City Council OKs The Pointe

Published 10:17 pm Friday, March 23, 2018

City Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to rezone the 55-acre North Suffolk site named The Pointe at Harbour View.

The site, bordered by Armstead Road, College Drive and Interstate 664, was rezoned from Commerce Park to Mixed-Use Overlay District. The new zoning will allow the Economic Development Authority to develop the site into an “innovation district.”

An innovation district, which is the new buzzword for mixed-use sites, typically consists of commercial, office and residential development all in one area.

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“When we were introduced to Gee’s Group, we began to work on joint vision for mixed-use development,” Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes said of the site developer. “We saw things happening, like innovation districts, encouraged throughout Hampton Roads. We see mixed use being brought into the research triangle in Northern Virginia. We want to bring something dynamic to our site and bring excitement to other sites surrounding ours.”

Innovation districts are cropping up across the country, and they are becoming the norm in Virginia. Both Hughes and Gee’s Group partner David Gianascoli compared The Pointe to Short Pump in Richmond.

The main focus of their development ideas is rooted in “live, work and play,” all in the same area, according to Gianascoli.

“Office users do not want to operate in an area that is isolated,” Gianascoli said. “They want the excitement of being in a town center or a village. Places where they come in and rent office space that is within walking distance to a lifestyle they are looking for.”

Offering amenities is a way to retain employees, Gianascoli said, and The Pointe would offer amenities that employers wouldn’t have to pay for. Food, entertainment and housing would all be within walking distance of the workplace.

The parcel is 55 acres, and they plan to split the acreage into three principal areas, according to the application. There are 500 residential units proposed, with 300 multi-family units, 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 is expected to create 1,426 jobs, which would put the jobs-to-housing ratio at 2.9. The required minimum is 1.

The approved rezoning application also includes proffer money for school construction.

“We are excited and ready to get started. It is a great project that the city would be proud of,” Gianascoli said.