CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The future of the Greenbrier community will be a topic discussed heavily over the next year as professional planners meet with neighbors to come up with a vision for the future that addresses everything from the viability of the mall to traffic troubles.

Billed as the “Greenbrier Area Plan,” the city has partnered with Kimley-Horn design engineers and Cooper Robertson architects to compile a report meant to guide development and quality of life improvements moving forward.

In a presentation to Chesapeake City Council on Tuesday, City Manager Chris Price said that Greenbrier is already an economic hub of the region and he is a big believer that “focus precedes success.”

He said the only way it will be successful is if there is sufficient public participation.

Map of the Greenbrier Plan study area. (Courtesy: City of Chesapeake.)

The study area the city is focusing on is 12 square miles. It’s bordered by the Chesapeake Expressway to the West, Military Highway to the North and Kempsville Road to the South and East.

Nearly 600 people have already completed a survey on the area. When people were asked what their relationship was to Greenbrier, the top response was shopping. Some called it “#1 retail sales in Hampton Roads” with its collection of big box stores and legacy department stores.

However, Greenbrier Mall has seen better days. The mall entered foreclosure last year and sold to CW Capital — a commercial real estate company — for less than half the cost the previous owner paid for it.

At this point, there is no long-term public plan for the site. Mayor Rick West wonders if the report could figure out if more “high-end” retail would be appropriate at the location.

Devin Simpson with Kimley-Horn said the report can dig into that type of information if people desire it.

“We’ve talked about a lot of those malls around the country that have been redeveloped and have those higher-end stores and attracted them,” Simpson said. “We are going to be performing a competitive marketing analysis and that can be part of what we look at how we can attract those folks and sustain them.” 

When it comes to the area’s largest challenge? So far, traffic wins the day.

Traffic analysis and modeling will be a part of the plan. Including the possibility of a new mass transit option.

The entire plan is expected to take 16 months to complete and there will be several opportunities for in-person public input.

The first Greenbrier Area Plan Community Meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 21 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Greenbrier Middle School. It’s an open house format so people are welcome to come whenever they can in that timeframe.

West said he just wants to make sure the plan doesn’t come back with recommendations that would duplicate services already found in other communities.