NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk City Council has approved rezoning to pave way for a proposed 488-unit apartment complex at the old DePaul Medical Center off Granby Street.

It was a 7-1 decision, with Ward 4 Councilman John “JP” Paige as the lone no.

The vote came after several speakers again voiced their concerns over the project, particularly about the lack of affordable and inclusionary housing units designated for lower-income city residents.

The agreement with applicant DePaul Villages only included eight affordable housing vouchers.

“It’s Black people who are being affected with vouchers … 488 units and only eight, eight vouchers … they didn’t even want the eight vouchers there,” said resident Carl Poole II in opposition. “… we have to do something about the people who do not have no place to live, and the majority of the people who do not have no place to live — are Black people.”

Norfolk city officials pointed out that they’ve yet to adopt a formal policy that would require a certain level of a affordable housing for developments, though they have discussed future possibilities in recent meetings.

Speakers also suggested that several council members should abstain from voting, as several council members have received campaign donations from local developer Vincent Mastracco Jr. and Frank Gadams of Marathon Development Group, which are both behind the DePaul project.

“So if myself, my colleagues and others continuously come up here and represent the citizens’ outcry for housing, and you allow this poor excuse for establishing affordable housing in Norfolk pass than whose voice do you all truly value: the citizens who vote for you or the developers who fund campaigns?” said Monet Johnson with New Virginia Majority, who also emphasized that there are nearly 1,400 people currently on the city’s housing choice voucher waitlist.

The master plan graphic for DePaul Villages (Courtesy of City of Norfolk)

The “adaptive reuse” is expected to take about two years to complete, and will include renovations of the roughly 440,000-square-foot main hospital (which will have 381 units) and surrounding buildings at 100, 110 and 160 Kingsley Lane. Developers will also construct a 124,400-square-foot parking garage and eight additional townhouse apartments.

Here’s a breakdown of the units by type:

  • 165 studio
  • 170 one-bedroom
  • 112 two-bedroom
  • 41 three-bedroom

Amenities include a pool, Peloton and yoga room, a dog wash station, a movie room, game room and electric car charging.

The developers intend to use historic tax credits for the renovation of the former hospital, which was closed by Bon Secours back in 2021.

You can read more about the project in its zoning application.