Navy considers more spacePublished 8:31pm Monday, April 14, 2014
Harbour View developer Bob Williams says the Navy has expressed interest in his vacant North Suffolk building across from the former U.S. Joint Forces Command site.
Lakeview Technology Center 2 has been vacant for about four years. The 86,400 square-foot building was developed “in anticipation that JFCOM was going to take it,” Williams said.
“About the time we were ready to get the lease signed (then Defense) Secretary (Bill) Gates decided to shut down JFCOM.”
Williams said the technologically advanced building, with high-speed direct fiber optic connectivity, dedicated generator farm and energy efficient design, had been listed for sale or lease ever since, including with the General Services Administration.
It’s across the lake from the former JFCOM site, now home to the Navy’s Joint and Coalition Warfighting, three other technology-related commands and part of a fourth technology-related command.
According to Williams, the Navy could be readying to bring yet another command to the city:
“We got a press release” from the Navy announcing North Suffolk was again being considered, according to Williams, who added that the timeframe would be October.
“We are just sitting here hoping that all this comes to pass and is factual,” he said.
Williams said he would seek more information when Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, hosts Suffolk civic and business leaders, including Mayor Linda T. Johnson, in the near future; a “small private event” was confirmed by city spokeswoman Diana Klink.
There was no announcement “at this time” regarding additional Navy commands or operations coming to Suffolk, Klink stated in an email.
“The event is to celebrate the new Navy Cyber location in Suffolk, and build upon the relationship between the U.S. Navy and the city of Suffolk,” she wrote.
“The city of Suffolk hopes to provide a high level of support to the 1,600 sailors, civilians and contractors now working in our city” with Joint and Coalition Warfighting and the other four commands, as well as “to serve as the long-term home to the U.S. Navy Cyber Command and provide opportunities for growth.”
Asked to describe his certainty that a new Navy command is destined for his vacant building, “On a scale of one to 10, it’s a nine,” Williams said.
“Based on the number of people they are talking about, I have heard everything from 800 to 1,300.”
The building was always intended for the military, Williams said, and, next to a residential area on Burbage Drive, it does not have the visibility to be a good commercial office location.
It has 500 parking spaces, he said, as well as an “80-foot blast zone” around it meeting “anti-terrorism standards.”
Having such a large building remain empty for four years is not ideal, according to Williams.
“The interest payments come up every month,” he said. “It has been quite a drain, really.”
But, he added, “developments aren’t always lucky. Sometimes you hit a homerun, sometimes you don’t. I just hope, sooner or later, something breaks on it, whether it’s the private sector or military.”
Meanwhile, Williams said he has site plan approval for two more 75,000 to 80,000 square-foot buildings at Lakeview.