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vdogg

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I've been wondering who owns the surrounding parcels (the strip malls and former Piccadilly facing Military Hwy.; the old Chuck E. Cheese, etc.), and how that would be handled. I still want this to be the arena site, with businesses and apartments built on the outlying areas.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Mr. Mayor,      
Honorable Members of Council:

Clearly, Mayor Kenny Alexander tried mightily to retain Nordstrom. He made it his personal task to do so. He told us so in Freemason. 

And yet, he failed.

And then after he failed, he tried to pretend that the matter had been totally out of his hands and that Nordstrom’s departure had essentially been a faît accompli—even before his tenure began!

All Fraim’s fault! Yep. 

Well, isn’t that special?

Now his brilliant, out-of-the-box, market-based (NOT!) solution to filling this hulking failure, all 160K sf of it, is to pack the building with government employees? Seriously?

AS IF that move will generate revenues for City coffers, stimulate the economy, create new jobs and revitalize the mall and DT? 

The establishment of City offices in the former Nordstrom building at MacArthur Center is not the best and highest use of that building and would only further (and wrongly) consolidate and enhance the City’s position and profile as one of the largest office occupants in DT Norfolk. City Government rushing in to fill a void that private industry should be filling, i.e., PRIME, vacant CBD leasable commercial space in a once-vibrant DT, is wrong-headed and ultimately destructive of the micro-economy in retail, service and entertainment, among others. 

The City already occupies ground level offices along Main Street, many of which were formerly retail or service, among offices on nearly every single street and block, including in DT-adjacent.

I understand that many of you are cheerleading this effort. Really? Why?

Are you simply trying to mask the fact that DT is failing in the private sector marketplace? Is that what’s going on here? Nobody wants to occupy these spaces so you just load them up with government workers? 

Quick solutions entice you? Don’t want to do the hard work? Don’t care to endure the extended waiting period that a real search for a suitable replacement or replacements would require? 

In case you’re wondering whether I’m going to propose solutions here rather than just complain, my answer is “yes.”  I shall propose the following:

Bring back the pro-business, job-creating Paul Fraim and the last, great Norfolk City Council. 

Best,

babs matter had been totally out

Edited by baobabs727
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Weren't most of those main street offices filled during Fraim's tenure?

I also just assumed that it would be used until a buyer comes in. "If you've got space, use it!" type of mentality. Might also be hedging their bets that the mall's gonna collapse anyway and they don't wanna lock themselves into a choice before they have to. 

 

At least, that's how I took the news. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Didn’t they try to lure Target, to no avail? I figured that’s just a very difficult spot to fill in the 21st Century, with online shopping being what it is. 

What’s the difference between doing this and Military Circle becoming home to Optima or Movement Mortgage?

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48 minutes ago, BFG said:

Didn’t they try to lure Target, to no avail? I figured that’s just a very difficult spot to fill in the 21st Century, with online shopping being what it is. 

What’s the difference between doing this and Military Circle becoming home to Optima or Movement Mortgage?

The difference? This is a proposal for a city government-owned  bldg to be occupied by city employees.  Optima and Movement are private enterprises paying handsome rents. Additionally, didn’t Movement enter this market as a newly re-located or located venture and create new jobs? Those are big differences. 
 

Who knows what they’ve tried to draw there? They have not been very transparent about what they’ve been doing to market the place and to whom they’ve been trying to market it. 
 

Additionally, it hasn’t been all that long since Nordstrom vacated the property. Everyone knew it would likely take several years to find “someone” or multiple “someones“ for that building.

1 hour ago, Arctic_Tern said:

Weren't most of those main street offices filled during Fraim's tenure?

I also just assumed that it would be used until a buyer comes in. "If you've got space, use it!" type of mentality. Might also be hedging their bets that the mall's gonna collapse anyway and they don't wanna lock themselves into a choice before they have to. 

 

At least, that's how I took the news. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

There’s no way they’re going to spend $10 million or $14 million or whatever to renovate this place and then vacate it anytime soon. 

Edited by baobabs727
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4 hours ago, baobabs727 said:

 

The difference? This is a proposal for a city government-owned  bldg to be occupied by city employees.  Optima and Movement are private enterprises paying handsome rents. Additionally, didn’t Movement enter this market as a newly re-located or located venture and create new jobs? Those are big differences. 
 

Who knows what they’ve tried to draw there? They have not been very transparent about what they’ve been doing to market the place and to whom they’ve been trying to market it. 
 

Additionally, it hasn’t been all that long since Nordstrom vacated the property. Everyone knew it would likely take several years to find “someone” or multiple “someones“ for that building.

There’s no way they’re going to spend $10 million or $14 million or whatever to renovate this place and then vacate it anytime soon. 

Movement was a flop - they’re gone. The city was fortunate Sentara quickly took the space and Movement leaving went largely unnoticed.

I agree that if the city sinks that much into renovations, it’s not a temporary solution. Throwing in the towel after 18 months is a bit premature. Let Starwood’s financial issues shake out and wait for the future of the mall to become a little clearer before going all in on an office conversion. The new build would be 50k SF - they certainly don’t need to convert all 130k SF. 

Edited by Asdfjkl;
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I didn't see the 'renovate for $14MM in lieu of building a whole separate building' part. Yeah, I understand the savings that can be incurred by using this property that way, but I feel like it's not the best use of the land. If MacArthur does shut down eventually (which looks really really really probable) I would hope that the city could use that as an opportunity to break up the parcel, reinstate the grid pattern, and bring in new development that could even further link the new St. Pauls development and downtown.

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I do photography and every so often dabble in video stuff. That would be a perfect studio and creative space. Imagine having a one-stop shop for photo, video, and music needs. Maybe even throw in some theater seating for live events (once the country gets back to normal). Plus, you’re within walking distance of TCC and more importantly, NEON! It would also give production crews another option for film and TV.

If I had deep pockets and access to Timbaland and Pharrell, that’s exactly what I’d use the space for. 

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13 hours ago, Asdfjkl; said:

Movement was a flop - they’re gone. The city was fortunate Sentara quickly took the space and Movement leaving went largely unnoticed.

I agree that if the city sinks that much into renovations, it’s not a temporary solution. Throwing in the towel after 18 months is a bit premature. Let Starwood’s financial issues shake out and wait for the future of the mall to become a little clearer before going all in on an office conversion. The new build would be 50k SF - they certainly don’t need to convert all 130k SF. 

Agreed. It’s like they want some type of victory or notch in their belt or something. It’s odd behavior. These types of deals usually take years to complete, Starwood should be allowed to go through the process of finding their footing first, as well, so the redevelopment of them all can be done in a cohesive and strategic way.  I agree. 

The issue is a small one, but I bring it up because I don’t understand why the Pilot has recently revised history and claimed that the space is only 130,000 ft.². That’s the size of the Richmond store, more or less.  Our store  has always been 166k sf. Weird lol.

BTW, I have heard that they are going to use more than 50,000 ft.² ...but who knows .

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/14/2020 at 3:46 PM, BFG said:

Norfolk could house four city offices at the Nordstrom space: Economic Development, IT, Utilities, and Neighborhood Development. 

https://www.pilotonline.com/government/local/vp-nw-norfolk-nordstrom-city-offices-20201014-k3p7ut2bxzdtpgyzfpmxal3bji-story.html

Death knell for the MacArthur Center. Any major retail center that starts housing city offices is dead. RIP.

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3 hours ago, JPN0731 said:

Death knell for the MacArthur Center. Any major retail center that starts housing city offices is dead. RIP.

If I'm Norfolk, I want to move sooner than later, pandemic and recession or not. I'd hate to see that beautiful interior leveled, but if they could somehow develop this area into the new arena site, and keep some elements like the food court and decor. Sacramento did something similar with its new arena.

https://www.architectmagazine.com/technology/the-sacramento-kings-golden-1-center-sets-a-green-paradigm_o

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  • 1 month later...

Virginian-Pilot; The city purchased Spartan Market and plans to demolish it to open up that lot for redevelopment in Broad Creek.

https://www.pilotonline.com/business/consumer/vp-bz-spartan-market-closes-20201202-yv2myumg7ffjzi4k5hznucpkle-story.html

Edited by BeagleAccountant
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Why are Hampton Roads Cities so enamored with parking lots in the front of buildings?  The Railroad District should have a more urban feel not feel like a suburban Industrial Park.  Hide the Parking behind the building and if there is a street behind the building plant trees to block the parking lot from that street.   All and all this is a nice looking enough development for Lamberts Point/Railroad District.  

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The Retreat at Harbor Pointe was once planned to be a group of mid to high rise buildings at the Campostella Bridge.  When I saw the picture of what is there now I gagged at the 1980s townhouses.  I'm glad something was built there but could it have at least look like a complex built in the 21st century?  Again another new complex in Norfolk with parking lots everywhere.  Would it have killed them to hide the parking lot behind the building.   

https://www.pilotonline.com/news/vp-nw-campostella-homeless-apartments-20201213-m3nxootqs5g4xn2trtkksdyibu-story.html

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Yeah I agree.  I grew up in that neighborhood and used to walk to the Giant open air market when it was open many years ago.  That lot was perfect for a couple high rise residential towers that would have had great waterfront and skyline views.  I too am glad they put something there but it's a wasted opportunity.  And I might add, the civic league had a lot of say in the design of those buildings which is why they look like they do.

Edited by Norf Native
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I will never understand why Norfolk wants to look like Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, while those two cities are building up areas with 10- to 15-story buildings, if not higher. Like...how is Greenbrier of all places becoming more urban than Norfolk?! Does city council not realize that you can still have 200-something units in a tower, then use the leftover land for a garage or a second tower?

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