Godwin Blvd. development progressing

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 23, 2002

A Virginia Beach developer is hoping to soon move ahead with plans that eventually would bring several new eateries, a hotel and office space to the Godwin Boulevard corridor.

Ray Roenker, president of the Tetra Company, has bought a total of about 50 acres along Godwin Boulevard, across from Obici Hospital and next to the armory, in three different transactions.

Although several companies have expressed interest in expanding their businesses to the area, Roenker first needs the city’s planning department to approve his property as a major subdivision plat.

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That action would bring the adjoining properties together as one subdivision, enabling Roenker to begin working on the infrastructure – including major roadways leading into the Centerbrooke Village development and laying sewer and water lines – that need to be in place before anything else can progress.

Planning department officials have indicated to him that that they expect the planning department will approve the final draft of the plans within the next couple of weeks, Roenker said. That approval will enable Roenker to begin construction of Centerbrooke Road.

Among the businesses looking at sites in the Centerbrooke development are:

n A North Carolina-based hospitality company has a contract on one site in the park and is in the process of negotiating for a franchise for an 80-100 room limited service hotel.

Neither Ronker nor Litz would discuss the franchises being considered for the site.

But for months, word circulating in the business community indicates that a leading contender for the franchise is a Hampton Inn.

The Hampton Inn is owned by Hilton Corp., the same parent company expected to locate its upscale Hilton Garden Inn on Constant’s Wharf. The city, along with developer Stormont Hospitality Co., is expected to announce that that project has been funded and that construction will soon begin on that project.

Efforts to reach a hospitality company spokesman were unsuccessful.

n A local company has a contract pending on one of the front sites off Godwin Boulevard to build a convenience store, gas station and fast food franchise.

The company’s president asked that his name not be released.

n A builder in the Richmond area is planning to build 132 apartments for people over age 55.

n Roenker and Litz said they have met with several other companies interested in opening restaurants on or near the site.

One restaurant is about the same size and caliber as Applebee’s or some similar restaurants encircling local malls.

The two men have also met with officials representing a steakhouse and family-style restaurant that serves breakfast all day.

Litz said there will also be finished office and retail/commercial lots for sale and lease.

Most office space will be geared to the medical or service professionals: doctor’s offices, lawyers, accountants, he said.

Obici’s move to Godwin Boulevard will be the catalyst that spurs extensive development along that corridor, at least up to the Reid’s Ferry Bridge, Roenker said.

&uot;Godwin Boulevard is going to become a more and more vital part of Suffolk,&uot; said Roenker . &uot;I see the city moving outward a lot faster than most people can fathom.&uot;

Other restaurants, banks and the like will evolve

as people begin working in the area, he added.

As office space begins to fill, retirees begin moving into the proposed apartments, and the

hotel begins filling with guests, business in that area will continue to grow, he said.

&uot;These types of growth breed off one another, &uot; said Roenker. &uot;As more people come into an area, they need more services: a place to eat lunch, somewhere to deposit a paycheck or a place to grab a tank of gas for the ride home.&uot;