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scm

just say no to Craney Island expansion

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I was sailing on the Elizabeth this weekend, between Willoughby Spit and downtown, and was staring at Craney Island, and back at all of the development lining both sides of the river, and had several thoughts:

1. I have had the good fortune to visit cities across the globe -- port cities, cities on rivers, urban cities, you name it. Port cities fall in two categories -- port dominates the city (LeHavre, Rotterdam, Yokohama, Oakland, Pusan, Kobe/Osaka) or the port is outside the urban core, while the urban core is still connected to the water (Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, San Diego). I will promise you, that anyone would rather live in the latter than the former.

2. It continues to amaze me how disconnected we (especially Norfolk -- less Portsmouth) are from the water. From Sewell's Point to downtown, there are few human connections to the river -- Navy Base to NIT to Larchmont to Coal Piers to Marine Hydraulics to Plum Point Park to JH Miles Clam Processing to the Corps HQ to derelict piers in Atlantic City -- then a stretch of residential in Freemason down to Town Point. Industrial starts again at Metro Machine to NORSHIPCO. Cross to P Town back to Hospital Point to Earl Industries to PMT to BASF plant to new Maersk terminal to Craney Island Fuel Depot to Craney Island.

3. Think about that list, and how much of it is industrial. Then, think about how much of it generates no taxes -- between the Navy and VPA, almost all of it. Larchmont, Admiral's Landing, and Freemason are the only residential connection to the water. Yes, I know that the development planned in the Fort Norfolk (Atlantic City) area will up that %.

4. Then think about what makes Norfolk different from, say, Wichita Falls, TX? Not much, except the water. What do we have to offer if we are so disconnected from the water? The world is changing from an industrial age to a knowledge age, yet our biggest asset is consumed by an industrial age use (and one that generates almost no taxes, thanks to gov't entity ownership). Knowledge age jobs can exist almost anywhere -- that's why Hollywood script writers live in Santa Fe. By building a community that is connected -- living and working -- to the water, we can improve our chances of attracting knowledge age jobs.

5. We pay a horrible price for having surrendered our shore line to industrial uses. Traffic congestion -- of the 1.8 million TEUs that moved through the port, only 22% moved by rail. That means almost 1.5 million TEUs compete with us on our streets -- we have a residential boulevard (Hampton) that is clogged with truck traffic. And how many jobs, and at what pay, does the VPA generate? The new Maersk terminal will employ 225 people. I know there are other jobs tied to the increased container flow (mainly truck driver jobs), but the question is, at what price?

6. The Navy won't go away. Even if the fleet continues to shrink, NOB will stay the same size. The coal pier at Lambert's Point won't go away. NNSY won't go away. VPA won't shrink. So what does that leave to create a human connection to the water that will allow us to attract knowledge age jobs? (if you stayed with me this long, you now are rewarded with my point)

The current Craney Island plan needs to be modified to allow all of the private ship repair facilities now lining the Elizabeth to move, over time, to new locations on Craney Island. The current plan places the third crossing roads off shore across the northern edge, and VPA expansion consumes the east edge. The plan needs to be re-worked to allow all of them -- NORSHIPCO, Metro Machine, Earl Industries, MHI -- to move to Craney Island. Can you just imagine how well the Metro Machine site would look re-done as mixed use? MHI and the finger piers in Ghent now something like Chicago's Navy Pier?

The problem with so much of Norfolk's coast line is that the view is of a floating dry dock! We are buying a weekday home in P Town. Dropped Admiral's Landing from the choices because of the industrial view. That's why Freemason works -- the Hospital is a great view. Fort Norfolk will be a great addition -- the wonderful piece of land JH Miles sits on will make a wonderful hotel site. The planned marinas will bring a San Diego Shelter/Harbor Island feel. They just need to look at a mixed use lining all of the north shore of Scott's Creek, vice a ship repair facility and stored Navy ships (which can really be stored anywhere).

Again, I don't want the jobs to go away -- the land at Craney Island will work fine. But it will allow Norfolk to create more human connection to the water, and in the process, attract more, higher paying jobs.

Glad to be here -- hope I add something to the discussion.

Scott

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Some very valid points. But in Norfolk and Portsmouth, the industrial views are also seen as an asset. That is partly why they placed Harbor Park on the riverfront facing some of that area. But there are developments occuring in some areas that are reclaiming the waterfront from outdated industrial uses. South Norfolk will be experiencing some of that development, as well as Atlantic City, and areas south of downtown Portsmouth. Keep in mind that reclaiming industrial areas takes an enormous amount of time and resources for cleanups, soil testing, and demolition. Large scale projects will be the only way to reclaim most of these areas since cleanup is so expensive, and those types of proposals aren't exactly flying down the pipeline. Norfolk and Portsmouth could definitely do a better job of linking waterfronts with greenways, biking, and hiking trails but the Craney Island expansion is necessary to keep the area economy growing and competitive.

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"but the Craney Island expansion is necessary to keep the area economy growing and competitive"

vaceltic -- I will admit large gaps in my knowledge in this area. I just don't understand how giving up all of our urban shoreline that VPA wants will "keep the area economy growing and competitive." According to HREDA data, VPA is #49 employer in HR -- 1,550 employees. It just seems like the ROI isn't there, especially for a fairly small employer, that consumes irreplacable assets (urban shoreline), and doesn't increase the tax base.

Am I missing something here? I see 800 employees at the WalMart import center, and 540 at CostPlus. Obviously, those jobs exist because of the port. But how many jobs will come from expanding Craney Island? And at what cost?

Scott

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"but the Craney Island expansion is necessary to keep the area economy growing and competitive"

vaceltic -- I will admit large gaps in my knowledge in this area. I just don't understand how giving up all of our urban shoreline that VPA wants will "keep the area economy growing and competitive." According to HREDA data, VPA is #49 employer in HR -- 1,550 employees. It just seems like the ROI isn't there, especially for a fairly small employer, that consumes irreplacable assets (urban shoreline), and doesn't increase the tax base.

Am I missing something here? I see 800 employees at the WalMart import center, and 540 at CostPlus. Obviously, those jobs exist because of the port. But how many jobs will come from expanding Craney Island? And at what cost?

Scott

Acutally the ports are taxable. The navy is not taxable. The cities are receiving alot of tax dollars from this. No. of employees don't determine what they bring in for taxable dollars. By the way welcome to the forum. :D

Also those are direct employees of the port. There are other businesses that flourish from the port. Look at what will happen when Ford closes. It won't just be direct ford employees loosing their jobs.

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The environmental costs of such large-scale developments are staggering. I dont believe Buckroe Beach and portions of Virginia Beach being closed to swimming are unrelated to these types of developments but I guess state and city leaders who spearheaded the creation of Craney Island see the benefits outweighing the costs somehow. Zim-American's relocation of their HQ is attributed to our port and they provide many high paying executive positions. I'm sure their are many ripple affects that the port has on our economy that I am not fully aware of...

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The environmental costs of such large-scale developments are staggering. I dont believe Buckroe Beach and portions of Virginia Beach being closed to swimming are unrelated to these types of developments but I guess state and city leaders who spearheaded the creation of Craney Island see the benefits outweighing the costs somehow. Zim-American's relocation of their HQ is attributed to our port and they provide many high paying executive positions. I'm sure their are many ripple affects that the port has on our economy that I am not fully aware of...

CMA also moved their North American HQ in Norfolk by Airport Hilton. It has a big impact on this area in multiple ways. Also, ports attract businesses.

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CMA also moved their North American HQ in Norfolk by Airport Hilton. It has a big impact on this area in multiple ways. Also, ports attract businesses.

I believe that is also where Zim-American is.

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I don't get what you are saying? You don't want the Craney Island project period or just modified? I'm sure there will be a million focus groups and committees formed to address the people's concerns before the project begins, but as a project, Craney Island expansion is absolutely needed.

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"Acutally the ports are taxable. The navy is not taxable. The cities are receiving alot of tax dollars from this. No. of employees don't determine what they bring in for taxable dollars. By the way welcome to the forum."

From the VPA web site:

"The Virginia Port Authority is an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia, reporting to the Secretary of Transportation. It is the state's leading agency for international transportation and maritime commerce, charged with operating and marketing the marine terminal facilities through which the shipping trade takes place.

The agency owns four general cargo terminals-Norfolk International Terminals, Portsmouth Marine Terminal, Newport News Marine Terminal, and the Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal-which are operated by its affiliate, Virginia International Terminals, Inc."

So you are telling me that an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia pays taxes on the terminals that they own? Just like VDOT pays taxes on the roads? You say that the cities "are receiving alot of tax dollars from this." How much? Again, I could be wrong, but someone has to come up with a $$$ figure in taxes paid. You all may accept this as an article of faith, but that doesn't make it correct.

For me this is pretty simple -- would you rather live in LeHavre or Rotterdam, or Singapore or Shanghai? Guess which two Norfolk looks more like, and will look more like if all Craney Island is, is more container docks?

Scott

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They contract out the space for shipping companies to operate with. Those payments are split between the state and city similar to the way taxes are collected.

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Craney Island was transformed from an island/bar off Portsmouth shore into a massive dredged sediment depository. This facility is not public parkland. It is intended to continue operating as a depository for decades to come. Therefore, expanding the facility in order to build a new superport does not take anything away form the public. Part of the expanded port plan is the Third Crossing. That roadway will remove trucks from Hampton Blvd. In addition, VPA and Maersk in conjunction with CSX are pushing for a railline in Portsmouth free of at-grade crossings to keep the port from interfering with lives of local residnets.

How did a riverfront become a coastline? Norfolk's coastline is along Ocean View and is free of industrial facilities (unless you want to count the Amphib Base). Still, I'm trying to understand the problem with having an industrialized waterfront. Long Beach has an industrialized waterfront and people are moving into new downtown high-rises which overlook the port. San Pedro in Los Angeles is starting to feel the pressure of luxury condo developers although it sits next to the Port of LA. And even in San Diego, which was mentioned, people who live in ritzy Coronado get to see the naval base and port in addition to the downtown high-rises from their windows. I really don't get "the anti-port expansion because it's not pretty" argument. Where else would you build the port? The Eastern Shore? The Northern Neck? That makes no economic sense and would spoil natural habitat. Craney Island is man-made habitat. The only issue should be the disturbance of one of the cleanest parts of the Elizabeth caused by eastward expansion. If this point was argued, I'd actually listen.

As for pollution, the ports aren't the cause of Virginia Beach's beach closures. Buckroe may be affected by the ports but then again, why aren't Ocean View or Chick's Beach affected as well? Urban runoff and sewer outfalls are the primary cause of beach closures. I'd start my investigation by examing localized urban runoff (during wet and dry events), current patterns, and effluent from HRSD's Dam Neck and Little Creek WWTPs.

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"Craney Island... It is intended to continue operating as a depository for decades to come"

from the 6/25 VP: "The $2.2 billion project ... calls for the first phase of the terminal to open in 2017" So make that "decade" -- as in one -- to come -- and the planning needs to start now.

"How did a riverfront become a coastline? Norfolk's coastline is along Ocean View"

I was talking about urban coastline -- the one with potential for mixed use. Ocean View is residential -- I am talking about one with offices, where people consider part of their quality of life the setting of their work environment -- with commercial and residential. Certainly, East Beach is leading a stunning comeback for Ocean View -- but there is no office development in the forseeable future.

"Long Beach has an industrialized waterfront and people are moving into new downtown high-rises which overlook the port."

Yes, and no -- the LB high rise development is going east of 710, and while some of the port can be seen, most of the view is over the marina and the beach.

"And even in San Diego, which was mentioned, people who live in ritzy Coronado get to see the naval base and port in addition to the downtown high-rises from their windows."

This is just flat wrong (don't try this one on the guy on worked on Coronado for six years). The view from Coronado is to the northeast -- downtown. The only part that can see the Navy base, and the miniscule port, is from the golf course. Not exactly waterfront property.

"I really don't get "the anti-port expansion because it's not pretty" argument. Where else would you build the port? "

I wouldn't expand the port unless the industrial uses are moved out of downtown. The finite asset, called waterfront property (certainly something well understood in Newport Beach!) is too valuable to tossed away on property that produces a small number of jobs, and no tax base. Much better spent on mixed use development, that attracts higher quality knowledge based jobs (one of the real problems here is the low per capita income), in a greater number than usage as docks.

Scott

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The depository isn't going to close when the proposed port opens up in 2017. It will continue operating. HR is the only port on the East Coast with 50 foot channels. NY/NJ can't deepen theirs because of environmental concerns. Charleston is having a hell of a time get permission to deepen theirs since they just deepened to 47 feet. HR will continue to grow as a center of commerce.

LB's downtown still borders the port and offices as well as residences have views of the port. Not all windows look over the oil islands in the harbor and the beach that's too polluted to swim at.

Condos on the Silver Strand overlook the Amphib Base there and the resort just of the Coronado Bridge overlooks industrial waterfront. And why is okay for a fancy golf course to overlook industrial sites? Pebble Beach and Trump National don't do that. But looking at everything, I'll give you San Diego. The industrialized waterfront is well-hidden from residents. However, the Port of San Diego handles less than 5 million tons of cargo and about 100,000 TEUs, while HR handles over 50 million tons of cargo and almost 2 million TEUs. Norfolk Naval Base is also the largest in the world, meaning it's larger than San Diego's Naval Base. To ask HR to be like SD is laugable. HR is far more vital to shipping and national defense than San Diego.

Are you aware how much dockworkers make? Thanks to their union, they make more than your average knowledge-based job. Crane operators make over $100,000. They may be blue collar but they're not poor. As for requiring a fancy waterfront to attract white collar jobs, that's hogwash. Is RTP in Raleigh collapsing because it doesn't have waterfront property? Hampton has a nice downtown waterfront but all the high-tech jobs on the Peninsula are at Oyster Point and the Hampton Roads Center Park. Even VB is developing itself Town Center in Pembroke, not the Oceanfront/ Rudee Inlet area. Even NN is slowly starting to redevelop its downtown. NN's main problem, though, is that most businesses are in Oyster Point.

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I must agree that expansion and deeper channel depth is needed. That means more jobs because the new era supertankers can only call on ports with channel depths of 45 feet or greater. It seems HR is positioning itself for port supremecy. Every state can't have a RTP. On the flip side every state can't have the port resources HR has and can expand to give. I wish NC would be having this argument. The only thing we can hope for is HR to continue to grow until the point that the infrastructure can't keep up and maybe we can take some of those ships off your hands.......just unitl you guys expand some more of course.

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They contract out the space for shipping companies to operate with. Those payments are split between the state and city similar to the way taxes are collected.

All of you who think that VPA pays taxes need to read the report of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission of the General Assembly:

"The host localities forgo a substantial amount of direct local tax revenue

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"Condos on the Silver Strand overlook the Amphib Base there and the resort just of the Coronado Bridge overlooks industrial waterfront."

Selective viewpoint -- 1/2 of the Taco Towers overlook the beach, and the other half overlook the Glorietta Bay Marina. They might be able to see the Amphib base in the distance, but "overlook"? -- no way. Believe me, I flew over them for years.

"Norfolk Naval Base is also the largest in the world, meaning it's larger than San Diego's Naval Base. To ask HR to be like SD is laugable. HR is far more vital to shipping and national defense than San Diego."

Unlike in some things, size here doesn't matter (grin) -- defense "vitality" equals #s of ships. Norfolk -- 60, San Diego -- 52. Basically a wash. Both cities lose valuable property to federal installations -- only Norfolk makes it worse by tying up even more in non-taxed state property.

"Are you aware how much dockworkers make? Thanks to their union, they make more than your average knowledge-based job. Crane operators make over $100,000."

The issue isn't how much one person makes -- the issue is the value of the land that is tied up, with no taxes paid on the real, or personal property. 3000 ft. of container wharf, with office buildings instead, can house hundreds of workers, whose total wages will be multiples of what workers on that wharf make. Just read the General Assembly's own Commission. Norfolk and Portsmouth are getting screwed. What other ports can or can't do is immaterial to the impact on the taxpayers of those two cities due to valuable land being tied up. It is time for it to stop by recapturing the waterfront property currently being for industrial uses by moving them to Craney Island.

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The cities are not getting screwed. Those people tend to live in the cities and spend money in the cities. They have warehouses in the cities. It brings alot to the table that you are lacking to mention. Those wages are a issue because they generate lots of tax revenue in the economy. These ports help to bring the cruise ship business here. Those ports bring in jobs for the dry docks.

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"Condos on the Silver Strand overlook the Amphib Base there and the resort just of the Coronado Bridge overlooks industrial waterfront."

Selective viewpoint -- 1/2 of the Taco Towers overlook the beach, and the other half overlook the Glorietta Bay Marina. They might be able to see the Amphib base in the distance, but "overlook"? -- no way. Believe me, I flew over them for years.

"Norfolk Naval Base is also the largest in the world, meaning it's larger than San Diego's Naval Base. To ask HR to be like SD is laugable. HR is far more vital to shipping and national defense than San Diego."

Unlike in some things, size here doesn't matter (grin) -- defense "vitality" equals #s of ships. Norfolk -- 60, San Diego -- 52. Basically a wash. Both cities lose valuable property to federal installations -- only Norfolk makes it worse by tying up even more in non-taxed state property.

"Are you aware how much dockworkers make? Thanks to their union, they make more than your average knowledge-based job. Crane operators make over $100,000."

The issue isn't how much one person makes -- the issue is the value of the land that is tied up, with no taxes paid on the real, or personal property. 3000 ft. of container wharf, with office buildings instead, can house hundreds of workers, whose total wages will be multiples of what workers on that wharf make. Just read the General Assembly's own Commission. Norfolk and Portsmouth are getting screwed. What other ports can or can't do is immaterial to the impact on the taxpayers of those two cities due to valuable land being tied up. It is time for it to stop by recapturing the waterfront property currently being for industrial uses by moving them to Craney Island.

And Norfolk has 5 aircraft carriers to SD's 2. And what happened to Miramar and Top Gun? Oh, they moved to Lemoore near Fresno. And which city is in a financial and political mess? That would be San Diego. But San Diego has over a million people, a strong biotech industry, 2 pro teams, and an exploding downtown.

How are dockworker wages not an issue? You made it an issue when you stated that the area lacks high paying jobs and that the ports are responsible for that.

Then there's the issue brough up about NORSHIPCO and the like. They are clustered there because Norfolk Naval Shipyard is located there and has been since 1767. NORSHIPCO has been there since 1915. You plan on changing this?

Anyway, the real issue at hand is would HR be better off if all this waterfront property weren't tied up in non-tax revenue generating uses. If it is, that would mean that all that land would have to be put to commercial and residential use. Where would you get all those people and businesses? HR is not hampered by its industrialized waterfront but by a lack of a through freeway and a non-promotional state. Portsmouth and Norfolk are further hurt by the Dillon Rule.

Furthermore, if an industrialized waterfront were prohibitive to the development of a city and damaging to its financial stability, then Baltimore and Phily should be struggling as well.

Scott, you said you lived in SD. Where do you currently live and do you have any connections to NC's proposed port or Charleston and Savannah's port expansions? Or are you a resident of Portsmouth? You seem to be awfully interested in HR's port as it is the only board on which you're posting.

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I was sailing on the Elizabeth this weekend, between Willoughby Spit and downtown, and was staring at Craney Island, and back at all of the development lining both sides of the river, and had several thoughts...

I'll start by addressing you're first post, and I apologize if I repeat anything someone else said. You have some valid arguments about the costs associated with being a port city. Increased traffic, increased pollution, and the consumption of large tracts of waterfront space are real issues which cannot be dismissed. However, we must also consider the historical and economic reasons for the current situation we find in Hampton Roads.

As you point out, cities such as Shanghai, Singapore, and San Diego all have large waterfront commercial and residental development. But they also have something else in common, all of those cities have experienced their heaviest development over the last 40-50 years. Hampton Roads, Rotterdam, et al. by comparison, have much longer histories as port facilities. These historical developments have an overwhelming influence on where certain industries are currently located. Yokohama, for all intents and purposes, is the port city of Tokyo (it could be said to rest outside the urban core of Tokyo). I therefore don't consider its later development to be indicative of the others mentioned.

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Craney Island:

Craney Island, as we now know it, exists only because of the industrial development further down the river which required deeper channels. Had those industries not been there, Craney Island would still be some low tidal marshlands and river bottom. The proposed Virginia Port Authority terminal would not build on the existing surface (beyond what would be necessary for infrastructure), but rather it would be created on top of an eastern expansion of the site. Thus, Craney Island would remain as a depository for sediment and god know what else for the next 25 years.

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Moving the industrial assets to Craney Island:

Unfortunately, you are living in a dream world here. You can't just pickup a dry dock and float it on the river (not these anyway). The cost to build a new drydock, machining, and shipbuilding facilities would put these companies out of business. The cost to clean up the current contaminated sites for use as commercial or residental zoning would almost certainly be more than any amount the city could ever recoup in property taxes. It would almost certainly require large amounts of federal government money to make anything you propose happen. Even if you could teleport all of South Norfolk to Craney Island, you would still have the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the VEPCO coal power plant, the fertilizer plant, and many other industries along the river which would not be moving under almost any circumstance.

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Direct Jobs from the Port:

In 2000, the ODU economics department analysed this and came to a figure of about 8,000 direct jobs and another 22,000 indirect (distributors, support facilities, etc). Since that time, many new facilities have opened and the total direct and indirect jobs is probably closer to 35,000.

As of 2005, the military in Hampton Roads was responsible for 36% of it total regional product. So even though the jets are based at Oceana are on land, they wouldn't be here if the port and Navy base didn't also exist here. The hospital could arguably be located somewhere else, but the cost of acquiring the land for Navy would almost certainly be negated by the need to establish a completely new base elsewhere.

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Tax Revenue:

On the VPA terminals, the cities collect no property taxes. All of the tax revenue comes from indirect sources. Of course, since the VPA is a state owned intentity and part of its revenues go to the state, it could be seen to indirectly fund local city budgets. The proposed terminal on Craney Island would cost close to $2 billion over the life of the project, a boon for local construction companies.

The New Maesrk Terminal is projected to directly give Portsmouth $5 million per year in property taxes and another $5-10 million to the state. Also, Portsmouth will reap one-time revenues of $2 million for dredging fees. The terminal cost $400 million to build. However, if it had not been built it is difficult to say how much, if any other project would have been proposed, that project/s would cost, so we'll call this awash.

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Other concerns:

Yes, only 20% of the port's containers are shipped out by rail, but that is only part of the story. Coal is brought in exclusively via rail and constitutes a significant amount of the port's business, and going forward there are plans to increase the percentage of containers going out by rail. If a third crossing were built which contained a rail line, this would almost certainly happen.

Knowledge based jobs are an issue. However, rather than waste resources trying to move an industrial site, it would be FAR better spent improving our secondary institutions. That would do more to help attract high paying jobs than anything else. To some degree this finally seems to be getting addressed with the some of the capital projects going on at ODU and NSU. Model simulation seems to be an area where the region could prove to be a national leader, but the local universities need to attract top talent, and you do that with having first rate research facilities and competitive pay.

I'd type more but I need to sleep... Maybe I will later today.

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Glassoul, you could turn that in as a discertation on the complexities of the economics of Hampton Roads and Virginia ports and their ties to the state-wide economy. Nicely done.

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-------------------------------------------

Craney Island:

Craney Island, as we now know it, exists only because of the industrial development further down the river which required deeper channels. Had those industries not been there, Craney Island would still be some low tidal marshlands and river bottom. The proposed Virginia Port Authority terminal would not build on the existing surface (beyond what would be necessary for infrastructure), but rather it would be created on top of an eastern expansion of the site. Thus, Craney Island would remain as a depository for sediment and god know what else for the next 25 years.

--------------------------------------------

Moving the industrial assets to Craney Island:

Unfortunately, you are living in a dream world here. You can't just pickup a dry dock and float it on the river (not these anyway). The cost to build a new drydock, machining, and shipbuilding facilities would put these companies out of business. The cost to clean up the current contaminated sites for use as commercial or residental zoning would almost certainly be more than any amount the city could ever recoup in property taxes. It would almost certainly require large amounts of federal government money to make anything you propose happen. Even if you could teleport all of South Norfolk to Craney Island, you would still have the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the VEPCO coal power plant, the fertilizer plant, and many other industries along the river which would not be moving under almost any circumstance.

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Glassoul --

All good stuff -- I learned something. However, perhaps we are talking a little past each other. NORSHIPCO might not be feasible to move. But Metro Machine has two dry docks -- one floating, and perfectly capable of being moved. And the property there is much more valuable because of the principal law of RE -- location, location, location. MHI built their dock in the last five years, and it is nothing that isn't replacable in a new location. Same thing for Earl Industries. That land on both sides of the Elizabeth River is much more valuable in that stretch than down as you correctly point out across from NNSY.

There are two main issues to me -- yield on valuable assets against commensurate impact on city services, and employment diversification, including wage growth. Bending over every time VPA says "grow" negatively impacts both of these. ODUs study may, or may not be correct -- let's assume it is. Stihl certainly wouldn't be here w/o a port, and the same is true for the WalMart and CostPlus warehouses. Unfortunately, none of that is in the cities that bear the cost of the ports and the impact on city services. I just don't think either city is agressive enough in pushing back, or in creatively looking for ways to make the elements of the port that leave the gates to pay their fair share. For instance, why not block trucks over a certain gross weight from Hampton Blvd? If not 24/7, then how about during rush hours? I just get a feeling that everybody in HR worships at the altar of VPA (look at some of the comments here). This isn't a race to build the largest port on the East Coast -- it is to build a city with an adequate tax base, a diverse work force with high wages, and in the meantime, build a livable city. Giving away finite, valuable resources to a tax exempt entity that further negativly impacts quality of life, is a losing proposition.

Intersting observations on the economic future. I know plenty of folks hang their hat on M&S, but it will be years before that pays off. The center of DOD M&S is Orlando, and will be for years. UCF's masters in M&S gets Army officers, on the Army's nickel. AF Agency for M&S, Army Program Exec Office, and Naval Air Systems Command all have M&S offices in Orlando, and all have acquisition authority (means they can spend money). Nothing like that here, and Joint Forces Command will never buy M&S in the volumes the services will.

Better plan is to convince defense contractors to move their jobs that don't require frequent customer contact from NoVa to here. Fairfax R/E is going for around $36/sq. ft NNN, while it is around $14-16 here. And, you can hire that same engineer with a clearance here for $95K, while he will cost you $115K in NoVa. That can happen right now, and wouldn't it be attractive to put them by the hundreds in brand new offices overlooking the Elizabeth River?

Scott

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Better plan is to convince defense contractors to move their jobs that don't require frequent customer contact from NoVa to here. Fairfax R/E is going for around $36/sq. ft NNN, while it is around $14-16 here. And, you can hire that same engineer with a clearance here for $95K, while he will cost you $115K in NoVa. That can happen right now, and wouldn't it be attractive to put them by the hundreds in brand new offices overlooking the Elizabeth River?

Scott

:blink: Cmon were talking about the feds. If something makes sense they run the other way. This whole argument is pointless. Time for a reality check, THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN!

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What is being proposed is a radical change to a conservative area with finite resources. If industrial/shipbuilding companies are to move from the "valuable" waterfront to the "non-valuable" waterfront, they're not going to pay for the move. They will demand that the government does. And because the government is forcing the move (Kelo case?), who will be responsible for clean-up of the industrial site? The evicted companies will argue that they shouldn't since they were forced off their property. Now we're starting to test the limits of CERCLA and the Kelo v. Connecticut verdict.

So, the government is saddled with the moving and clean-up costs. Maybe the clean-up costs can be footed by the developers who will buy that land who in turn will pass that onto the consumers. How much will rents go up by? The $14-16 figure applies to the burbs. Downtown and TC Class A goes for $20-25 and is rising. Imagine how much a new Class A tower on the Elizabeth, whose owners had to pay for moving and clean-up, will go for.

What makes HR attractive to relocating defense contractors and engineering firms are the low costs. Low costs that are possible by locating in northern Suffolk, Greenbriar, JCC, or Lynnhaven. High priced real estate is taken mainly by banks, insurance, investment firms, and lawyers.

So if the goal is to attract technology firms, which is the current direction, then the existing model is best suited for that. If the goal is to grab banking and investment HQs,;which is unlikely considering equal cost areas such as Charlotte, Birmingham, Richmond, and Baltimore are way ahead of HR in those areas; then a fancy riverfront district is the right direction. From what I see, the economic and environmental costs of relocating waterfront industry to remote locations outweighs the possible economic gain of high priced commercial and residential real estate.

To that end, such a transition will occur based on the free market. If a site is more valuable as a commercial site then the purchaser/developer will petition the city for zoning changes. We have seen that in South Norfolk and may see that with the closure of the Ford plant. I have no problem with market based change. But government mandated change of revenue-generating property smacks of a command economy. Maybe we should turn your home into a convenience store because it generates more tax revenue and uses fewer city services.

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Moving Stuff:

In principle, you're proposals are fine. Yes, most of the waterfront land we are discussing would likely be worth more to the cities were it used for commercial or residential zones (if it existed in pristine condition), but I think you are overstating its intrinsic value somewhat. Waterfront property is not the sole, or likely even a major factor in whether or not a company chooses to locate an office in any particular region, nor does it guarantee high property values for residential areas (see Ocean View prior to 2002). It is a nice selling point for sure, but we have to look at how best to maximize a city

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