PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Two new apartment projects for Portsmouth got the green light Tuesday night from City Council, including one at the site of the former Churchland Kroger.

The first to be approved, a $55 million “modern, upscale” apartment complex at the Kroger site, passed in a 5-1 vote with Councilman Mark Whitaker voting against. Councilman De’Andre Barnes was absent.

The second project, a $14.5 million, 50-unit, multi-family affordable housing building at the corner of High Street and Elm Avenue, will become the Bains Pointe Apartments. They’ll be named after Eliza Bains, who played a significant role in the Underground Railroad in Portsmouth.

Whitaker voted against the Kroger project, citing lack of information and vetting about minority involvement, but voted for Bains Pointe in a 6-0 decision. A speaker for Bains Pointe talked about how a Black landscaper from Portsmouth will have a permanent contract for that project, in addition to several other sites he’s currently under contract for with the company.

Kroger apartments

You may remember that council actually already granted approval to the Ripley Heatwole Company to build apartments at the site back in 2020, but the company said COVID-related setbacks led to a delay in the project and the expiration of its permit.

The $55 million complex will include a 192-unit multi-family apartment building at the Kroger site (5601 High Street) and a phase 2 of an additional 40 units just nearby at 3109 Tyre Neck Road.

Heatwhole says this is “essentially” the same plan approved back in 2020 by the city.

An overhead view of the apartments slated to go at the former Kroger site in Churchland.

Those who spoke against the project said they were concerned about the complex and its tenants’ impact on city resources and a lack of dedicated affordable housing.

The projected rent for the apartments will be $1,500 per month for a one-bedroom unit up to $2,200 for a four-bedroom unit.

Bains Pointe apartments

Woda Cooper Companies, Inc., which built the Holley Pointe apartments on Effingham Street is the company behind the Bains Pointe building. Speakers for the company highlighted how it’ll inject needed affordable housing into the community, and that it will be similar to Holly Pointe.

A rendering of the facade of the Bains Pointe apartments at High Street and Elm Avenue (presented at Portsmouth City Council meeting)

A speaker said the complex’s rent will be based on income level, with an average price of about $745 per month for a two-bedroom apartment, though a three-bedroom apartment could go for up to $1,400 per month, depending on income level.

The land was most recently home to Chesabay Auto Sales, but it was bought by the city several years ago. Woda Cooper is buying the space from the city for $500,000.