NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Demolition will begin in the next several weeks at the longtime Lambert’s Point Docks property in order to prepare for its future use as a offshore wind hub.
Fairwinds Landing, LLC, a company formed by local developer and business owner Jerry Miller, signed a 30-year lease with Norfolk Southern for use of the 111-acre property last year.
Aside from Dominion Energy’s plans to locate their onshore base for offshore wind operations on site, Fairlead Boatworks, which is also owned by Miller, plans to move to the site to continue assist Huntington Ingalls with construction of two new Ford-class aircraft carriers.
Mike Hopkins, Managing Director of Fairwinds Landing said they should know if another large unnamed company will choose to relocate to the site in the next 60 days. If those plans come to fruition, Hopkins thinks the property could host 700 to 1,000 new jobs by 2027.
“Our vison is to create a offshore wind hub here in Hampton Roads. Between what’s going on over in Portsmouth and directly across the river at Fairwinds Landing. We think this has tremendous potential to be one of the leading ports for offshore wind on the East coast,” Hopkins said.
It was several years back when Norfolk Southern, the longtime owner of the property, put out the call for proposals to lease their breakbulk marine terminal.
Sitting adjacent to the railroad’s coal terminal, Hopkins said it had become underutilized and fell into a state of disrepair as shipping methods changed.
“Breakbulk has been overtaken by the age of containerization. It’s grown obsolete,” Hopkins said.
A majority of the giant warehouses on property now sit vacant, or in some cases condemned.
While 814,900 square feet of warehouse space will remain, 11 buildings that have adorned the waterfront industrial site for nearly a third of a century will be demolished. They will also be removing more than 30,000 feet of rail.
Fairwinds Landing recently was awarded a $3.5 million grant from the state for that work.
Earlier in the month, the Norfolk Economic Development Authority entered into an MOU with Fairwinds Landing to apply for a $2.6 million Maritime Administration grant for rehabbing the 6,000 linear feet of waterfront.
Hopkins said Fairwinds also looks to work with the City of Norfolk to improve road access to the site. Right now trucks must go through the Chelsea neighborhoods business district.
“We are going to try to avoid to the greatest extent possibe … trucks and other vehicles transmitting through the neighborhoods,” Hopkins said.
Current tenants on site have been given notice to the property ahead of construction. They include Firestone, which currently stores rubber in one of the on-pier warehouses and Norfolk Oil Transit.