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Something is coming to Bonney road, what I don't know, but it appears to have something to do with the city. In the most recent VBDA minutes, it was stated that "Olympia Development has been selected to develop the Bonney road site" and that "this site is considered part of Town Center" . Additionally it states that "a development agreement is currently being worked out". This is curious because the actual nature of the development is listed no where in the minutes, and no project is listed for discussion on the agenda. This appears to be something that escaped (accidentally?) from closed session. Originally I thought this may have something to do with City View but I don't see why the city would be entering a development agreement with Olympia instead of Olympia entering an agreement with Ripley Heatwole. This appears to be new, and the only vacant land close to town center is land that the city originally planned on building on some years ago that fell through IIRC. This is the land next to the Days Inn, which coincidentally has great views of Town Center...

https://www.yesvirginiabeach.com/about-us/Documents/vbda-2018/vbda-minutes-01-18.pdf

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2 hours ago, vdogg said:

Something is coming to Bonney road, what I don't know, but it appears to have something to do with the city. In the most recent VBDA minutes, it was stated that "Olympia Development has been selected to develop the Bonney road site" and that "this site is considered part of Town Center" . Additionally it states that "a development agreement is currently being worked out". This is curious because the actual nature of the development is listed no where in the minutes, and no project is listed for discussion on the agenda. This appears to be something that escaped (accidentally?) from closed session. Originally I thought this may have something to do with City View but I don't see why the city would be entering a development agreement with Olympia instead of Olympia entering an agreement with Ripley Heatwole. This appears to be new, and the only vacant land close to town center is land that the city originally planned on building on some years ago that fell through IIRC. This is the land next to the Days Inn, which coincidentally has great views of Town Center...

https://www.yesvirginiabeach.com/about-us/Documents/vbda-2018/vbda-minutes-01-18.pdf

Looking at their website, Olympia looks.... like a typical Virginia Beach Office suburban developer. You know the office park adjacent to City Walk ( the Convergence Center, office buildings right by I-264 ) Pretty much what they own/lease:

https://olympiadevelopment.com/available-properties/

 

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13 minutes ago, ronsmytheiii said:

Looking at their website, Olympia looks.... like a typical Virginia Beach Office suburban developer. You know the office park adjacent to City Walk ( the Convergence Center, office buildings right by I-264 ) Pretty much what they own/lease:

https://olympiadevelopment.com/available-properties/

 

True, but the RFP they responded to demands a development plan that fits the Pembroke SGA, which is included in the link I provided. This being city owned land, the must submit a plan that adheres to the city's standards if they want a deal. At a bare minimum this will have an urban character.

Quote

Background:

The property (GPIN 1477-52-4516) consists of approximately 11.76 acres (estimated 6.5 to 7 acres usable), and was most recently acquired by the City in December 2003.  It is within the Pembroke Strategic Growth Area.

Due to its proximity to both Town Center and Convergence Center, Interstate 264 and the Thalia Creek Greenway; the property is an important strategic location for the long term growth and success of the Pembroke Strategic Growth Area. 

A more complete description of the property will be found in the attached materials.  Additionally, the Pembroke Strategic Growth Area Plan can be found online at www.vbgov.com/pembrokeplan

Objectives:

To maximize the long-term development potential of the property in keeping with the spirit and intent of the City's Pembroke Strategic Growth Area Plan; achieve the construction of Class "A" office space (or other mixed-use development of Class "A" level); and provide for connectivity with Town Center, other Bonney Road development sites, future transit stops, and the Thalia Creek Greenway.

And also:

"

City staff (Economic Development) will solicit and review interests and preliminary submissions for the purchase and private development of the property.  A respondent or short list of respondents may have the opportunity to modify submissions and/or may be asked to provide additional details following review by staff.  Selection will be based upon compliance with the stated objectives.  Staff may solicit other submissions if deemed necessary. 

If a submission is selected, terms of the transfer of the property, as well as structure of the overall development plan, will be negotiated and finalized with the respondent. At a minimum the respondent will be expected to obtain an approved site plan for the property within twenty-four (24) months of the date of the award, and provide the City with a financing plan for the proposed development, acceptable to the City, within twenty-four (24) months of the award"

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I am skeptical, I imagine it being nothing more than a glorified apartment complex or a glorified office park style area with urban features. Though if you look at what the city envisions with its plan, it calls for this area to be a little urban district when you include the little office park and the hotel into the overall site, then extend Market down to connect to the area. Then you are onto something big for the area because that would bring it all together into quite an urban district that would feel like an expansion of the Town Center. If that were to happen, you would be looking at 6-8 blocks (just counted the blocks from the block numbering system and it looks like all that would be 9 blocks total) worth of development of buildings in the 6-12 story range, along with plenty of park space. That would be the ideal thing to happen, but I just don't know if I see a suburban developer and a city that has done a pretty poor job keeping developers to their masterplan following through on making this chunk of land into a true urban district that connects directly to the Town Center.

Edited by urbanlife

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The city has not done a poor job keeping developers to their master plan. They have no control over land they don't own. All that land to the west of town center was owned by Mr. Sifen, and he doesn't give a damn about Urban Development. On that land that is owned by the city, they've done pretty well with keeping that to an urban character.

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9 hours ago, vdogg said:

The city has not done a poor job keeping developers to their master plan. They have no control over land they don't own. All that land to the west of town center was owned by Mr. Sifen, and he doesn't give a damn about Urban Development. On that land that is owned by the city, they've done pretty well with keeping that to an urban character.

No point in making a master plan if it isn't considered a guideline for future development. The city could have put together a design committee that reviewed anything built within the Pembroke area to decide if it met the requirements of the district. This city has full control over zoning laws and should have rezoned this whole area to meet the demands of the master plan. That is why they have done a poor job keeping developers to a master plan, thus making the master plan a waste of money.

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OK, first let me say that Cecil Cutchins is awesome. He is the President of Olympia.  Over two years ago, I wrote to him about his lighting scheme on his Convergence buildings. I had remembered that when they opened, he had given an interview to the Pilot about how proud he was of the extensive lighting and of the fountain.  He had pointed out that all of this was created at considerable expense and was certainly not mandatory or necessary. He obviously enjoyed a show of aesthetics.  

However by Winter 2015,  the lights and fountain spray had gone silent. So I wrote to Mr. Cutchins praising the old look and asking him if he was going to renew those features. Well, much to my surprise and delight, he responded that he was he was so inspired by my email ... so impressed that somebody out there "cared about things like that"… that he had decided not only to renew these fixtures/features, but also to increase and to expand them ...and to improve the technology and efficiency.  Big $$ and several months went by...and everything was completed by the Spring. Fantastic.

I tell you all this because I want you to know how this man is seriously hands-on in a way he doesn't have to be. He's also genuinely devoted to aesthetics and to doing things the "right way," regardless of the cost. 

Yes, say what you will about the "suburbanesque" architecture of Convergence, but it is entirely appropriate for that parcel and location, and it is very visually appealing--a first-rate  product ...for what it is--re: materials, architecture and lighting/landscaping/hardscaping/water features.  And I've been inside two of the building, and they are truly luxurious.  

Oh, and they were all built without government subsidy...and they are all leased...by prestigious firms, schools and businesses, alike.  

So I'm not at all worried here.  I have confidence that he will deliver on the product promised to/negotiated with the city...and will likely exceed those promises and all expectations.

Edited by baobabs727
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VB is the King of wasting money, conducting 30,000 studies on a project ... or the idea of a project I should say and then nothing ever coming to fruition from it. But I digress.

Hopefully something nice(tall) and urban comes of this, I personally am hoping for something 10+ stories. 

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55 minutes ago, baobabs727 said:

OK, first let me say that Cecil Cutchins is awesome. He is the President of Olympia.  Over two years ago, I wrote to him about his lighting scheme on his Convergence buildings. I had remembered that when they opened, he had given an interview to the Pilot about how proud he was of the extensive lighting and of the fountain.  He had pointed out that all of this was created at considerable expense and was certainly not mandatory or necessary. He obviously enjoyed a show of aesthetics.  

However by Winter 2015,  the lights and fountain spray had gone silent. So I wrote to Mr. Cutchins praising the old look and asking him if he was going to renew those features. Well, much to my surprise and delight, he responded that he was he was so inspired by my email ... so impressed that somebody out there "cared about things like that"… that he had decided not only to renew these fixtures/features, but also to increase and to expand them ...and to improve the technology and efficiency.  Big $$ and several months went by...and everything was completed by the Spring. Fantastic.

I tell you all this because I want you to know how this man is seriously hands-on in a way he doesn't have to be. He's also genuinely devoted to aesthetics and to doing things the "right way," regardless of the cost. 

Yes, say what you will about the "suburbanesque" architecture of Convergence, but it is entirely appropriate for that parcel and location, and it is very visually appealing--a first-rate  product ...for what it is--re: materials, architecture and lighting/landscaping/hardscaping/water features.  And I've been inside two of the building, and they are truly luxurious.  

Oh, and they were all built without government subsidy...and they are all leased...by prestigious firms, schools and businesses, alike.  

So I'm not at all worried here.  I have confidence that he will deliver on the product promised to/negotiated with the city...and will likely exceed those promises and all expectations.

No one is debating the quality of what will be built there, and from the sounds of it, it will probably be nice regardless what is built. The issue I was pointing out is that area was in the master plan to be a 9 block development that is connected directly to the rest of the Town Center. Anything that doesn't stick to the master plan will probably just end up being suburban style or sort of urban looking suburban design.

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2 hours ago, urbanlife said:

No point in making a master plan if it isn't considered a guideline for future development. The city could have put together a design committee that reviewed anything built within the Pembroke area to decide if it met the requirements of the district. This city has full control over zoning laws and should have rezoned this whole area to meet the demands of the master plan. That is why they have done a poor job keeping developers to a master plan, thus making the master plan a waste of money.

This is a common misconception. You cannot simply take somebody's land out of compliance without some use of eminent domain. As much as I don't like what Mr. Sifen has done with his land, he built to the standards of the zoning laws that were present at time of purchase. This is key. The city has 2 options in this case, buy the land off Sifen or seize it through eminent domain. Norfolk tried and failed the eminent domain route, they were ruled against in the ODU village case. Bottom line, you cannot seize private property to benefit another private entity. The other option, purchase, fell through IIRC. The sticking point of course being price. Now, that land can and I believe has been rezoned for future use, but zoning laws are not retroactive. So long as Sifen remains the owner of that property he can build to the original conditions of the purchase. 

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2 hours ago, vdogg said:

This is a common misconception. You cannot simply take somebody's land out of compliance without some use of eminent domain. As much as I don't like what Mr. Sifen has done with his land, he built to the standards of the zoning laws that were present at time of purchase. This is key. The city has 2 options in this case, buy the land off Sifen or seize it through eminent domain. Norfolk tried and failed the eminent domain route, they were ruled against in the ODU village case. Bottom line, you cannot seize private property to benefit another private entity. The other option, purchase, fell through IIRC. The sticking point of course being price. Now, that land can and I believe has been rezoned for future use, but zoning laws are not retroactive. So long as Sifen remains the owner of that property he can build to the original conditions of the purchase. 

This has nothing to do with eminent domain, this is just about zoning. A city can and most cities do have guidelines with what can be built where. Sifen can't just put a toxic dump industrial building on his land just because he owns it. Most cities that define what their downtown is has design regulations and zoning regulations. You aren't going to build a strip mall on a site that is zoned for high density development because that goes against what the land is zoned for. So this has nothing to do with seizing land. Also this isn't about Sifen's crappy suburban design....though it could be because the zoning law changes and design committee should have gone in place long before anything was ever decided for that specific land or the rest of the Pembroke area. That is why I am saying this master plan is being handled poorly to the point that it is just a useless study.

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The master plan shows the Olympia parcel and bookending hotel/extended stay connecting via Market street across the creek. With the Days Inn and the recieving lane behind the Mission BBQ building in line.  That's not gonna happen.  But as far as the neighborhood goes, the Constituion extension connects it to Town Center as mentioned in the Master plan for the Bonney District.

Edited by metalman

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6 hours ago, urbanlife said:

This has nothing to do with eminent domain, this is just about zoning. A city can and most cities do have guidelines with what can be built where. Sifen can't just put a toxic dump industrial building on his land just because he owns it. Most cities that define what their downtown is has design regulations and zoning regulations. You aren't going to build a strip mall on a site that is zoned for high density development because that goes against what the land is zoned for. So this has nothing to do with seizing land. Also this isn't about Sifen's crappy suburban design....though it could be because the zoning law changes and design committee should have gone in place long before anything was ever decided for that specific land or the rest of the Pembroke area. That is why I am saying this master plan is being handled poorly to the point that it is just a useless study.

There was an article that specifically addressed this site and what the city can do about it some years ago. I think it had to do with City Walk, but the zoning issue was addressed in that article. I will have to try and find it and repost.

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21 hours ago, metalman said:

The master plan shows the Olympia parcel and bookending hotel/extended stay connecting via Market street across the creek. With the Days Inn and the recieving lane behind the Mission BBQ building in line.  That's not gonna happen.  But as far as the neighborhood goes, the Constituion extension connects it to Town Center as mentioned in the Master plan for the Bonney District.

Right, Thx. I was just wondering if I was seeing  something because that's the only way it could ever happen as I was looking at the satellite. Truly, I don't know why they ever proposed that because the enviro governing authorities (ches bay/ace) are never  going to allow them to build another road across that creek. Pedestrian bridge maybe?

Edited by baobabs727

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OK, so I just received some news. Preliminarily, this is proposed to be a mini-city center (NN) type of development with a roundabout & fountain in the center of a grouping of four urban/contemporary, class A buildings, varying at approx. 4-6 stories  & to be interchangeable based on demand:   1 hotel, 2 office, 1 apartment.  Ground floor retail and poss. medical.  Standalone parking deck.  Cost prohibitive to put parking decks under the buildings.  Wetlands/creek environmental survey underway.  Unknown if there will be any connectivity with TC whatsoever. Doubtful. Remember, all of this is preliminary.

Edited by baobabs727

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It sounds like they are indeed trying to build something urban in nature. I was really wondering what may go there because it’s not directly connected to TC. Hopefully over time there will be more connections over the creek .

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I think you could still fit a road back there behind the Mission BBQ property and connect to that little service road, so connectivity is possible. 4-6 stories is meh but at least it's urban and hopefully it spurs the Days Inn property to upgrade or move and we can get something higher end out there. I have a feeling the scope of this project is largely dependent on the level of city involvement. So is this a thing now? I guess i'll make a thread for it later, just not sure what to call it yet. 

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Okay, just drove by there, I take it back. Some stuff will definitely need to be tore down in order to make a road connecting to Town Center. Not impossible, but they need to buy out some property owners.

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I don't have a name.

There will be seating and pedestrian walking access around the center fountain feature.

Office with retail/poss. medical in the pink and dark pink spaces, respectively  (fig. 2).  

120 key Hotel is the taller building in yellow in the upper right quadrant (fig. 1).

Parking deck behind hotel.  

Apartments directly across from Hotel in yellow.

Offices front Bonney Rd. of course.

IMG_3790.PNG

 

IMG_3791.PNG

Edited by baobabs727

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Oh, I bet it looks ever so slightly better than you thought it would ha ha. ;-)

Remember, this is a very preliminary submission. This does not  represent what VB has come back to them with, so there will likely be changes.  

However, the developer made it clear to me that they had done years of extensive market research on the parcel in anticipation of the RFP. This is especially significant given that they are already the King of Bonney Rd. re: office development.  (And also the king of zero public subsidies, which I suspect will weigh heavily on the final design ...and weighed heavily on the city's decision to choose Olympia in the first place).

I agree with you regarding the connectivity issue. Although the developer mentioned to me something about environmental impacts--and he was anxiously awaiting the EI report--beyond that, he had no comment on connectivity.  In my opinion, that's up to the city. 

Edited by baobabs727
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