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When, if ever, does anyone think that TC is going to expand out of its little corner of Independence and VB Blvd? TC is a great start at getting some sort of cogent central business district in the sea of strip malls and cul de sacs, but until it can cross one of the main roads, it'll continue to have an inorganic 'Disney World' aspect to it.

Personally, I think it's going to be a while. Right now land prices in the city are just too low to justify a lot of high density high rises, what with the increased construction costs.  That being said, a lot of the businesses and younger singles/couples that are living in the area want a more urban experience. Types who want to be able to get a bag of groceries, to meet their friends at a local corner bar, get work done at a coffee shop, and go for a jog without having to get in the car and deal with traffic. I look at a lot of the junior officers I work with that are stationed in the area that work at one of the Virginia Beach bases that want to live somewhere other than a garden apartment next to a strip mall, but don't want the hassle of commuting from Norfolk. Town Center is perfect for those types, and if marketed and priced properly they are a source of permanent income for apartment buildings. If they could snag a couple of corporate relocations, that certainly would help too.

 

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12 hours ago, Nathan_in_DC said:

When, if ever, does anyone think that TC is going to expand out of its little corner of Independence and VB Blvd? TC is a great start at getting some sort of cogent central business district in the sea of strip malls and cul de sacs, but until it can cross one of the main roads, it'll continue to have an inorganic 'Disney World' aspect to it.

Personally, I think it's going to be a while. Right now land prices in the city are just too low to justify a lot of high density high rises, what with the increased construction costs.  That being said, a lot of the businesses and younger singles/couples that are living in the area want a more urban experience. Types who want to be able to get a bag of groceries, to meet their friends at a local corner bar, get work done at a coffee shop, and go for a jog without having to get in the car and deal with traffic. I look at a lot of the junior officers I work with that are stationed in the area that work at one of the Virginia Beach bases that want to live somewhere other than a garden apartment next to a strip mall, but don't want the hassle of commuting from Norfolk. Town Center is perfect for those types, and if marketed and priced properly they are a source of permanent income for apartment buildings. If they could snag a couple of corporate relocations, that certainly would help too.

 

I think that all depends on a lot of factors. Has anything happened yet with the old HQ site to the west? Even with a more suburban style strip mall plan that I remember hearing about, if that hasn't broken ground yet, there is always a possibility for something more urban....of course lets be honest, even if it were built to be an suburban strip mall, it would still be easy to bulldoze it for an urban development if the money is there. I have seen that happen in downtown Bellevue where they are rapidly urbanizing their suburban downtown.

Then there is the mall and all of its land. How is the mall doing? Is it keeping stores within it? The US is going through a major shift on how we consume and a number of malls are going to fail in the process. Of course it also depends on who owns the mall, currently I believe it is just a typical suburban mall type owner, so that will stay that way until it completely fails or the demand for more urban developments comes up and buys the mall site.

My bet is it is going to be one of those two sites that it will happen with. Though there is also the Pembroke Office Park that is across the street, which was originally meant to be the downtown of VB. I remember hearing about plans to redevelop that site around the office buildings to something more urban and less office park feeling. 

So there is definitely potential to still happen, though with VB making a bad choice to back out of light rail, that will put a big damper on any future development because turning away an investment like that turns away a lot of business that gravitates to that sort of thing. For Downtown VB to thrive, they are gonna need to go after big businesses that want to invest in putting down roots there, which will also bring with it the demand for more urban housing to create that more walkable pedestrian friendly environment, even with the big avenues cutting through it, this can still be achieved. Once that all happens, that is usually where the next wave of development happens in the hotel expansion form. Of course I can't tell you when all of this will happen, it could happen in the next 10 years, I have seen a huge areas in Portland and Seattle get completely redeveloped within 10 years, but it could also take until we are all old and grey with lots of false starts like we have seen in the past. This should have technically all happened in the 70s and 80s after VB became a city in '63 because that is when they should have been establishing an area to be its downtown.

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Not to shoot down both of your locations but buildings are going up at the old HQ site and the mall is reinventing itself as of last year opening an REI, Fresh Market (Organicy Grocery store) and, Nordstrom Rack, DSW shoes.  This year they opened a J. Crew Mercantile, and are creating a new entrance for a relocated Coase Edge as well as a recent announcement for a new unnamed dept store.  The plans for the Uptown Alley have stalled.

   Though, they could always use the underutilized parking lot for developement and the soon-to-close K-Mart  across the street is eyeing redevelopment.  There are also pipe-dream renderings of a redesigned Pembroke Office Park on this forum too.

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On 6/22/2017 at 0:59 PM, Nathan_in_DC said:

When, if ever, does anyone think that TC is going to expand out of its little corner of Independence and VB Blvd? TC is a great start at getting some sort of cogent central business district in the sea of strip malls and cul de sacs, but until it can cross one of the main roads, it'll continue to have an inorganic 'Disney World' aspect to it.

Personally, I think it's going to be a while. Right now land prices in the city are just too low to justify a lot of high density high rises, what with the increased construction costs.  That being said, a lot of the businesses and younger singles/couples that are living in the area want a more urban experience. Types who want to be able to get a bag of groceries, to meet their friends at a local corner bar, get work done at a coffee shop, and go for a jog without having to get in the car and deal with traffic. I look at a lot of the junior officers I work with that are stationed in the area that work at one of the Virginia Beach bases that want to live somewhere other than a garden apartment next to a strip mall, but don't want the hassle of commuting from Norfolk. Town Center is perfect for those types, and if marketed and priced properly they are a source of permanent income for apartment buildings. If they could snag a couple of corporate relocations, that certainly would help too.

 

 

22 hours ago, urbanlife said:

I think that all depends on a lot of factors. Has anything happened yet with the old HQ site to the west? Even with a more suburban style strip mall plan that I remember hearing about, if that hasn't broken ground yet, there is always a possibility for something more urban....of course lets be honest, even if it were built to be an suburban strip mall, it would still be easy to bulldoze it for an urban development if the money is there. I have seen that happen in downtown Bellevue where they are rapidly urbanizing their suburban downtown.

Then there is the mall and all of its land. How is the mall doing? Is it keeping stores within it? The US is going through a major shift on how we consume and a number of malls are going to fail in the process. Of course it also depends on who owns the mall, currently I believe it is just a typical suburban mall type owner, so that will stay that way until it completely fails or the demand for more urban developments comes up and buys the mall site.

My bet is it is going to be one of those two sites that it will happen with. Though there is also the Pembroke Office Park that is across the street, which was originally meant to be the downtown of VB. I remember hearing about plans to redevelop that site around the office buildings to something more urban and less office park feeling. 

So there is definitely potential to still happen, though with VB making a bad choice to back out of light rail, that will put a big damper on any future development because turning away an investment like that turns away a lot of business that gravitates to that sort of thing. For Downtown VB to thrive, they are gonna need to go after big businesses that want to invest in putting down roots there, which will also bring with it the demand for more urban housing to create that more walkable pedestrian friendly environment, even with the big avenues cutting through it, this can still be achieved. Once that all happens, that is usually where the next wave of development happens in the hotel expansion form. Of course I can't tell you when all of this will happen, it could happen in the next 10 years, I have seen a huge areas in Portland and Seattle get completely redeveloped within 10 years, but it could also take until we are all old and grey with lots of false starts like we have seen in the past. This should have technically all happened in the 70s and 80s after VB became a city in '63 because that is when they should have been establishing an area to be its downtown.

Dense, vertical-oriented development was, indeed, supposed to happen across Independence Boulevard, to the West of Town Center. The Sandler brothers purchased the property  known as the "old HQ" prior to the recession when they were flush with cash. The Sandlers had just donated some $7 million to build the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts @Town Center, and they were considered one of the largest developers of residential communities in the Southeast. They were also completely on board with the City's vision for an urban core--the central business district--and the future expansion thereof.

Then came the recession. 

With the financial and housing crisis directly upon them, the  Sandler's real estate empire crumbled.  Sadly, they were forced to dump the "old HQ" property for far less than they had paid for it several years earlier.

Enter Mr. Sifen. He was there at the right time with cash in-hand.  Cash was King, and he got the property at a massive discount.   In case you don't know, Mr. Sifen is a developer of strip malls. He seems to have little to no interest in building anything else. And with the discount, he didn't really "need" to develop the property to its highest and best use. 

So now we've ended up with the vaunted Wegmans grocery store as main anchor to the property.  Additionally, there will be some retail in the form of a junior anchor or two, plus smaller tenants and a couple of smaller restaurants/cafes.  The layout is more of a cluster/village style. Wegmans will require a parking deck.

As to Pembroke Mall, I do not believe that we are looking at any redevelopment thereof in the way we might like to see. Not in the near or even midterm. The mall appears to be thriving, attracting unique and new-to-the-market tenants, with steadily increasing revenues.  It has become more of a complement to Town Center, and there has been talk of building a pedestrian bridge across Virginia Beach Blvd. to connect the two centers physically, and to make crossing  from one to the other much safer.

The hope for new urbanism in the CBD going forward is for expansion to the East, and everything is in place to do just that. Also, TC will continue to grow within its current footprint at the Southeast corner on the site of the Taco Bell and the old Beacon building (parking lot).

Something will happen sooner than later (and likely in conjunction with the Eastward expansion) to the South of TC proper along Independence at the adjacent, city-owned old Circuit City property.

Perhaps later there will be some redevelopment of the Northwest corner of Independence and VB Blvd, as well as with the old Kmart site to the East of Pembroke Mall.

Finally, to the point about the land in Virginia Beach being super affordable, affordability is relative. Relative to Washington, DC, or to Portland, Oregon, I'm sure the land here is fairly inexpensive. However, just to let you know, a few years ago an empty parcel of less than an acre sold at Hilltop for almost $4 million.  And that was when values were still depressed. Then once a Walgreens was constructed thereupon, the building and land sold very quickly for 14 million.  That was a record price for a Walgreens for both this market and the Richmond market. By far.

And so swinging back to the CBD, I do suspect that the aforementioned and infamous hold-out Taco Bell is one day going to fetch a staggering, record-breaking sum! 

With the Northern half of the city completely built-out, any new development is likely to be redevelopment.  However, whether that will take the form of dense, high-rise construction is yet to be seen. You simply have to convince local developers that it's worth the upfront investment. But  you're also right about them having to do their own calculus based on their land acquisition costs, etc.

And even if you attract a developer aiming to take part in the new urbanist movement, and even if the calculus make sense, he/she has to have deep pockets. And so we may need some outside blood from larger metros to eventually come in here and do their magic.

Finally, I've neglected to mention  one of the largest barriers to  realizing dense, vertical-oriented development around here:  the provincial mindset.  Some of our  city leaders and citizens, alike, are still stuck in the 80s. They just love that suburban sprawl! Others would seek to remake the entire town in the image of bucolic old Princess Anne County. Indeed these varying, adverse opinions of the citizenry and their effect upon certain feckless, elected officials becomes especially important relative to the civic debate concerning public-private partnerships.  As luck would have it recently, we've been winning those battles.   

 

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On ‎6‎/‎28‎/‎2017 at 6:09 PM, BFG said:

Wow...it's going up quickly. Can't wait to see how it looks from 264.

I pass by it everyday coming home from work. Curious as how it will look from 264

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The second one is the shorter 120 apartment version but looks better. The first is the taller 130 apartment version but looks blander. I can guarantee you that this is the one we'll get. Why they couldn't have just added a floor to the previous design I don't know. Second building is 9 stories. First one is 10. First one looks to physically be the exact height of the Cosmo, with coloring meant to match the Cosmo design.

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I concur completely. The new design is boring, less dynamic.  The materials are predictable.  Balconies appear smaller on the ends. The overall look is markedly less upscale. 

I would also add that the theater design has changed somewhat. The glass curtain is now more like a box rather than fully integrated into that canopy wall. And the shape is different. It's not as interesting to me.

Most disappointing.

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The first image is just the more formal version of the second image. This is a typical thing that happens with architecture once it goes from the possibility of what could be built to what will probably be built once floor plans are created and material choices are made. This looks like it will make decent infill and the smaller building should look nice in its setting if the grey walling turns out to be a nice looking stone facade.

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I agree it's common...Too common. Especially in this area. The only reason that design has changed is that they want to go cheap. I'm sick of them always going cheap in our area. If you check the other city forums you don't see them worried about stuff being watered down. They don't have to worry about it, why should we?

 

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25 minutes ago, vdogg said:

I agree it's common...Too common. Especially in this area. The only reason that design has changed is that they want to go cheap. I'm sick of them always going cheap in our area. If you check the other city forums you don't see them worried about stuff being watered down. They don't have to worry about it, why should we?

 

I appreciate your point vdogg, but value engineering really happens everywhere, except seemingly in mega-cities like New York, LA, London, etc. Mid to small sized cities often are plagued by value engineering. That said I like the initial design better and wish that would be the final product.

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12 hours ago, vdogg said:

I agree it's common...Too common. Especially in this area. The only reason that design has changed is that they want to go cheap. I'm sick of them always going cheap in our area. If you check the other city forums you don't see them worried about stuff being watered down. They don't have to worry about it, why should we?

 

As CarolinaBoy said, "going cheap" or having building get "watered down" happens everywhere. Heck, it even happens all the time in the big cities... it just doesn't get noticed so much because there are so many different projects going on at a time (NYC has about 15 buildings going up right now for instance that would ALL be the largest building in Hampton Roads... and the state of VA).

And FWIW, I like the new design better anyway. It looks brighter.... and bigger. I also think it will fit in better with the surrounding architecture The original drawling looks like something straight out of the 70s and would be out of place in Town Center IMO.

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On 7/19/2017 at 10:16 AM, carolinaboy said:

I appreciate your point vdogg, but value engineering really happens everywhere, except seemingly in mega-cities like New York, LA, London, etc. Mid to small sized cities often are plagued by value engineering. That said I like the initial design better and wish that would be the final product.

Value engineering happens in every city. NY suffers from it tremendously on most projects, megatalls included.

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Took some pics today that I will post later. They have completed floors 1 through 5, and the Elevator Shaft is up to floor 8. Judging by the height of the Elevator Shaft if we get two more floors out of this this will be slightly taller than the cosmo. The first two floors of the block 9 building take up four floors of the cosmo. It's going to be nice having a 13-story building immediately across the street from that. This whole area will be very dense.

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I think it's safe to say that the newer renderings posted are definitely the final version.

 

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Stopped by today, core forms are up to 8 and it's going to gain presence as the floors catch up,hopefully the Hampton inn will look good right across the street too. 

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7 floors completed, core forms are up to floor 10. That is already 1 more floor than originally proposed. It'll be interesting to see if they cap it there or they continue on. I imagine if they do we may get one, maybe two more floors at most, judging from the height of the crane.

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Those darned trees between I-264 and VBTC have grown up so much over the past 15 years that I don't think we'll see much of this building. I just drove by on the hwy yesterday, and all I saw was the very tippy top of the elevator shaft. I think.  And I was actually looking for something to see. 

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On 11/24/2015 at 11:18 PM, 757Duke said:

Seeing stuff like this makes me bummed to be moving to Chicago, but I can't wait to explore all the architecture there.

Chicago is a beautiful city.  But there aren't too many cities with that type of architecture though.  Definitely not too many with that type of density, particularly in the Midwest. 

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23 hours ago, chris722 said:

Chicago is a beautiful city.  But there aren't too many cities with that type of architecture though.  Definitely not too many with that type of density, particularly in the Midwest. 

I just came back from NYC on Sunday and oh my God!  Just amazing...old and new.  And there are still probably two dozen buildings under construction.

Is block 9 topped out now? 

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9 minutes ago, metalman said:

I just came back from NYC on Sunday and oh my God!  Just amazing...old and new.  And there are still probably two dozen buildings under construction.

Is block 9 topped out now? 

NY and DC are my two favorite (American) cities. Any time I visit either one, I wish I could bring just 1% of the infrastructure and nightlife back to Hampton Roads. Just that 1% would be amazing for this area.

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