NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Construction to revitalize the Southeast Community of Newport News began Tuesday.
The city and the Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority broke ground on the first phase of the “Choice Neighborhoods Initiative.”
The mixed-use development will feature 75 apartments, six townhomes and retail space. The groundbreaking was at the construction site on Jefferson Avenue just off of Interstate 664.
Several city leaders were there, including Mayor McKinley Price.
“What’s happening on this site the excitement and change it impacts our entire city,” Price said.
The location is close to the shipyard and other big employers. Price said they hope to attract young working families and older residents as well.
“People who live here will be able to walk across the bridge right there and enjoy the downtown area that is coming to life with restaurants, a brewery, a distillery, events and even more,” he said.
Most apartments will go for the regular market rate, while 46% will be reserved for people displaced by the demolition of old public housing.
“It was tough living in those apartments; small square footage and no air conditioning,” said City Councilwoman Tina Vick, who grew up in those old apartments.
She is excited for residents who will enjoy air conditioning, heating that they control inside their own unit, and in-unit washers and dryers.
“Our children can wake up and not think poverty is normal,” Vick said.
The city received a $30 million HUD grant for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative program.
It will also build up community services like employment, health and educational opportunities, parks and recreation and more.
Phase one is set to be complete in the fall of next year.