Change in store at Harbour View

Published 8:59 pm Monday, April 6, 2015

I visit Harbour View often. To cover a story, to eat out, to shop — I’m probably there three or four times a week.

There always seems to be something new on Harbour View Boulevard.

Just this Saturday, driving into Starbucks for coffee and Wi-Fi, the senior-living development rose in front of my windshield, construction workers scaling the outside walls with hammers and power tools.

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A short while later, a banner sign reminded me Nansemond-Suffolk Academy will soon start work on a satellite location next to the TowneBank corporate campus.

Bon Secours has in the works a new cancer center, to be built on 13 acres between the health system’s present campus and the Meridian apartment complex, itself still a fairly new addition to the landscape.

Two other projects nearing completion along the boulevard are Harbour View Health Center and Riverfront Shoppes, a high-end retail, office and medical development.

Meanwhile, one of the largest tracts of open land along Harbour Boulevard, hemmed between the Bon Secours health center, Harbour Towne Parkway and Interstate 664, is destined for transformation.

The sprawling, 62-acre site will become a mixed-use development. Compared to all other known future projects along the strip between Route 17 and College Drive, it will have a significant impact.

Coming first will be a 276-unit apartment complex — 52 more units than nearby Meridian Harbourview.

A developer told the Harbour View Owners Association in 2012 that more than 100 new hotel rooms and a combined 380,000 square feet of new retail and office space were also planned for the site.

Driving along Harbour View Boulevard won’t be the same as it is today. For starters, there will be new signaled intersections with three new major roads.

When a developer detailed the plans to the homeowners’ association, he said it would add 14,000 extra cars per day. That’s down from the 23,000 extra cars that had been estimated for the original plans for the parcel, which have been scaled back after the recession.

For many who live there, these changes coming to Harbour View west of I-664 might not be welcome. Others will happily trade some more traffic for new shopping, eateries and job opportunities they could ride a bike to.

From the outset, Harbour View, which seems to be outgrowing its old nickname of Pentagon South, envisioned residential and commercial development co-existing close together.

To be a stone’s throw from shopping, restaurants, health care, education and jobs would have to be one of the main reasons for moving there to live.

The place is clearly going to get busier before it’s built out, a fact that should have been and remains plain to see.