#036;35 million project planned

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 17, 2005

Multi-use four-tiered development to include condos, shops and numerous amenities on West Washington Street

By Jason Norman

By this time in 2007, downtown Suffolk might be the proud home of a four-story, near-four-acre, multiple-use building housing condominiums, restaurants, shops, businesses and a two-story parking garage big enough to hold 500 cars.

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That is if all goes as planned for developer A.R. &uot;Rick&uot; Gregor of Snug Harbor Development, LLC. At the city’s monthly department-head meeting today, Gregor will present his estimated $35 million project – deemed Centre 800 because it’s in the 800 block of Washington.

That’s just one more convenience of the building, Gregor said Thursday.

&uot;I’d love to have some people that have offices downstairs and live in the condos upstairs,&uot; he said. &uot;They could take an elevator to work.&uot;

The Washington Street venture marks Gregor’s second development attempt in Suffolk; in 2000, he announced plans to construct a 50-unit sector in the Driver area before local residents’ objections persuaded him to sell the land.

&uot;The city wanted that out there, but I’m not sure that the residents did,&uot; Gregor said of the Driver project. &uot;The (Washington Street) development is going to be much more well-received, I think. As well as downtown Suffolk’s been doing in the past few years, I just thought it would be a viable project.&uot;

He’s not the only one.

&uot;What it says is that somebody’s got enough confidence in the downtown revitalization to make this kind of investment, so we’re obviously happy about it,&uot; said City Manager R. Steven Herbert. &uot;We hope we get more like it.&uot;

&uot;We’re really excited about the

project,&uot; said Downtown Development Coordinator Eliza-beth McCoury. &uot;There’s still a lot of work to be done, but it’s going to create a wonderful gateway into downtown Suffolk.

McCoury, who will be leaving her post over the next few months, expressed regret that she wouldn’t be around to see the project’s completion.

&uot;I’m definitely going to come back and check it out,&uot; she said with a laugh.

Gregor’s enterprise is already past some of the planning stages.

&uot;We looked at the utilities and made sure we met the zoning codes,&uot; he said. &uot;We’ve also made sure it had room for parking.&uot;

At today’s meeting, Gregor plans to &uot;get all their initial comments, then go back and make whatever changes are appropriate. Then we’ll go to a formal submittal to the Suffolk Planning Commission.&uot;

That submittal could take between 30 and 60 days, he said, and the review could take another 90 to 120.

&uot;By the end of the year or the first of next year, we could be starting,&uot; said Gregor, who estimates that the project could take two to three years.

The late T. Vincent Chorey Sr. previously owned the four-acre parcel on West Washington Street and Pitchkettle Road, which in year’s past was home to a grocery store and Chorey Real Estate, owned by his son Billy Chorey. From 1938 to 1970, the elder Chorey operated Chorey Motors Inc. on part of the property.