Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

vdogg

Fort Norfolk Plaza Progress

Recommended Posts

9 stories now? Not on top of the garage? What a horrible waste of prime land for a subpar project. I literally didn't think this thing could get any worse but I see I was wrong. It's simply a stub now, and won't make any impact on the skyline. It'd be better if they didn't build it at all. At any rate, this is being dropped from the "progress list". Hopefully it'll sink to the bottom of the forum where it can die a peaceful death. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I think that it was right to say that Newby is just a pawn for Sentara.

Funny how they are the main tenants!

Just a ploy for them to get taxpayer's money.

I think that the city should shoot this down.

A waste of prime property!! :angry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Deal stinks even worse now. Newby has gotten $51 of the entire $130 million in Enterprise Zone (EZ) Facility Bonds awarded to the Norfolk/Portsmouth Empowerment Zone since 1999 -- $78 million to Norfolk (all obligated) and $52M Portsmouth ($32M unobligated). I could even get past the idea that this area, including West Ghent, is in the Empowerment Zone, if he lived up to the requirements of 35% of the workforce coming from Empowerment Zones. That was a believable number when it included a hotel - plenty of low skill, entry level jobs in a hotel. Now that it doesn't, will the Norfolk EDA ask for the $51M in taxpayer subsidized bonds back? Will he meet the 35% requirement by only leasing to West Ghent resident doctors? Who will monitor the compliance with this, or will it just be ignored? Since the city pretty much gives Sentara whatever they want, my money is on the latter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely not the best use of land. The project design was horrible anyway. It looked like Alcatraz and I have a feeling it'll only get worse in an effort to decrease cost in this type of market. I agree, Norfolk should hold off until a better opportunity comes along. If I'm giving the land away, I want to make sure I'm getting something great in return for the citizens of Norfolk, not another subpar office building.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish I could get city subsidies to build a project. Norfolk needs some modest apartments near downtown to keep the younger crowd around. Anyone ever go down to Cruzers or Tortilla West in West Ghent? The drinks are cheap and there is typically a good weekend crowd.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is a disappointment, but in this case, less is less ugly. I wish that everyone involved could step back, think about the potential demand for medical and related office space, then build something that makes sense. As things stand, a 9 story medical office building will probably be demolished and replaced by a 9 story office building of similar size. While this would free up space for future hospital expansion, is it the best plan for the Sentara medical empire? I would think that a larger replacement office building would make more sense, but I have no special knowledge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is a disappointment, but in this case, less is less ugly. I wish that everyone involved could step back, think about the potential demand for medical and related office space, then build something that makes sense. As things stand, a 9 story medical office building will probably be demolished and replaced by a 9 story office building of similar size. While this would free up space for future hospital expansion, is it the best plan for the Sentara medical empire? I would think that a larger replacement office building would make more sense, but I have no special knowledge.

Sentara is the biggest client for this thing, why don't they just build the office building on one of their numerous parking lots they have in their complex? Second, how is something non residential and mainly a hospital area going to spur development in that area? Third, who is going to a jazz bar when there is nothing else there? And come on, this is prime water view land, why are they going to let this dominate the view?

Norfolk should focus on apartments. Apartments. APARTMENTS.

same with the beach for that matter. This area needs to get younger!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Comments on this project (and others) are leading me to the idea that little, individual projects in a vacuum aren't always the best way to redevelop communities. If anything, I question the strength and the vision of Sentara's leadership. They obviously want to free up their parking lots for more capital expansion, but they haven't taken into account the issues that could make a community thrive. Jazz clubs, hotels and residences would be nice additions to the "Atlantic City" development, as well as some local shopping opportunities, transit stops, waterfront walkways and a park. Sentara has the deep pockets and the ability to help make this happen, but leaving it up to one heart surgeon who can open a doorway to some minority investment isn't the answer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Comments on this project (and others) are leading me to the idea that little, individual projects in a vacuum aren't always the best way to redevelop communities. If anything, I question the strength and the vision of Sentara's leadership. They obviously want to free up their parking lots for more capital expansion, but they haven't taken into account the issues that could make a community thrive. Jazz clubs, hotels and residences would be nice additions to the "Atlantic City" development, as well as some local shopping opportunities, transit stops, waterfront walkways and a park. Sentara has the deep pockets and the ability to help make this happen, but leaving it up to one heart surgeon who can open a doorway to some minority investment isn't the answer.

I agree. I've said before that Norfolk needs a new approach, and that is allowing a developer to create a master plan. They should allow firms from all over the country to participate in an RFP process and pick the best master plan. This would allow a developer to take advantage of economies of scale and do grander, bolder projects that would not have financially worked just given a single project. This needs to happen for Fort Norfolk and most importantly Saint Pauls.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sentara has the deep pockets and the ability to help make this happen, but leaving it up to one heart surgeon who can open a doorway to some minority investment isn't the answer.

Of course Sentara has the pockets to make this happen. Look at their profit margins at their hospitals in Hampton and VB -- 7% on revenues of over $1.5B total. Even Norfolk General ran 3% on $1.1B. That isn't the issue. The issue is that they put Keith Newby on this as the "face" -- to get $51M in empowerment zone facility bonds. The desire wasn't to get "some minority investment" -- the desire was to play the racial politics game since it appeared Johnson was doing it so well on the Hilton project. And on a minor detail, Newby isn't a surgeon -- he is a cardiologist. Who just happens to be the gatekeeper for heart patients to be referred to Sentara's heart hospital for surgery. Wonder how many he would send some place else if he is in bed with them on this office building?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Norfolk should focus on apartments. Apartments. APARTMENTS.

same with the beach for that matter. This area needs to get younger!

I think I have said before that I am a fan of Richard Florida's work. His new book, "Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life" is interesting -- here is a synopsis from Publisher's Weekly:

Choosing a spouse and choosing a career are important life decisions-but perhaps even more predictive of our all-round personal happiness is our choice of living location, argues Florida (The Rise of the Creative Class) in this informative if somewhat dry tome. As globalization makes the world effectively smaller, economic growth concentrates in certain mega-regions of large superstar cities, leaving other regions in the proverbial dust. The areas where we live are also affected by our increasingly mobile culture, housing priorities that change as we age (from starter homes to family-friendly suburbs to empty nests and finally retirement centers) and the global economy.
How this area gets younger isn't in the housing stock -- it is in the types of employment available here. Until we grow an employment base that will attract young people, all of the multi-family housing stock won't do squat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few years ago, the focus of Fort Norfolk redevelopment was a proposal to create a medical and scientific research center. That would have brought in some bright, young minds. Some of them might have even been....creative? I wish that that project would reappear as a core idea. As a full community concept, it could be jointly planned by Sentara, EVMS, perhaps ODU and the City (and others). Newby's project would be a small component of this community plan, along with the next phase of Harbor's Edge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A few years ago, the focus of Fort Norfolk redevelopment was a proposal to create a medical and scientific research center. That would have brought in some bright, young minds. Some of them might have even been....creative? I wish that that project would reappear as a core idea.
That is a great idea. How I would pursue it would be to bring VMASC and EMTASC in and focus on medical and emergency modeling and simulation. Perfect location -- sort of a medical corollary to the MAST center on the C'peake PTown line. That is something that empowerment zone loan subsidies should pay for --- not for medical office buildings that would get built anyway. Who is the beneficiary of under-market rate loans to build a medical arts building? The doctors that pay rent? The patients, who get lower charges as a result? The taxpayer? Or the developer, who charges market rates, and pockets the difference? Take a guess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, a 9-story medical center with parking garage. The least they could have done was to put the garage under the tower instead of wasting all that space! <_<

The architecture on this project has gone from awesome to blah but its better than another hole in the ground.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm no longer of the "better than another hole in the ground" camp. Yes, another project for Norfolk to put down on the books and perhaps the complex will create a few jobs. But the price of developable land is so scarce in Norfolk; we

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fully understand the need to bring in new development into Norfolk no matter the cost, but they sure could have done a much better job with Ft. Norfolk Plaza. I agree with vtfan the development could have at least put the parking garage underneath the building and camouflaged it to look like the rest of the building. I just cannot stand to see above ground parking garages blocking the view of the main edifice. One of the the drawbacks to our Nationals Stadium is an ugly parking garage blocking the side view of the stadium as you approach it from the direction of the capitol. Don't developers understand that parking garages take away from the look of thier buildings and therefore could effect leasing. I wonder if a survey has ever been done to gauge the effect of poor design on office leasing rates?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Portsmouth's execrable waterfront jail and courts complex might have been a lesson for the area in how not to develop a city's most valuable real estate. I've never been especially pleased with any of the designs for this project, but this is, far and away, the worst yet. Why?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The architecture on this project has gone from awesome to blah but its better than another hole in the ground.

When was it ever awesome? Remember this blog calling it a penitentiary? Actually, the exterior has gone from what I thought was mostly concrete (with some glass) to mostly brick. This will make it look more like Harbor's Edge, which in my opinion is an attractive building. Sure, it would be nice to have something more impressive, but you have to remember cost is a factor. As is immediate need.

As for better use of the land, I think if we waited for something else to go here, we'd be waiting several years. This project was slated for a medical building all along. That's what pushed it forward. Count me in on the "rather have that than a hole" camp.

What I find amusing are the comments on pilotonline. More comments about this than anything else. Why? Because it gives the goold ole boys who figured out how to post a chance to vent about City Council. What's the saying? Small minds talk about people. Big minds talk about ideas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trying to subdue my frustration with this horrible looking building, I can't help but laugh when I realize this building is a modern day version of Bobby Wright's property at 517 Front St in Fort Norfolk. It somehow reminds me of that big abandoned warehouse. I'll honestly be surprised if anyone praises this building for its design. Unfortunately, the lady commenting on the Pilot article doesn't realize, we're not against the building's use, we just hate the design!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.