NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Housing complexes formally known as Tidewater Gardens in Norfolk are being redeveloped into “Kindred.” The development is a part of the city’s St. Paul’s Transformation Project.
The city hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for “Unity Place at Kindred” Wednesday afternoon.
The city said Unity Place will hold 140 apartments for mixed-income residents. Two other apartment buildings in the project are also currently being built.
One is called Origin Circle. It will have 120 units and commercial space for mixed incomes.
The other apartment is called Reunion Senior Living. That building will have 72 units.
All three apartments will have a fitness center with retail and commercial spaces. The former Tidewater Gardens was public housing.
The project comes from a $69.5 million investment which will create over 520 construction jobs and six permanent jobs within the city of Norfolk.
Three years ago, residents were forced out because of the demolition. However, the city allowed those residents the right to return to the new development. The right to return was guaranteed through a settlement agreement after residents sued the city in 2020.
The city said construction is expected to be completed by 2025.
However people will be able to move into Reunion by the end of October and into Origin Circle by the end of November.
Resident Natalie Lino said she can’t wait to move into her new home.
“Exciting to be down here, also to be a resident and I am also looking forward to returning,” Lino said. “I love the idea of the amenities. I love the washing machine and the dryer, (and) I don’t have to worry about going to the laundromat anymore. So I’m looking for all the beauty inside and out.”
Mayor Kenny Alexander said he and Natalie have a close relationship.
“Natalie and I lived on the same street in Berkeley on Hardy Avenue,” Alexander said. “I lived on the 200 block of Hardy Avenue while she lived in the 300 block. We attended the same schools and we’ve been friends and it’s a close knit community.”
He said it was a community effort, taking it upon himself to door knock in the neighborhood during the early stages of the project.
“What you see and what will happen here is a direct result of our community engagement with the residents,” Alexander said. “They told us what they wanted in these buildings, the amenities. They told us what they wanted as it relates to the name Kindred and Reunion and Unity and Origin Circle.”
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) of Hampton Roads provided a $3 million loan for the commercial side of the development.
“There will be a McDonald’s within the building on the first floor,” said Executive Director Jay Grant. “There will be several other small business opportunities and community spaces there in addition to a business incubator center.”
But does the city of Norfolk plan to revitalize other communities in the area?
“Certainly, if that’s something that is driven by the community and the same process we followed,” Alexander said. “I would personally go out and have conversations with those residents as I did in Tidewater Gardens. If that’s something that the community wants to do, then certainly we will take that up.”