Planners OK The Pointe

Published 10:06 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A rezoning request for The Pointe at Harbour View will continue to move forward after the Planning Commission voted 6-1 recommend approval on Tuesday afternoon.

After a community meeting Jan. 30, both Gee’s Partners LLC and the Economic Development Authority believed they had a positive enough response to move forward with their rezoning application.

The only vote against the application came from Commissioner Johnnie Edwards. Commissioner Kittrell Eberwine was not present at the meeting.

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The parcel, 6500 College Drive, is currently zoned as a Commerce Park, and the application that was submitted would rezone the parcel to Mixed Use Development Overlay District. This allows development to have a mix of uses — residential, retail and office spaces.

While the development of the site has been compared to Town Center in Virginia Beach and City Center in Newport News, the developers want the community to have a smaller feel.

“We want this to be like a village instead of a town center,” said David Gianascoli, agent for Gee’s Partners. “This should be a place to live, a place to play and a place to work.”

The parcel is 55 acres, and they plan to split the acreage into three principal areas, according to the application. The sites would be mixed use, residential and a mix of commercial and retail.

There are 500 residential units proposed, with 300 units multi-family, 100 townhouses or condos and 100 lofts. A maximum of 476,000 square feet of commercial use is also proposed.

Adding retail and commercial spaces will allow for a higher jobs-to-housing ratio than is required for a mixed-use development. Once completed, the Pointe would create 1,426 jobs, which would put the jobs-to-housing ratio at 2.9, which is higher than the required 1.

“Rezoning this land will make it more vibrant and bring life and energy,” said Kevin Hughes, director of economic development.

The application goes to City Council for a vote on March 21.

“We put a lot of time, effort and research into the application,” Hughes said regarding the vote in City Council.

Once approved by City Council, the EDA will begin marketing to find businesses and others that want to take up residence at the Pointe.

“We’ve been marketing quietly behind the scenes, and the folks we have been interacting with are interested in the rezoning,” Hughes said. “You get into deep discussion about potential users and uses that fit on the site. Though we don’t want to put the cart before the horse, and we want to follow procedure.”