NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – The aim is to make the Southeast community of Newport News thrive again, and with the finish of the first phase of construction of The Lift & Rise apartments on Jefferson Avenue, city leaders believe they’re well on track.

The Lift & The Rise apartments on Jefferson Avenue, which began in summer 2021, is a $19.7 million mixed-use development off of Interstate 664 blending affordable and market-rate living spaces and is part of the choice neighborhood initiative.

People will be able to move in beginning in early 2023.

“When I was a kid, this was a booming place,” said outgoing Newport News Mayor McKinley L. Price. “We had movie theaters, physician offices, retail, so this is a start of replacing that and having this community thrive again.”

The apartments replace the former Ridley Place housing community, which closed in 2020.

It’s the first development to be completed as part of a $30 million U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant the city and housing authority received in 2019, with more phases coming over the next two years.

“A key part of the city’s vision for the Choice Neighborhood area and the Southeast Community is being realized today, as we celebrate the completion of Phase I housing for the Marshall Ridley Choice Neighborhood,” Price said. “The work we are doing in the CNI area is bringing holistic and sustainable change to this historic part of our city. These high-quality affordable and market rate apartments give residents the chance to live in a bustling part of our city, close to numerous amenities and services.”

The Lift & The Rise features 81 apartments – one, two, and three bedrooms – and six townhomes, and the complex has different amenities, including a community room, fitness area, community terrace and lounge, outdoor seating, play area, in-unit washers and dryers, controlled access doors with security cameras and on-site management and maintenance. 

The city said more than 2,500 people are on the interest list for the new complex.

“The city and Housing Authority’s vision to transform Marshall Ridley into a vibrant, sustainable and active neighborhood has been years in the making,” said Ivy Dench-Carter, senior vice president at Pennrose, “and we look forward to supporting their comprehensive revitalization plan with additional high-quality housing and amenities in the phases to come.”

Besides the CNI grant from HUD, the project was funded through affordable housing tax credits, Home Investment Partnership dollars, State Vibrant Communities allocations, Virginia Housing Trust contributions and city resources. 

About 46% of the units are reserved for individuals and families who were displaced by the demolition of the CNI targeted-assisted apartments, which had been subsidized by HUD.  The remaining apartments will be rented at market rates.

“The Choice Neighborhood Initiative is centered around transformation and opportunity, two tenets Newport News firmly believes in and strives to provide citizens,” said Karen Wilds, Executive Director of the Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority.  “We look forward to welcoming residents home to The Lift & The Rise in early 2023 and watching them reinvigorate this historic Newport News community.  While phase one of housing is complete, our work will continue over the next two years, as we add more housing options, community resources, and amenities to the Marshall-Ridley Choice Neighborhood.”

The ground floor of The Lift & The Rise includes retail space for lease, and will include a grocery store.