NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk has approved apartments for an abandoned section of the East Beach Marketplace on East Little Creek Road in the Camelia Shores neighborhood.

The marketplace sits at the intersection of East Little Creek Road and Shore Drive, and currently hosts several businesses, including a Food Lion and Planet Fitness on the eastern end.

As sessions ended Tuesday evening for the rest of the year, council unanimously voted to approve a conditional use permit (CUP) for developers to tear down the western portion of the marketplace and replace it with 96 apartment units:

  • 12 studio
  • 56 one bedroom
  • 28 two bedroom

It will also include some retail (less than 50% on the first floor of the four-story building, and four units designated as affordable workforce housing (included in those 12 studio units). The original design had 92 units but the addition of workforce housing brought the total up to 96.

The Norfolk Planning Commission actually had voted 6-0 to recommend denial, citing the project’s original lack of that workforce housing. According to HousingForward Virginia, that’s housing for “affordable to a region’s essential workforce,” such as teachers and emergency personnel, as well as retail/service workers and positions such as home health aides. Workforce housing is typically 60% to 110% of the Area Median Income, HousingForward says.

Director of Planning George Hornewood said that ever since the city adopted its new multi-family housing design principles, every multi-family project outside of downtown has included some workforce housing (downtown doesn’t require conditional use permits, but everywhere else requesting multi-family does require a CUP). In some cases those included in a voucher, Hornewood said.

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