel of being a border rather than an integral part of downtown.  The city needs to work ahead of developers and reestablish the street grid and fix the flooding. Make the area more urban and enticing for development and guarantee it's linkage back to downtown. 

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I don't know how much the plan has changed since 2012, but I definitely agree the grid needs to be redone and to treat this as a true extension of downtown, not just a compliment. It seems like the NEON (Arts) District is slowly being embraced as part of downtown now, and I think SPQ should be as well.

Furthermore, with an extension of downtown, I'd love to see height over there. A 20-story apartment/condo building could definitely help convince people to move back to that part of town. Also, some retail, as downtown proper is kinda landlocked...seems like the only two spots left are the old Farm Fresh and the open lot at MacArthur.

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I agree. For SPQ to be properly integrated into downtown both Freemason and Charlotte Streets need to extend into the district. There needs to be clean lines of connecting for pedestrians and traffic or St. Paul's Blvd. will become a barrier.

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