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Buddy got burned with the failed Granby Tower. He got his high-rise with the Icon. He's not going to put another high-rise on this property. Looks like it will be five floors (wood framed) on top of a concrete podium. Code only allows five floors of wood on top of a podium. If he wanted to go higher (say 6+ floors) he would have to use different material and the cost would probably be prohibitive. Infill development is very effective in creating urbanity, even if the design is some-what "suburban".

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Sorry if I missed this, but is there any kind of ground retail? I think in one of the photos I saw "signage".. As long as has that, I would be ok with it. If not, it will create another dead corner without features. 

Years ago there were talks about reducing the lanes on waterside drive correct? I wonder how that would have potentially changed/impacted construction down that stretch.

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1 hour ago, brikkman said:

Sorry if I missed this, but is there any kind of ground retail? I think in one of the photos I saw "signage".. As long as has that, I would be ok with it. If not, it will create another dead corner without features. 

Years ago there were talks about reducing the lanes on waterside drive correct? I wonder how that would have potentially changed/impacted construction down that stretch.

There is a small piece at the corner of Atlantic/Waterside labeled “area of future commercial” that at least initially consists of 13 parking spaces. The project description calls it “possible future retail.”

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7 minutes ago, 23320 said:

There is a small piece at the corner of Atlantic/Waterside labeled “area of future commercial” that at least initially consists of 13 parking spaces. The project description calls it “possible future retail.”

That’s a tough spot for retail. With Waterside directly across the street and Main Street a block behind the building, that location is kind of in a dead zone/no man’s land. The most we could probably hope for is a coffee shop.

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On 2/15/2020 at 4:51 AM, BeagleAccountant said:

The renderings show they're going to have parking on portions of the ground floor. So that limits the amount of commercial use of the property.

That is a shame, parking along the first floor in a downtown should never be allowed, it pretty much wastes space for cars that could have been used for commercial.

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The bottom floor could use a 7-11 in my opinion which would be a good retail for this area as the 7-11 at the Wells Fargo building is a bit of a walk for people staying at the hotels on Main St.

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4 hours ago, zeppelin14 said:

The bottom floor could use a 7-11 in my opinion which would be a good retail for this area as the 7-11 at the Wells Fargo building is a bit of a walk for people staying at the hotels on Main St.

I've said for a while that downtown needs a smaller Target/CVS, and I thought the ground floor of ICON made the perfect space. There's another storefront on Bank St. that was the original Alice Mae's...another perfect location.

\When I was in NOVA last year, there was a Target within walking distance of our Airbnb. Even with the grocery store that's supposed to open (eventually*?), downtown needs more than the one 7-11 and the local pharmacy on Granby. There's times where I've been downtown and needed something like a pack of batteries, but going to Monticello 7-11 was a bit inconvenient.

*Seriously. What's going on here? This was supposed to open six months ago.

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I would love to see a Cheeseccake Factory downtown on the ground floor of Gravity.  Is there some clause that says there can only be one in the entire area?  I still prefer downtown Norfolk over Town Center any day.

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Gravity looks like a nice infill development.  It will fit nicely in front of the Icon.  Now re-landscape Waterside Dr. and incorporate some traffic calming infrastructure and then you will have a more urban Street.  

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Projected cost of this is over $50 million.  6 stories, parking deck (136 spaces) on ground level with room for commercial use, 273 apartments, pool and gym. Since they don't have enough parking for each apartment, they would put the rest in the Main Street garage. 

https://www.pilotonline.com/business/vp-bz-gadams-gravity-apartments-20200311-tn7z5htyojcwrahnq2ax7r7bdi-story.html?outputType=amp&__twitter_impression=true

Edited by BeagleAccountant
Grammar
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Well, well. Looks like I'm not exactly on the fringe of opinion here after all lol.  

I, for one, believe that this is the wrong development
at the wrong location. 
 
Clearly, a low-midrise residential project is non-conforming in the heart of the high-rise laden Main Street CBD, as well as for the DT Norfolk Gateway as a whole. 
 
Furthermore, the destruction of a nearly 50 year-old urban forest, a veritable unicorn in that vicinity, is unacceptable to me and to many others living Downtown. 

Some here are perhaps a bit too hungry for new development--any new development.  Sometimes you have to be satisfied with nothing...especially in this case where pure, unimaginative crap passes for something remarkable. 

This is nothing more than $$-grabbing filler.  Likely his prerogative here to erect such a thing, of course, but I don't have to like it just for the sake of liking a shiny, new and vaguely vertical building.  I am as big of a pro-development Capitalist as anyone around here, but I don't feel the need to admire his ambition when the attendant execution lacks flair, style and quality. 

You guys may not understand him, but that's OK. I'm probably the only one here who has actually lived downtown for the better part of 20 years and has followed his career from the very beginning. He's not the same developer that he used to be. He's a more of a flipper now. He seems to have lost touch with his artisan roots.  $$$$ will do that to you lol.

Ironically, some of you reflexively opposed the Cordish "proposal" to build a true skyscraper of unparalleled design and spectacular quality (as they did in KC, yet even taller in Norfolk), one destined to garner record-breaking rents for the region.  At the time, a Cordish executive contacted some of us downtowners to pick our brains and to engage us to feel-out City Council re: potential support for such a project. However,  City Council denied them--cold--even before they could make an informal presentation.  Par for the course in this provincial town to favor all things local over the deep-pocketed national  players. But I digress.

All in all,  Mr. Gadams proposal is  a) not the highest and best use of the property; b) non-conforming to surrounding development; c) inappropriate in size and scope in context of its surroundings; and d) purges the land of a unique, natural, beautiful, carbon-devouring, life-breathing tree canopy. 

 

Edited by baobabs727
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I agree that something more grand should be built in that location, even if it is shorter, trying to not block views of the Icon, but I wouldn't call that underdeveloped lot a veritable unicorn or urban forest. That person needs to come to Portland, Oregon and I will show them what a real urban forest looks like. There is no good reason to save some 50 year old trees that were planted for a bank's suburban style drive thru in the middle of a downtown.

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On 5/1/2020 at 2:40 PM, baobabs727 said:

Null set 

 

13 hours ago, 23320 said:

Can you share where the quote came from?  

So if you are addressing yourself to me, there is no quote. My opening sentence was made not in reference to some unknown individual; rather, I was reflecting upon the phenomenon that was the spree of posts subsequent to my original contrarian post. These subsequent opinions shed some doubt on the unanimity of thought here on this subject.  

So yeah. All of that verbiage, mismatching font and all, sprang forth directly from my head. I had written portions of the reply in one application and then finished it in another.  

Edited by baobabs727

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16 hours ago, urbanlife said:

I agree that something more grand should be built in that location, even if it is shorter, trying to not block views of the Icon, but I wouldn't call that underdeveloped lot a veritable unicorn or urban forest. That person needs to come to Portland, Oregon and I will show them what a real urban forest looks like. There is no good reason to save some 50 year old trees that were planted for a bank's suburban style drive thru in the middle of a downtown.

Well I don't live in Portland lol. This isn't Portlsnd. Everything is relative. And relative to Norfolk's CBD/urban tree canopy sites, this one is an urban forest. It's a fairly large parcel with rolling hills and other mature landscaping as well.  And it's right in the middle of everything. The plot could be bought by Norfolk and upgraded, but that's really not what I'm saying here. My main argument is one similar to the one that you have made here, which is to say that this project, with its extensive and   prominent frontage along the Gateway, should be taller, as well as  much more imaginative, aspirational and handsome in its architecture...if it's going to be developed anyway. 

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Edited by baobabs727
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On 2/14/2020 at 3:13 PM, ONCE1stBlvd said:

Yessir!  Strawman.  You distorted my argument, implying that I wanted a high-rise.  It's something that obviously would be a bad idea.  Not even realistic.  Everyone would agree with that and it'd make my point look ignorant and make anything you say seem correct.....  Its a strawman

This is another one.  I don't ride the bandwagon.  Just because a bunch of people believe Norfolk has made great strides doesn't mean it actually did.   Some of the same people who ate at Rainforest Cafe at Mac Center might be on this board right now saying that mall should be cleared and made into a street grid.  I was one of them, as a matter of fact.  I can admit that I thought Mac Mall was fire!  A downtown mall seemed cool.  But all it really did was kill a lot of potential character and create a huge boundary.  Norfolk got desperate to get "people" to go downtown and tried to duplicate what the suburbs did, kinda.  Because truthfully, what I hear the most when people are relocating is "how good are the schools?"  Maybe we could've moved that money towards THAT instead of a cash-grabby mall.  Bro;  It was a bad idea for the area but it brought money back downtown, and that's probably all they cared about and hoped that it would help the rest of the city a lot more.  It helped...but not as much as it hurt.    It didn't become dense and walkable.  IT WAS DENSE AND WALKABLE.   I saw those pictures of Church St.  Atlantic City.  They "urban renewal'ed" downtown... Then it became Laguna Seca!

Well, I think perhaps it would be more constructive for me to offer what I offered.  My feedback.  I haven't read anywhere on this page that goes against that and I haven't been offensive.   No rules broken.  A couple people on this page have expressed disdain for this development besides me.  As a moderator, I'm sure you have the power to limit me in ways but I don't believe it's in anyone's interest to demonstrate tyranny, so I'd say just take what I'm sharing as an opinion.  With that said, just because I don't have the perfect development idea for this doesn't mean I can't identify a terrible idea.  If someone was morbidly obese they may not know what food would be the absolute healthiest but they would probably know a cheeseburger and fries isn't, ya know?  

You wanna know what I think should go on that plot?  Something better.  It doesn't have to be bigger, just something that says "hey!  we're Norfolk!  The center of the 7 cities and we want to be the cultural, financial and educational hub center cities offer!  Not, "hey...we got some low-rise condos in front of some high-rise condos and a mall down the street

I haven't got the feels that anyone on this board wants that.  Not even me.  I don' t want the 7 cities to be NYC.   I just want it to be the best it can be. 

sue me for having a vision why don't you...

 

Promise I'm not saying this because you were having a bit of a row with Vdogg, whom I really like and appreciate, but... Who are you, where have you been all of our lives...and where the heck did you run off to?  LOL. Please come back! I just now read your comments, and I found them to refreshing like the Summer breezes off Carmel Bay. Sometimes we need a bit of new blood around here, if I might be so bold as to say. I've been here 15 years, and frankly I even get tired of hearing myself sometimes. Ha!

p.s... hopefully you will agree that my pictorial examples, above, represent something "better" ...yet still realistic ...and more in line with what you were thinking… "Hey! We are Norfolk!…"

Edited by baobabs727

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On 5/1/2020 at 2:40 PM, baobabs727 said:

Well, well. Looks like I'm not exactly on the fringe of opinion here after all lol.  

I, for one, believe that this is the wrong development
at the wrong location. 
 
Clearly, a low-midrise residential project is non-conforming in the heart of the high-rise laden Main Street CBD, as well as for the DT Norfolk Gateway as a whole. 
 
Furthermore, the destruction of a nearly 50 year-old urban forest, a veritable unicorn in that vicinity, is unacceptable to me and to many others living Downtown. 

Some here are perhaps a bit too hungry for new development--any new development.  Sometimes you have to be satisfied with nothing...especially in this case where pure, unimaginative crap passes for something remarkable. 

This is nothing more than $$-grabbing filler.  Likely his prerogative here to erect such a thing, of course, but I don't have to like it just for the sake of liking a shiny, new and vaguely vertical building.  I am as big of a pro-development Capitalist as anyone around here, but I don't feel the need to admire his ambition when the attendant execution lacks flair, style and quality. 

You guys may not understand him, but that's OK. I'm probably the only one here who has actually lived downtown for the better part of 20 years and has followed his career from the very beginning. He's not the same developer that he used to be. He's a more of a flipper now. He seems to have lost touch with his artisan roots.  $$$$ will do that to you lol.

Ironically, some of you reflexively opposed the Cordish "proposal" to build a true skyscraper of unparalleled design and spectacular quality (as they did in KC, yet even taller in Norfolk), one destined to garner record-breaking rents for the region.  At the time, a Cordish executive contacted some of us downtowners to pick our brains and to engage us to feel-out City Council re: potential support for such a project. However,  City Council denied them--cold--even before they could make an informal presentation.  Par for the course in this provincial town to favor all things local over the deep-pocketed national  players. But I digress.

All in all,  Mr. Gadams proposal is  a) not the highest and best use of the property; b) non-conforming to surrounding development; c) inappropriate in size and scope in context of its surroundings; and d) purges the land of a unique, natural, beautiful, carbon-devouring, life-breathing tree canopy. 

 

THAANNNNNNNNNK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!

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3 hours ago, baobabs727 said:

Promise I'm not saying this because you were having a bit of a row with Vdogg, whom I really like and appreciate, but... Who are you, where have you been all of our lives...and where the heck did you run off to?  LOL. Please come back! I just now read your comments, and I found them to refreshing like the Summer breezes off Carmel Bay. Sometimes we need a bit of new blood around here, if I might be so bold as to say. I've been here 15 years, and frankly I even get tired of hearing myself sometimes. Ha!

p.s... hopefully you will agree that my pictorial examples, above, represent something "better" ...yet still realistic ...and more in line with what you were thinking… "Hey! We are Norfolk!…"

Bro...I've been here and there and I'm so glad someone else on this board feels me.  It's soooooo revitalizing! 

 

My views have not changed on how things were handled in this potential development.  I just decided to dead it because obviously if I'm not in agreement with just ANYTHING developed I'm being controversial and problematically confrontational.  I thought this forum was about opinions.  :tw_confused:

 

This development is beneath us.  Almost literally.  We can do better.  That's deada$$ all I'm saying.  It's just difficult for me to swallow that not as many people will speak up for their city, at least on a message board, as I thought would.    

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You’re in good company. A lot of us find the developments in the area to be lacking. This just happened to be one many of us liked. It’s all good either way. Disagreements will happen, but they usually remain civil. 

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I mostly agree with ya'll but LOL at calling the landscaped ATM drive through an urban forest. 

There should be a mixed use zoning requirement downtown. Or tax incentive or some financial instrument to encourage it. Not putting retail or commercial on the first floor there is a waste IMO. 

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Whatever lol. Live down there and walk those grounds for 20 yrs and then get back to me on nomenclature. It's a very large, undeveloped, mature, park-like parcel at the Gateway and in the middle of the CBD. There is nothing else like it. To reduce it to a mere "drive-through" is specious. It's way more than that. BOA & its antecedents had an embarrassment of riches in terms of land there. The drive-through is literally a fraction of the parcel in toto. 

IF we must accept Mr. Gadams' proposal for a low/mid-rise development in the heart of the high-rise-laden CBD at the Downtown Gateway, then we simply MUST demand better architecture from him. 

While Mr. Gadams' semi-suburban/faux urban wood-framed box would look fine at Town Center or in Chesapeake's Summit Pointe, it certainly doesn't belong here in Downtown Norfolk:  The financial and cultural epicenter of Hampton Roads. 

In light of the trend-setting, stunning architectural contributions made by The Main, The Slover and the proposed Gateway Tower, mediocrity in design in Downtown should be rejected forevermore. 

With its prominent frontage along Waterside Drive, Mr. Gadams' delivery of superior design with 400 Gravity is critical to sustaining the momentum in Norfolk's architectural renaissance. Surely he should do better than this! 

This design stinks! It's cheap looking and ugly. Boring. Derivative. It's a money grab. Pure and simple. And it sets us back several steps architecturally in terms of the excellent precedent set by the aforementioned recent projects. 

And, yes, Chesapeake, these are all my words. Once again.  Don't ask me why my iPhone produces different fonts in different applications, but shame on everyone here for failing to demand that this entitled developer deliver better architecture here. I sure as hell wish that  Bruce Thompson was in the apartment development game, because I know for a fact, and so too does everyone else here, that he would never put his name on this hot mess. 

Edited by baobabs727
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On 5/2/2020 at 1:19 PM, baobabs727 said:

Well I don't live in Portland lol. This isn't Portlsnd. Everything is relative. And relative to Norfolk's CBD/urban tree canopy sites, this one is an urban forest. It's a fairly large parcel with rolling hills and other mature landscaping as well.  And it's right in the middle of everything. The plot could be bought by Norfolk and upgraded, but that's really not what I'm saying here. My main argument is one similar to the one that you have made here, which is to say that this project, with its extensive and   prominent frontage along the Gateway, should be taller, as well as  much more imaginative, aspirational and handsome in its architecture...if it's going to be developed anyway. 

IMG_5534.PNG

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IMG_5543.PNG

It is a lot with some old trees on it, nothing worth preserving, but you definitely have the right ideas of what should be built on that site. When it comes to a tree lined park, Commercial Park is literally half a block away and has more trees and better designed as a park space downtown.

I think they should also include parallel parking along Waterside Dr, as well as a large sidewalk would be what is needed to encourage people to access that side of the street. I really hope the city doesn't miss out on a possibility for a great design that best creates streetscape activity.

Edited by urbanlife
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Although I like this development, I can see where the location is not the best.  Can this be built on 23rd St? or Monticello Ave.  I would love to see more mid rise buildings on Monticello Ave  or 23rd St.  Maybe this can be built on the Granby Tower plot of empty land?  The Feds may be amenable to a 6 story building.  

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On 2/13/2020 at 10:27 PM, lammius said:

Just a thought

norfolk1.png

Looking at this site again and the placement of the Icon tower, this makes the most sense to have a tower on the eastern side of the site and a 5-7 story platform building taking up the rest of the site because it wouldn't really take away views from the Icon and it would create more units with views to sell or rent in the new tower. It also doesn't have to be as tall as the Icon so the Icon could still have sweeping penthouse views....or the new tower could go big and be the new tallest building in the city and offer its own sweeping penthouse views. Just some thinking big thinking.

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On 5/4/2020 at 1:55 AM, urbanlife said:

It is a lot with some old trees on it, nothing worth preserving, but you definitely have the right ideas of what should be built on that site. When it comes to a tree lined park, Commercial Park is literally half a block away and has more trees and better designed as a park space downtown.

I think they should also include parallel parking along Waterside Dr, as well as a large sidewalk would be what is needed to encourage people to access that side of the street. I really hope the city doesn't miss out on a possibility for a great design that best creates streetscape activity.

Well, at least we agree on the architecture. 

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