NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Once known as the Times Square of the South, Norfolk's Wards Corner was the talk of Hampton Roads. But, restoration for Wards Corner could be in the works.
There are plans to revitalize an area along Granby Street, East Little Creek Road and Virginian and Louisiana Drives.
One of the most significant developments for the area would be the proposed construction of a Harris Teeter.
Land owner Chris Perry says the final contract with Harris Teeter must be finalized.
A Farm Fresh and Kroger are already located nearby.
Harris Teeter is considering building a huge store with small business spaces on 8.6 acres.
"This has been my whole life, right here around Wards Corner," Norfolk Councilman Andy Protogyrou said.
Protogyrou says the Harris Teeter plan, the construction of a new theater by Norfolk Collegiate and the city's purchase of nearby Denby Park Apartments lit the revitalization fire.
"All these triggers were pulled by Chris Perry, and Harris Teeter, and Norfolk Collegiate. It all began though when the City put its money where its mouth is and purchased the 68 units in Denby Park," Protogyrou added.
But a lot of business owners are not happy, as their businesses will have to move.
Ben Cooper and Company Jewelers has been in Wards Corner since 1996.
"I guess, like everyone else, we're sad," Anthony Sansone, who runs the business, said. "They told us right before Christmas we would have to move. People came in and said, 'I hear you're closing down'. I would say, 'no we are not closing down'...we lost business because of that."
Business owners in the Wards Corner Shopping Center were suppose to move in March, but now the move date is open-ended. The strip mall across the street could become home for many of the businesses.
Perry and his fellow owners still must go before the planning commission and city council.
Demolition is expected in the summer and Perry hopes Harris Teeter will open in 2014.
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