Progress on North Suffolk site

Published 6:54 pm Saturday, July 15, 2017

Members of the Suffolk Economic Development Authority voted on Wednesday to amend the sales agreement with a Virginia Beach-based developer regarding a north Suffolk property.

The amendment modifies the rezoning application for the contract EDA has with Gee’s Group Partners of Virginia Beach for the 55-acre property in North Suffolk known as Point at Harbour View. The change was made to better coordinate with the city’s comprehensive 2035 plan.

“The city staff would have difficulty fully supporting the application, because it didn’t correspond with the comprehensive plan,” Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes said.

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The site is in the Harbour View area, bordered by Armstead Road, College Drive and Interstate 664. EDA bought the property more than a decade ago from the Virginia Community College System for about $5.5 million and in June 2016 made a deal with Gee’s Group to phase purchases of a minimum of 9 acres at a time for up to 45 acres, and for $100,000 per acre.

The site is no longer being considered for the relocation of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s district office located on North Main Street, Hughes said.

“That’s no longer an option,” he said.

Under the original application, the site would transition from being classified as a commerce park — designated strictly for office development — to general commercial zoning. The EDA amended that change to a mixed-use zoning classification, allowing for a variety of projects.

“We want a dynamic environment that has a ripple effect of the surrounding properties,” Hughes said. “We would like to see more activity out there; we believe it will have a positive on existing properties, as well.”

The exact mixed-use development zoning category is expected to be decided in the next 30 to 60 days, he said. Gee’s Group has contracted CBRE Hampton Roads to establish a marketing plan for the site.

Another project close to being finalized for construction is a roundabout at the intersection of Harbour View Boulevard and College Drive.

“You should see some transportation improvement over at Harbour View and College over the coming year,” Hughes said.

The improvements are designed to accommodate the expected influx of users to the site, with the amendment helping to accommodate that growth, he said.

“We feel very good and excited about the interest in the site and the future potential,” Hughes said. “The biggest emphasis in our efforts right now is to get to a zoning category that will allow those users.”