EDA, VDOT strike deal on property

Published 9:45 pm Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Though the Virginia Department of Transportation has yet to find a buyer for its 87-acre North Main Street property, it now knows where it will relocate the remaining employees and operations at that location when it is sold.

The EDA will provide VDOT with 30 acres of the 37 acres it owns off of Industrial Drive in Northgate Commerce Park, according to Deputy City Manager Kevin Hughes. Of that, 30 acres will go toward VDOT’s facility, and the balance of the remaining seven acres will be used by the city’s Public Works Department to relocate its Zone C operations facilities it has at Lone Star Lakes Park.

Also, the EDA will buy an acre of VDOT’s property adjacent to Obici Place at 1700 N. Main St. for $300,000 that is next to a 3.4-acre property the authority already owns and is holding onto for a prospective movie theater.

Newsletter

Email newsletter signup

The EDA in March 2019 entered into a sales agreement with Cinema Café for the company to build a movie theater, restaurant and bar. The incentives provided included $120,000 when Cinema Café received its certificate of occupancy and $30,000 for each of the next three years through the Economic Development Investment Program.

However, Hughes said the movie theater project is still on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on that industry.

Hughes said nothing will take place until the state-owned land on North Main Street is sold. It could be several years, he said, before any movement takes place.

“This is an agreement, so you still have to get to due diligence and closing,” Hughes said. “VDOT has a separate avenue where they’re trying to sell their parcel, so they have to finalize those deals and any interactions for that development to occur, which still has to take place. Before they can move off of North Main (Street), they need to sell that parcel and obviously, construct a new operations center. Although we’re taking action on an agreement, we’re still years away from those things occurring.”

VDOT relocated its Hampton Roads District headquarters, along with about 250 employees, from North Main Street to the Lakeview Technology Center 2 at 7511 Burbage Drive in Harbour View in August 2018 after the General Assembly passed an act in 2017 allowing the agency to sell its North Main Street property and use the money toward a new district office location.

However, VDOT’s shop facilities were not able to relocate there due to city zoning regulations. The agency said in March that remaining operations and maintenance staff at the North Main Street location will be relocated depending on when the property is sold and the award of a construction contract to build the new district annex in Northgate.

The 87-acre property, zoned for general commercial, is valued at just over $16.4 million — more than $12.6 million for the land and nearly $3.8 million for the buildings — according to online property records. It has more than 350 feet of frontage on North Main Street and more than 4,000 feet of waterfront on the Nansemond River.

According to a real estate listing for the property, VDOT is looking “for offers with creative solutions, including, but not limited to sale-leaseback.” It also said any buyer would need to allow VDOT to use parts of the property while its new facilities are being built.

VDOT’s Hampton Roads district includes more than 730 miles of primary roads, almost 4,000 miles of secondary roads, more than 4,700 miles of urban roads and more than 160 interstate miles among 11 cities and nine counties.