By Leonard E. Colvin
New Journal and Guide
Several developments are underway in Norfolk’s downtown St. Paul’s Quadrant as the city nears the completion of the first phase of redevelopment with the soon-to-open new Kindred Housing Community. It replaces Tidewater Gardens.
Relocated to a temporary location is the Hunton YMCA, which sat in the midst of Tidewater Gardens for 35 years. Plans call for construction of its new home on Brambleton Avenue.
Also, the city and the Urban League of Hampton Roads (ULHR) are joining forces to redevelop the Church Street Square shopping strip at Church Street and East Brambleton, to bring a grocery store and other commercial resources to the area.
Two years after the Sav-A-Lot grocery store closed and a year after the Dollar General was shuddered due to arson, the St. Paul community has been without a viable grocery outlet in the Church Street Square Complex.
During its October 24 meeting, the Norfolk City Council authorized the city to apply for a $5 million grant to help transform the shopping center, into the site of a new Food Lion Grocery Store and job training and support center.
The project will be a collaboration between the city Department of Development and The Urban League of Hampton Roads which is purchasing the five-acre Church Street Square site. According to Norfolk Economic Development Authority Director Sean Washington, the site is under contract for $3.2 million.
This transaction will not include land where the Greater Metropolitan AME Zion Church now sits on Brambleton.
Under the proposed redevelopment plan, the current shopping center and adjacent gas station would be torn down and replaced with a new development called “The Village,” Washington said during a presentation at the City Council work session on October 24.
The first phase of construction would include a 31,000-square-foot grocery store, a 12,000-square-foot rebuild of the damaged shopping center, and the 25,000-square-foot job training facility, according to Washington.
Down the road, according to the city, an 80,000-square-foot cultural and community center, a 15,000-square-foot commercial and small business center, and a 4,400-square-foot Sentara health clinic will be built.
This development was part of the ongoing redevelopment of St. Paul’s master plan concepts, according to Washington.
The grant sought for the project would come from the Industrial Revitalization Fund through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, (VDHCD) designed to assist in the redevelopment of deteriorated or vacant industrial or commercial structures.
This is the final round of the grant availability and about $10 million in state and American Rescue Plan Act dollars will be awarded, according to the VDHCD website. The deadline to submit the grant application was October 27.
The grant requires a 1-to-1 match in which $250,000 would come from the city for administrative and management fees; $1.25 million for the reconstruction of the Family Dollar, and $3.5 million via New Market Tax Credit proceeds from Hampton Roads Ventures, a for-profit community development group based in Norfolk.