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Wasn't MacArthur Mall supposed to NOT be the type of mall to attract glow in the dark mini golf and pet portrait photo stores and be the upscale mall? This is just becoming embarrassing.

Edited by zeppelin14
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Considering it's going to take a few years to implement, the city needs to come up with a mixed-use plan ASAP. They do not need two dead malls ten minutes from each other. I know they have a long-term plan for Military Circle, but the one venue that jump-started downtown needs to take higher priority, especially with SPQ coming in the next few years. Glow in the dark golf is a Band-aid for a cut that will only grow more and more each day.

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13 hours ago, BFG said:

Considering it's going to take a few years to implement, the city needs to come up with a mixed-use plan ASAP. They do not need two dead malls ten minutes from each other. I know they have a long-term plan for Military Circle, but the one venue that jump-started downtown needs to take higher priority, especially with SPQ coming in the next few years. Glow in the dark golf is a Band-aid for a cut that will only grow more and more each day.

They need to carve it up and restore the grid. All malls are dying. McArthur served its purpose to bring people downtown, but it's not longer useful. This is the new waterside IMO, and that's not a good thing.

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22 hours ago, zeppelin14 said:

Wasn't MacArthur Mall supposed to NOT be the type of mall to attract glow in the dark mini golf and pet portrait photo stores and be the upscale mall? This is just becoming embarrassing.

That's the unfortunate thing about malls, once the newness wears off, they have to do a lot to keep themselves relevant. It would have been better for the city if it had built this mall in a more urban style and created retail blocks rather than a big suburban mall in the middle of downtown. It would have been much easier to revitalize the mall as it aged. 

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9 hours ago, urbanfan said:

Knock it down, the future for mall retail is bleak.  Leave the garages and build an arena mixed use facility in its place!

Edited by NFKjeff
Deleting

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13 hours ago, mistermetaj said:

They need to carve it up and restore the grid. All malls are dying. McArthur served its purpose to bring people downtown, but it's not longer useful. This is the new waterside IMO, and that's not a good thing.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder how didn't Norfolk plan for this. I know the Internet wasn't what it is now, but economists predicted the concept of online shopping as far back as the 70s. I think somebody should've been able to tell that, even in the mid-90s, when MacArthur was in the planning stages, that it should incorporate a modern look that can be easily adapted. Norfolk is about to end up with a prime chunk of real estate that has very little versatility.

I was just there a couple months ago, and I love the architecture inside. I would hate to see that go, but unless you create a mixed-use development that incorporates more than apartments, you have a giant elephant in the room sitting downtown. You can only fit but so many creative spaces into such a massive building.

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The mall is more than 20 years old at this point.  You can see how its design tried to shield visitors from the city outside.  Now that downtown's a decent place, you wish it would do the opposite.  

For years I've wanted to see what downtown would look like if MacMall was demolished and the street grid restored.  You could have some really great new development with ground floor retail/restaurant and office/residential/hotel/whatever above.  Something like CityCenterDC but with a few taller buildings might work well.  

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It's crazy when you think about how MacArthur and Town Center in VB started construction around the same time, maybe a couple years apart. Virginia Beach really wanted to make Town Center the downtown, while Norfolk went with a suburban look. Imagine how different downtown looks if MacArthur were truly a town center with a street grid and a mix of midrise and taller buildings, with a few shops sprinkled in.

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7 hours ago, BFG said:

It's crazy when you think about how MacArthur and Town Center in VB started construction around the same time, maybe a couple years apart. Virginia Beach really wanted to make Town Center the downtown, while Norfolk went with a suburban look. Imagine how different downtown looks if MacArthur were truly a town center with a street grid and a mix of midrise and taller buildings, with a few shops sprinkled in.

I'll readily admit MacArthur was a mistake. However without it I'm not sure we are at the same point. MacArthur showed folks that Norfolk had potential. MarArthur showed folks that Norfolk was ready. It was time that showed they werent wrong and that they were building towards something special.

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2 hours ago, BeagleAccountant said:

I'll readily admit MacArthur was a mistake. However without it I'm not sure we are at the same point. MacArthur showed folks that Norfolk had potential. MarArthur showed folks that Norfolk was ready. It was time that showed they werent wrong and that they were building towards something special.

At the time it was really seen as a turning point for downtown Norfolk.

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4 hours ago, urbanlife said:

At the time it was really seen as a turning point for downtown Norfolk.

And it was.  Before the mall was built, the land where MacArthur Mall sits was a 17-acre parking lot.  That's how it was referred to in the paper and in City Hall - "the 17 acres".  And it was like that for years and years, maybe decades.  The city tried hard to find a developer to develop that parking lot without success, until Taubman came along with the mall proposal.  Despite its shortcomings today, back then it was the only option for the city, and it did turn the city around.
 

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As much as I like MacArthur Center, and consider it the best mall in the aria, and as much as I agree that it saved downtown Norfolk from being like downtown Newport News, it is definitely nearing the end of its it's useful life. When MacArthur Center was built, Downtown Norfolk was lacking major retail. Granby street was run down, partly because the city killed it by closing it off to vehicle traffic. The mall brought the missing retail that the city needed. Fast forward to today, and downtown Norfolk is doing better than it has in a long time. The problem is downtown no longer needs all that retail. Also other malls like Pembroke, and Lynhaven, and the outlets are catching up quick, with there offerings for the suburban dwellers, and tourists, which make up most of MacArthurs cliantel, and dont even get me started with Amazon. Downtown Norfolk is currently saturated with more retail than it can handle. The city needs to act quickly, because while MacArthur is not dead yet(it will not die tha same death as Military Circle, because that mall had its own unique problems.), if it is allowed to die, it will begin to hurt downtown Norfolk.  Imo, tear it down. Keep the parking garages. Restore the street grid, but keep it on a road diet to avoid creating barriers, and make it bike and pedestrian friendly. Rebuild what remains into a mixture of public squares,and connected buildings of at least 8 stories. Floors 1-3 should contain retail and restaurants like the type of restaurants that front Monticello ave. On the third floor, they can put in a network of pedestrian walkways simular to Short Pump, or the High Line in New York. Above that they can build apartments, hotels, and ofice space. They should also add a major attraction of some sort; either a small amusement park, water park, museum, or somthing creative. Throw in a couple skyscrapers just for fun, and you have the next generation of MacArthur center, and downtown. 

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Considering what they are doing with SPQ, knocking it down isn't such a bad idea but I wonder what demand really looks like. What does it really take for a developer to come in and build in and around DT Norfolk. There are still lots open, Synder (I believe it is called) has been vacant for a while, haven't heard any takers on that. Infills have been processed, but looked how long it took for that to happen. I thought if you took a bulldozer to tidewater gardens and left it open, it would be a developer or two willing to just redeveloped it, or perhaps anchor it. Ft. Norfolk is still prime, slow movement on that.  I'm starting to think there is  just a legacy of bad city management and lack of vision. Its the only thing I can think of at this point. Waterside will forever be our example of how the city stifles things.

Sad, but knock it down is really the only reasonable solution.

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Norfolk should hold off tearing down MacArthur until SPQ is completed.  This means MacArthur will be around for at least 20 years.  In the meantime they should work with Starwood to make the mixed use component happen.  

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Norfolk can not just tear down MacArthur Mall unilaterally. They would first have to plunk down a big chunk of money to purchase it.

 

 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, NFKjeff said:

Norfolk can not just tear down MacArthur Mall unilaterally. They would first have to plunk down a big chunk of money to purchase it.

 

 

 

 

The same should also be said for Military Circle. Getting these properties under a single owner (whether the city or a developer) would be complicated, expensive and unlikely. 

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3 hours ago, EJ_LEWIS said:

In the meantime they should work with Starwood to make the mixed use component happen.  

With the number of stores that have left plus an empty Nordstroms plus the $750,000,000 debt, the mixed use component will never happen on the empty lot. It is dead.

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19 hours ago, zeppelin14 said:

With the number of stores that have left plus an empty Nordstroms plus the $750,000,000 debt, the mixed use component will never happen on the empty lot. It is dead.

The mall appears to be morphing into an experience center and I would not count them out yet.  If Starwood wants to make sure their investment is successful they will continue to explore the mixed use option. 

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5 hours ago, BFG said:

Time for me to overreact and read too much into the Development office’s IG post... :P

93B7F08A-7CF6-4254-BC29-86B2B1BA0442.jpeg

Medical School/Center expansion? Considering everything is basically already under construction, this would be something new in addition to that...

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Apparently Richmond's Navy Hill project, which included a new arena and tower for CoStar (commercial real estate company), is in jeopardy. The latter would bring 3,000 jobs. If Richmond doesn't make this happen, I hope Hampton Roads makes a pitch...3,000 jobs in downtown Norfolk would be amazing.

https://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/topic/118142-new-richmond-arena/page/37/?tab=comments#comment-1665643

"I would stress that we will always have a very significant commitment to Richmond. The question is we can’t grow in the building we are in now so we need to move for growth and the question is where does that growth occur," Florence said.

"We are focused on Richmond but looking at other areas," he said. "We are looking for a place that can handle 3,000-plus people. We have to get going on this ... either in Richmond, or Henrico or Northern Virginia or D.C. or wherever."

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42 minutes ago, BFG said:

Apparently Richmond's Navy Hill project, which included a new arena and tower for CoStar (commercial real estate company), is in jeopardy. The latter would bring 3,000 jobs. If Richmond doesn't make this happen, I hope Hampton Roads makes a pitch...3,000 jobs in downtown Norfolk would be amazing.

https://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/topic/118142-new-richmond-arena/page/37/?tab=comments#comment-1665643

"I would stress that we will always have a very significant commitment to Richmond. The question is we can’t grow in the building we are in now so we need to move for growth and the question is where does that growth occur," Florence said.

"We are focused on Richmond but looking at other areas," he said. "We are looking for a place that can handle 3,000-plus people. We have to get going on this ... either in Richmond, or Henrico or Northern Virginia or D.C. or wherever."

Really doesn’t sound like our area is even on the radar screen though. They seem to already have a back up plan to go somewhere in NoVA. On a sidenote, Richmond needs to get rid of every single councilmember if they really just let 3000+ jobs and a corporate headquarters slip through their hands so easily.

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It would certainly get Gateway off the ground if they decided to come here but I think it’s a very long shot. Incentives would have to be offered, and there’s a lot on our plate with our own arena deal and casino around the corner.

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