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Mace & Crown | June 22, 2017

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UPDATES: New Shopping Center Planned Near Campus

UPDATES: New Shopping Center Planned Near Campus shopping centet
Jason Kazi
Staff Writer

May. 10 Update: The Mace & Crown has learned that the developer has submitted plans to the City Council for a better name for the shopping center to represent the neighborhood and it’s history: The Railyard at Lamberts Point. Also, the previously unidentified grocery store has been named: a 23,900 square foot organic grocery store Earth Fare. Earth Fare is a small chain of organic grocery stores headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina.

Mar. 27 Update: The Mace & Crown has learned that the developer is now proposing to reduce the number of proposed buildings within the shopping center from 9 to 7, double the amount of space dedicated for restaurant use to 24,000 square feet, reduce the amount of space dedicated for retail use to 74,400 square feet and add 25,600 square feet for office use. The total square feet of the entire shopping center will remain nearly the same. The matters will continue to be discussed with city officials.

Jan. 15 Update: The Mace & Crown has learned that the developer is now proposing reusing a warehouse currently on the project’s site. The developer has also realigned the Elizabeth River Trail that cuts through the site. The matters will be discussed at a February city meeting.

Dec. 15 Update: At their December 15th meeting, the Norfolk City Council moved forward with plans to allow an organic grocery store to operate at the shopping center. The community has dropped the argument, however it is too early to know what exactly the name of the shopping center will be.
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Willamsburg-based developer Guernsey Tingle Architects is currently discussing plans to build a large shopping center called “West Norfolk Marketplace” about a mile south of campus.

The plans call for a six-building, grocery store-anchored 147,758-square-foot shopping center.

The proposed site for the project is along Hampton Blvd. stretching from West 27th St. to the Norfolk Southern railway crossing overpass. Access to the site will be provided from 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th streets. The shopping center is slated to include a 22,000-square-foot grocery store, a 35,000-square-foot sporting goods store, 12,000 square feet of restaurants and 113,758 square feet of retail sales and services.

The area is currently zoned as both industrial and commercial, mostly occupied by abandoned industrial buildings. However, the builders are proposing to change the zoning to commercial after meeting numerous times with the Norfolk City Council and Norfolk City Planning Commission. While the Central Hampton Boulevard Plan doesn’t recommend this area to be used for commercial purposes, the shopping center is expected to adhere to the plan in that it won’t add to existing traffic. In order to do so, the builder proposed to add a traffic signal at West 26th St. and further improve the Elizabeth River Trail. The builder also has proposed providing 523 parking spaces (against the required 522) in addition to 87 street parking spaces.

Last year, the residents of Lamberts Point were informed at a civic league meeting of a shopping center, 250-unit apartment building (now off the table), brewery, golf course extension, water treatment plant extension (now under construction), a Starbucks location, a pet store and gun store under consideration to be built in the vicinity of the area nearby the planned shopping center’s site now under discussion with city officials.

The shopping center has been creating mixed opinions from residents of the Lamberts Point community which bordered Old Dominion University on the west side of Hampton Blvd. In late August of this year, the Lamberts Point Civic League submitted a petition to the City of Norfolk Planning Commissioners, complaining that this shopping center reportedly will be home to another high price organic food market, with the relatively new Fresh Market just a short walk from the southern end of the proposed shopping center, and both another pet store and gun store. They also propose, according to city council records, that “the development project was conceived via a backroom deal with the initial presentation being held in Ghent and not Lamberts Point.”

The residents of the Lamberts Point community, in addition to students, residents and business owners in their petition, have proposed and petitioned to the city that the developer build and open a moderately priced supermarket as the best project concept in the area to benefit residents, students and traffic flow on Hampton Blvd.

The project will continue to be discussed with the Planning Commission and the City Council through the coming months before final approval.