NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Norfolk wants to redevelop the former John T. West School site that once housed the city’s first public high school for African Americans.

To that end, the city is looking for qualified real estate developers to submit qualifications and full proposals to redevelop the now vacant site, located in the Olde Huntersville neighborhood.

The John T. West School was built in 1906 in the predominantly African American Barboursville neighborhood, east of the Huntersville neighborhood – both combined presently into the Olde Huntersville neighborhood, which the city notes was one of the most cosmopolitan areas in the city and now has a community-led plan to showcase the diverse character of the neighborhood.

The school was demolished in 2006.

The city said proposed plans must incorporate mixed-income residential development in accordance with plans adopted in the Olde Huntersville Plan Book.

The overall goal, according to the city, is to support the neighborhood’s strategic plan by bringing new homeowners to Olde Huntersville by building new, affordable homes compatible with the neighborhood’s character.

The plans, the city said, must also take into accommodate the Olde Huntersville Empowerment Coalition and work to establish wealth-building opportunities for existing residents of the Olde Huntersville community.

The city said proposals should ensure that:

  • Economic inclusion is a core tenant of the development strategy by including micro-businesses, minority-owned businesses and women-owned businesses
  • Minority-owned business participation at every level of the development process, from the lead development team to the subcontractors
  • Local builder participation, specifically contractors who are residents or active participants in the Olde Huntersville community
  • Include diverse housing sizes and scales to ensure that there are affordable housing options available to residents with a range of income levels

The City will consider the most competitive proposals to be those that provide the best offer of value consistent with the development objectives above.

The city expects to choose a developer for the site in March 2023.

The proposed development schedule for the property must have housing available for people to live in by Dec. 31, 2027.

Responses to the RFP should be delivered to the city by 4 p.m. Jan. 16, 2023. For full RFP details and submission instructions, go here.

Responses to the request for proposals should be delivered to the City by 4:00 p.m. on Jan. 16, 2023.