NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Three proposals have been submitted for the redevelopment of the Military Circle Mall area in Norfolk, with ventures backed by musician Pharrell Williams, NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith and local developer Bruce Thompson all vying to be selected.
Two of those teams — one led by Smith and local builder S.B. Ballard and the other backed by Williams and entertainment company Live Nation — feature designs for 15,000-plus seat arenas on the 70-acre space.
The proposal from Thompson, The Well, would instead have an 8,000-seat performing arts amphitheater.
“The redevelopment of this corridor is important to Norfolk and Hampton Roads. The City has been aggressive and deliberate in pursuing this transformational project. We are grateful for the work of everyone involved, and look forward to the next phase of this project,” said Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander.
The city says the next phase will be public input with an online input forum and survey for feedback.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the proposals.
Crossroads Partnerships (S.B. Ballard + Emmitt Smith)
The mixed-used venture from Ballard and Smith includes a 15,000 seat arena, a sports complex, offices for both Sentara Health and Optima Insurance and a 128-key hotel (a later phase calls for a full-service luxury hotel). It would also include 987 units of multifamily housing, with 100 of those units for affordable housing. The Crossroads team says it plans for the project to be all privately financed.
Norfolk MC Associates (Bruce Thompson)
Norfolk MC Associates’ project, The Well, focuses on green space and the amphitheater, with a business startup center for Norfolk State University, a Sentara Healthcare “Wellness Village,” a “world class” recreation center, a grocery store and 864 units of multifamily housing. His team is asking for tax revenue from the project.
Wellness Circle, LLC (Pharrell Williams + Live Nation + Armada Hoffler)
The Wellness Circle includes plans for a 15,400 to 16,500 seat arena designed by Sir David Frank Adjaye, who designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. Virginia Beach construction company Armada Hoffler is also partnering in the project. It includes 1,000-plus housing units (multi-family and low-income), a 200-room hotel, a YELLOW school (Williams’ non-profit) and lots of green and walking space. About $332 million of the $1.1 billion project will be publicly funded through project revenues and the creation of a CDA.
The city purchased the mall last year with the goal of making it into a thriving walkable district and mixed-use community.
“We really think it’s one of the prime development sites really on the east coast,” said Jared Chalk, director of economic development for the city.
Chalk told 10 On Your Side he sees the space as a wealth of potential and a future catalyst for not only East Norfolk but all of Hampton Roads.
“Interstate 264, 64, Virginia Beach Boulevard and Military Highway have lots of traffic and is centrally located in all of Hampton Roads,” Chalk stated. “It’s great to have this level of interest from real capable development teams, all three are extremely capable, extremely qualified and have really submitted great proposals for the sites.”
Chalk says the project will take several years to complete once a plan is selected.
Public Input Requested
The Norfolk Economic Development Authority (EDA) is seeking public input on this project.
“The release of the executive summaries will provide the public an opportunity to review the overall scope of the development plans,” said Jared Chalk, Executive Director of the EDA & Director of Development. “City Council and the EDA Board has placed major emphasis on gaining public input as part of this process and this online forum is another step in that direction.”
To submit your feedback, visit the redevelopment’s online form.
For more information and to read each of the detailed proposals, click here.