Future of Norfolk ‘Greenies’ site: New restaurant or open space?

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — If anything was made clear Monday night by Ocean View residents it is that they are passionate, especially about the future plans for the site of a beloved former bar.

It was standing room only at the Mary D. Pretlow Library as the City of Norfolk planning department looked for input on what to do with the former “Greenies” site.

The former bar and restaurant with a waterfront deck opened in 1930 where 1st View Street meets West Ocean View Avenue. Known just as much for its infamous stories as its steamed shrimp, the city bought Greenies for $2 million from Ronnie Boone Sr. in the fall of 2018 as a part of a neighborhood revitalization project.

The bar closed its doors in mid-September 2018, and was demolished in December.

Councilman Tommy Smigiel, who represents Ocean View, said he called the meeting in order to cut down on misinformation about what was happening with the site.

“Rumors have been circulating that we already sold it to a developer who plans to build condos on it,” said Smigeil. “That is not true, we haven’t even been approached by anyone for the land.”

The other purpose of the meeting was to gauge what the community would want to see go there in the future.

More than two dozen speakers stood up to share their vision. While building a new waterfront restaurant was a popular idea, so was the idea of doing nothing at all.

“Please, think about. Leave(ing) it open,” said Bob Layton, a longtime resident. 

Several speakers said it was enlightening to drive to the end of 1st View and actually see the Chesapeake Bay after so many years of Greenies standing in the way. 

“Half of the people want to keep an open view corridor, and half that want a restaurant on the site,” Smigeil said. “Now we have to go back to the drawing board and see if there is a compromise here.”

The majority of residents expressed interest in not seeing more apartments and a parking lot on the site. 

Several others expressed a desire to see the Soaps N Suds Laundromat also demolished. It sits just next door to where Greenies once stood.

“It might be the world’s only waterfront laundromat,” joked Smigeil to the crowd. “However, to buy it we need a willing seller.” 

The city says it will work with residents on the future of the five-parcel site, and the site of the Oceanview Diner and Beach Pub on E. Ocean View Avenue, which were bought for $350,000 and $1 million respectively. 

There is no timeline yet set for figuring out what to do with the site. 

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