Builders ready to expand Harbour View

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 1, 2005

Developers are gearing up to move ahead on Harbour View Town Center,

a multi-million mixed use development planned for northern Suffolk, as soon as the city gives the green light.

A mixed use development is a pedestrian-friendly community that marries residential and commercial development, including offices, retail outlets and medical facilities, said Robert T. Williams, executive vice president of the Jorman Group.

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He is also the development consultant for Landonomics, the company planning the project.

The Suffolk Planning Commission is holding a public hearing on a proposal to establish the city’s first mixed use development ordinance on July 19. If city planners approve the ordinance, it will then go before the Suffolk City Council later this summer.

The town center project will be built on 107 acres surrounding the Harbour View Grande, the 16-theatre complex and retail shopping center on Harbour View Boulevard.

Williams has commitments from several retailers, including an upscale gourmet grocery store and large retail store, who want to open in the development. He refused to identify specific businesses until contracts are signed.

&uot;We’re ready to move ahead with the project,&uot; Williams said. &uot;We have people that are waiting to acquire land as soon as a mixed use ordinance is approved and a site plan is filed.&uot;

Ivy Ventures, a Richmond-based developer, is about to begin construction on a 50,000-square-foot medical office building on Harbour View Boulevard, Williams said.

That building, which will be located across from the Bon Secours facility, is the first of three that Ivy will build on its seven acre site, he said. Future plans call for two other buildings offering a total of 130,000-square-feet of additional office space.

Williams is confident city leaders will support the MUD proposal, saying it is will a win-win situations for both developers and the city.

&uot;The whole point of the Unified Development Ordinance is to stop the sprawl that is eating up the land with big residential lots and lots of homes,&uot; Williams said. &uot;It means we will be putting more on less land, leaving more land vacant and available.&uot;

The string of taxes coming in from the commercial development-personal property, entertainment, sales,

business licenses and machinery/tools-will be a shot in the arm for city coffers, Williams said.

&uot;These taxes will offset the residential costs to the city,&uot; he said.

Councilwoman Linda T. Johnson believes the proposed zoning ordinance will fill a much-needed planning gap.

&uot;I think it’s something we need,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;Right now, we have a hole because we don’t have that zoning category.

&uot;It will make the whole process much easier.&uot;

Planning Commissioner William Goodman like the compactness that MUDs offer.

&uot;I think it’s a good concept because its basically keeps things within walking distance,&uot; Goodman said. &uot;Historically, back in the 1920s and 1930s, that is all we had.&uot;