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City of Norfolk, Gold Key | PHR Launch $126M Hotel/Conference Center Project

4 Jun 2014, 5:47 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

The City of Norfolk and Gold Key | PHR Hotels & Resorts started work last month on a $126 million public/private initiative expected to transform the corner of Main and Granby streets in downtown Norfolk. Called The Main, the project is scheduled to open in 2017. The 380,000-square foot facility will include Hilton Norfolk at The Main, a 294-key luxury hotel; The Exchange at The Main, a 50,000-square-foot conference center; and three restaurants.

The 23-story hotel will offer  24 luxury suites and two presidential suites among its guest rooms. Amenities will include an indoor pool, business center, one grand ballroom that can accommodate 1,500 guests, a junior ballroom and car service.

The developers say that Exchange at The Main will be one of the most technically advanced and secure meeting facilities in the United States. It will be certified by the International Association of Conference Centers and will meet standards for Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities in order to  accommodate the security needs of clients like government agencies and defense contractors.. No comparable facility in the Mid-Atlantic region holds both designations.

Exchange at the Main will be a destination not only for business and leisure travelers, but for local residents as well. The first floor will be home to Catch on Granby, an urban seafood bistro. The Varia, an Italian-inspired trattoria, will be located on the second floor, while the fifth floor will be home to the Saluna, a roof garden and lounge.

The project’s development team includes Cooper Carry, lead architect, W.M. Jordan, general contractor, Pompan Hospitality Global Inc., conference center consultant; and Baskervill, the interior designer.

“The Main is a transformational development with a design that gives the city a stunning architectural landmark and will be unique in the conference market,” said Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim in a statement. “Downtown’s newest destination is an investment in our future that will grow and diversify our economy generating jobs and revenue for all of Norfolk. A technologically advanced facility, The Main complements Norfolk’s growing arts, food and entertainment culture.” The project will create over 700 jobs during the construction phase and 850 permanent jobs when it opens.

According to Gold Key | PHR Hotels & Resorts, all public investment will be provided by the Public Amenities Fund and parking system. The fund authorizes a one percent tax on meals and lodging and collects enough money each year to cover the debt service on the conference center.

Rendering: themainnorfolk.com



Construction Starts on Next Phase of Shoppes at Reynolds Crossing; Walmart Anchor Opens

28 May 2014, 2:55 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Reynolds Development has started construction on the next phase of The Shoppes at Reynolds Crossing in Richmond. The 19,000-square-footl building is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2015.

Located near the intersection of Glenside and Forest avenues, the project was designed by Freeman & Morgan Architects and financed by Park Sterling Bank. According to CBRE|Richmond, the building is 70% leased to tenants that include Starbucks, Chipotle, Jersey Mike’s, Hair Cuttery, Ntelos Wireless, Lee Nails and Salad Works.

“This project is extremely well positioned in the market,” David Crawford, an assistant vice president at CBRE|Richmond, said in a satement. “You have tremendous demand from a dense office population, great traffic counts and access via established infrastructure combined with a need for more food and retail services.”

May has been a busy month for The Shoppes at Reynolds Center. In addition to the construction start on the new retail building, the property’s anchor, a 90,000-square-foot Walmart  on Forest Avenue, opened on May 21.

Richmond’s retail market was relatively quiet during the first quarter, according to CBRE. Vacancy dropped to 8.2 percent, slightly higher than the market’s six-year low of 8.1 percent, as a result of  51,400 square feet of net absorption. Average asking rents decreased to $14.91 per square foot during Q1, due to insufficient demand.

However, the first quarter did register strong preliminary activity, which is expected to generate an uptick in leasing and cut vacancy to pre-recession levels. Retail development in the area remains strong. According to CBRE, 38,613 square feet of new space were delivered during the first quarter, and another  300,000 square feet are under construction.

Rendering and charts courtesy of CBRE.



ViCU Plans June Groundbreaking for Arts Center; Name to Honor Markel Corp. Gift

21 May 2014, 7:23 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Virginia Commonwealth University will break ground next month on its new Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA). Billed as a combination exhibition and performance space., the 43,000-square-foot facility will include a laboratory and incubator of visual art, theater, music, dance and film.

Scheduled to open in 2016, the ICA will be located within Richmond’s newly designated Downtown Arts District, atBroad and Belvidere streets.  The project will be mostly primarily funded. VCU officials said in a statement that the school has raised nearly $31 million toward its $35 million goal. A $20 million endowment campaign is also under way.

Markel Corp., the Richmond-based financial services company, has made a generous donation to the project. In recognition, the VCU Board of Visitors voted to name the new building the Markel Center.

Steven Holl Architects designed it with dual entrances, one facing Richmond, the other facing the  VCU campus. A double-height “forum” will be located at the heart of the building. Three levels of galleries will radiate from the forum in a forked arm-like configuration. The building’s exterior will feature walls of pre-weathered, satin-finish zinc as well as clear and translucent glass, allowing natural light to enter during the day and radiate out at night.

“The ICA will be vital to the creative ecology of VCU and the community,” said VCU President Michael Rao, in a statement. “Creative problem-solving skills are essential in our world today and this institution will bring new resources to our students and faculty working across the university, the nation and the globe.”

“This institute will also be a significant beacon in Richmond in terms of economic and cultural development and bringing the arts community from around the world to our great city,” Rao added. “The ICA will help put Richmond on the global map as an arts destination.”

Photo credits: Virginia Commonwealth University



Franklin Johnston Brings 2 Affordable Housing Communities to Norfolk

15 May 2014, 2:54 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Virginia Beach-based Franklin Johnston Group is working to bring two new affordable housing communities to Norfolk. Together, the two projects call for the construction of more than 450 units.

Although FSG was founded just last year, the company’s portfolio already includes 38 properties and 5,000-plus units throughout the eastern U.S. One of the firm’s two Norfolk communities is The Crossings at Berkley Station, a 156-unit gated apartment community with a pool, fitness center and playground. FJG plans to start work on the project later this year. The three-story building will be constructed on the 10-acre former site of the Berkley Lumber Yard. It is the first new development in Berkley in years and is expected to revitalize the entire area. FJG did not disclose the cost of the project.

The second Norfolk project is The Pointe at Pickett Farm,. Development is already underway on this $39 million project, and its first phase is expected to open this summer. The Pointe at Pickett Farm will be a 300-unit apartment community, with a clubhouse, swimming pool, fitness center and tot lot. It is being constructed on a 24-acre former horse farm, on Broad Creek.

Recently, FJG has also been selected by Marlyn Development Corp. of Virginia Beach to manage two of its senior housing communities. The two properties are the Forrest Pines Senior Community, scheduled to open next month in Newport News, and The Woodlands, a 132-unit community for independent seniors under construction in the Phoebus community in Hampton.

“We are a market-driven company,” said Taylor Franklin, COO of Franklin Johnston Group, in a statement. “By that I mean that we take great care in determining what apartment niches are not being satisfied and we build to those needs. We see a great need for high quality affordable housing in Hampton Roads and we are leading the way in meeting those needs. Likewise, Marlyn Development is responding to the aging population in the region and the accompanying demand for senior housing. We have extensive experience in senior living management and welcome these two communities to our management portfolio.”

Photo credits: www.pointeatpickettfarm.com



New Owners for Richmond’s 110-Year-Old Mutual Building, Maritime Square Building in Newport News

7 May 2014, 9:10 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

One of Richmond’s first high-rise office buildings is under new ownership. Parmenter Realty Partners has sold the 110-year-old Mutual Building to 909 Main, L.L.C., an entity associated with Shamin Hotels, for about $3.3 million.

Located at 909 Main St. in the city’s central business district, the 12-story building offers 132,434 square feet of space. According to a statement, it was 31 percent leased to a single tenant at the time of the sale.

The new ownership won a competitive bidding through Auction.com. Eric Robison and Catharine Spangler of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s capital markets team handled the sale on behalf of the seller.

“The Mutual Building has an abundance of  history and its location in the Main Street Banking Historic district provides a number of different options for future use.” said Eric Robison, senior vice president at Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, in a statement.

On April 9, Robinson and Spangler represented Blue Sage Ventures in its $8.6 million acquisition of Maritime Square building, located at 2600 Washington Ave. in downtown Newport News. The new owner is an affiliate of the Simpson Organization of Atlanta, Georgia.

Completed in 1970, the Maritime Square building offers 135,103 square feet of space and was 72% leased at the time of the sale. The property was renovated in 2012, adding improvements to its lobby and common areas, as well as modern, high-quality finishes.

“Maritime Square has a unique presence in the Hampton Roads office market as the only significant office building available for lease in downtown Newport News,” Robison commented in a statement. “The sale to an owner with the experience of the Simpson Organization ensures that the recent leasing momentum and commitment to quality in the building will continue into the future.”

Photo credits: Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer

 



Redskins’ New Training Complex Wins Award for Project of the Year

30 Apr 2014, 3:43 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Though the Washington Redskins’ 3-13 record left the team far short of the Super Bowl last season, the franchise did bring home at least one award. The Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center was recently named project of the year by the Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate.

The 40,000-square foot complex opened in Richmond last July in time for summer training camp. Located on a 17-acre site behind the Science Museum of Virginia, the facility features two full-sized football fields, a practice field, a gymnasium and locker rooms, as well as improved amenities for fans.

Built at a cost of $10.8 million, the project is part of an economic development deal between the city and Bon Secours. It is expected to bring $40 million in investment to Richmond and create several hundred jobs.

The Richmond Economic Development Authority serves as the facility’s manager. Other pro football teams are considering developing training centers patterned on the new facility.

More than 165,000 people gathered last summer to watch the Redskins train, but the team uses the complex only three weeks per year. The Bon Secours Virginia Health System uses the complex year round as a full-service sports medicine rehabilitation and men’s health center. Other features include a a 2.5-acre public park with a running and walking trail, a 500-seat amphitheater, a children’s music garden and a water wall.

“It’s great because it’s very functional and everything is extremely accessible for the players,” said Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. “The proximity of the weight room, training room and locker room makes each day a smooth process for us. I can’t wait to be back there in a few months.”

Photo: redskinsrva.bonsecours.com



Armada Hoffler to Redevelop Williamsburg Outlet Mall

24 Apr 2014, 4:34 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Armada Hoffler Properties, Inc., a Virginia Beach-based REIT,  announced last week that it has formed a joint venture with Vistacor L.L.C. to develop a grocery-anchored shopping center in Williamsburg.  Armada Hoffler is the majority partner in the joint venture.

The developers have acquired the 230,000-square-foot Williamsburg Outlet Mall, which closed last year, and plan to replace it with a Lightfoot Marketplace shopping center. The cost of the project was not announced.

In February, the project won the backing of James City County. It will be developed in phases. Construction on phase one is scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2014. It consists of 88,000 square feet and is expected to be completed in early 2016. Phase two would add 42,000 square feet.

Harris Teeter has signed a 20-year lease for approximately 53,000 square feet of space and will be the anchor tenant. The remaining 35,000 square feet will be occupied by shops and restaurants.

“This project exemplifies the development opportunities that result from deep and longstanding relationships with our partners,” said Louis Haddad, CEO of Armada Hofflers, in a statement. “Our past and continued relationship with Harris Teeter helped lead us to this new and exciting development opportunity in the heart of our mid-Atlantic footprint.”

Photo credits: James City County



Mayor Jones Announces $10M Grant for Final Phase of Main Street Station Renovation

17 Apr 2014, 3:28 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

The city of Richmond has been working for more than 20 years to rehabilitate Main Street Station, one of downtown’s most visible landmarks, and turn it into a multimodal transportation center that will serve Amtrak, buses, shuttles, taxis and alternative modes of travel. Now, the renovation project is on the verge of entering its final phase of construction.

On April 10, the Richmond Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the regional body that allocates federal transportation funding, approved a $10 million grant to advance the third and final phase of the multi-year renovation. The next day, Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones announced his plans to introduce an ordinance to secure the grant at the City Council Meeting on April 14.

“The region has been working for more than two decades to renovate one of Richmond’s most iconic buildings into a true multi-modal transportation center,” the mayor said in a statement. “This funding will kick-start the final renovation phase and we’re grateful to our neighboring localities for supporting this effort to strengthen the region’s transportation network.”

The grants still needs the final approval from the Commonwealth Transportation Board. The city plans to start work on the third phase of the project this summer. At a cost of $48.5 million, it is expected to be completed in 2016. The third phase includes the renovation of the train shed, reopening Franklin Street through the train shed, improving site circulation and amenities, improving existing rail passenger amenities, adding electrical vehicle charging stations, and establishing a Transit Center, a Virginia Welcome/Travel Center and a Bicycle Welcome Center within the station.

RAMPO called Main Street Station an “existing project of regional significance.” Over the years, it has gained the support of the city of Richmond, the counties of Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, New Kent, Goochland, and numerous organizations and agencies that include the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Transit Administration and Amtrak.

 

Photo credits: City of Richmond



Virginia Beach Joint-Use Library Wins LEED Gold Certification

15 Apr 2014, 6:34 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Virginia Beach’s unique Joint-Use Library has been awarded LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, eight months after the $43 million facility opened on the Tidewater Community College campus.

A joint project of the college and the city of Virginia Beach, the 120,000-square-foot library earned its Gold-level designation for features that include motorized window shades, floor openings designed to enhance the use of natural light, advanced stormwater management techniques using retention ponds and large open spaces, and glass walls that provide views for more than 90 percent of interior spaces. The library houses more than 128,000 items, about 360 computers, a dynamic children’s room, a café, study rooms and collaborative work spaces.

In achieving LEED certification, the project team exceeded its original target. “Through great leadership and advocacy by the design architect, Carrier Johnson and RRMM, and commitment by (the Virginia Community College System) and the Gilbane construction team, the project team determined they could raise the LEED goal and aim for Gold,” explained Drew Micco, senior project manager for Gilbane Building Co., the project’s construction manager, in a statement.

For its part, Gilbane doubled the quantity of recycled and regional material used on the project from 10% to 20%, earning  2 additional points toward LEED Gold certification. “The project’s success in reaching LEED Gold demonstrates how a concerted effort by the project team can exceed original expectations without adding additional cost or time to a project,” Micco added.

Photo credits: Gilbane Building Co.



Norfolk’s 3rd DoubleTree Opens After Makeover, Rebranding

3 Apr 2014, 2:44 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

After a multi-million dollar renovation and re-branding, the DoubleTree by Hilton Norfolk Airport opened March 31. Located at 1500 N. Military Highway, the 250-key property was previously known as the Hilton Norfolk Airport.

With a re-designed entrance and lobby, the DoubleTree by Hilton Norfolk Airport features a Max & Erma’s restaurant on the lobby level, a 24-hour fitness center, free WiFi, a 24-hour business center, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, as well as about 10,000 square feet of meeting space.

“Hampton Roads is a bustling region, and our newest offering in this market is poised to offer business, military and leisure guests a premier travel experience,” said John Greenleaf, global head of DoubleTree by Hilton, in a statement. The hotel is the third DoubleTree by Hilton in Hampton Roads and is owned and operated by Harmony Hospitality, Inc.

The DoubleTree by Hilton Norfolk Airport is located two miles from the Norfolk International Airport and is close to such attractions as the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, Virginia Zoological Park, Nauticus, the USS Wisconsin, the Lake Wright Business Park, the Chrysler Museum of Art and MacArthur Mall.

Photo credits: DoubleTree by Hilton