Proposed Denby Baseball Park

June 30, 2010

A number of neighbors have been talking about an idea that was discussed in our article “Replace Texas Streets with new ballfields.”  After further discussion it appears that neighbors, including some residents of the Denby Park neighborhood, are interested in further exploring the idea of building baseball fields in Denby Park to replace the fields lost at Fleet Park.  Below you will see a slideshow of the following images:  Current Map of Denby Park, Current Satellite view of Denby Park, Proposed Denby Baseball Park, and Fleet Park superimposed over the proposed Denby Baseball Park.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You can see above that the proposed Denby Baseball Park is about the same size as the current Fleet Park.

The proposed Denby Baseball Park is 23.73 Acres and the total of the assessed value of the properties in the park area is $19,534,000.  Please provide your thoughts in the comments section, below.


Festival & Sidewalk Sale at Ward’s Corner

June 29, 2010

The following was received from Laura Thom and John Knight:

Festival & Sidewalk Sale at Ward’s Corner
SATURDAY, JULY 3RD, 11am – 3pm
Free food, art, entertainment & sidewalk sale. 7512 Granby St. in
front of Rom Thai Restaurant and adjacent businesses in Ward’s Corner
Shopping Center.  Featuring Thai dancing, fruit carving
demonstrations, samples of delicious Thai food, local artists, great
deals from local businesses and more.  Artists who would like a free
space to display your work please contact Joe Skelley at 675-6569.

Talbot Hall property could be developed

June 21, 2010
Talbot Hall

Talbot Hall

At the end of Talbot Hall Road, along the banks of the Lafayette River, you will find a plantation by the name of Talbot Hall.  Talbot Hall is owned by The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia and it includes four buildings and the plantation.    Residents, mostly from the surrounding Talbot Park neighborhood, are concerned about the future of this property as the Diocese is considering a sale of the Talbot Hall.  The concerned residents have set up a website, a Facebook page, and have a writeup in the newspaper.

The Diocese has scheduled two Town Hall meetings to get public feedback on the Talbot Hall property.  The first meeting is scheduled for June 30, 2010 at 6:30pm at the Church of the Ascension and the second is on July 15 at 6:30pm at the same Church, located at the corner of Talbot Hall Road and Newport Ave.

From the “Save Talbot Hall!” website:

This historic site sits squarely in the Lafayette River watershed, a key tributary of the Elizabeth River, and less than 10 miles from the Chesapeake Bay. Not only does this site provide an ideal contemplative home for the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, it also serves as a rare urban habitat for countless waterfowl, fish, and other marine flora and fauna. It also provides open recreation space for residents of the local neighborhood. The crown jewel of the property is Talbot Hall, the plantation house after which the local neighborhood take its name, completed in 1803 and still largely intact and unchanged since then.

In conjunction with local civic and environmental organizations, we urge the Diocese and its members to preserve this fragile and essential part of Norfolk’s heritage, and Save Talbot Hall!

The meetings are being held by the Talbot Hall Properties Committee:

The Talbot Hall Properties Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia is charged with conducting a comprehensive study of the Talbot Hall property. This study includes, but not limited to, usage, location, maintenance needed to improve the property to meet today’s standards and to provide for future strategic goals of the diocese.  Intertwined is the recognition of the long term financial stress of both the diocese and its parishes in having the diocese continue to own and maintain these properties.  The committee’s review includes the original bequeath by the Talbot family, roofing and other major maintenance needs of the Manor House and office buildings, the annual operating costs of owning these properties, neighborhood concerns relating to the property and its use, and the effect on diocesan and parish finances if the property was sold versus continued ownership.
As part of this study, the committee is encouraging interested community and diocesan members to gather at the Church of the Ascension in Norfolk to discuss in an open forum, thoughts and concerns relating to the property in an effort to brainstorm ideas that will meet the needs of the diocese as well as the community of which the diocesan office has been a part.

Wards Corner Now meeting minutes

June 21, 2010

Wards Corner Now – June 19, 2010

Wards Corner Now had a meeting on June 19, 2010, at the Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center.  As is customary with WCN meetings, the facilitator of the meeting is rotated month-to-month and Louis Eisenberg chaired this meeting.  Topics covered were: the proposed Collins Enterprises revised plans for the site where the Riverside Terrace apartments are located; Talbot Hall, Southeast Virginia Episcopal Diocesan Center; and AJ Gators update.  Forty area residents attended the meeting, including City Council member-elect Andy Protogyrou.  Below is a short summary, nothing is verbatim.

Landmark at Talbot Park and Proposed Construction at Riverside Terrace – Rick Anderson, representing Collins Enterprises, reviewed what has occurred thus far on the property – 1 condo building and the reconstruction of one street.  The proposal involves developing apartment buildings housing 189 units along the front of the property facing Newport Avenue and reserving the rest of the property for condo units.  Rationale for this proposed change – from an all-condo site – is as follows:

  • It took 2 years to sell 9 units in the current building.
  • Riverside Terrace Apartments are 60 years old and require extensive maintenance.
  • Current income is at or below break even.

Mr. Anderson indicated that this is a HUD insured loan and a market rate project.  A one-bedroom apartment will rent for just under $1,000 and the renter would have to make $30,000 in order to qualify.  A three-bedroom apartment would rent for about $1,500 a month and minimum income would be $50,000.  There would be 189 apartments with people making more than double the current tenant income level.  Property amenities would include common area meeting rooms and exercise facilities.  It was suggested that to be Class A, a pool and tennis courts would need to be included also.  Demolition would beginning the 1st quarter of 2011 and the building would be finished the 3rd quarter of 2012.

The four-floor project would be similar in appearance to the one on Bolling Avenue.

Mr. Anderson indicated that Collins representatives had met with members of the Wards Corner Task Force regarding concerns and that the company was willing to implement part of it.

Past City Council member Conoly Phillips, as a resident of another Collins Enterprises apartment, Heritage at Freemason Harbor, spoke in favor of the proposed project.

Numerous concerns, suggestions and questions were raised by meeting attendees, including the following:

  • The proposed plan is a major change from the original plan.
  • The density will negatively impact the surrounding neighborhood.
  • This area is not downtown and projects that work there would not necessarily work in the Wards Corner area.
  • While there may be the best of intentions regarding income qualifications, the possibility of several unrelated folks renting together could bypass the requirement and would exacerbate density problems.  Mr. Anderson indicated that Collins has control over how many people live in apartments and that management and maintenance folks would check.
  • The area is inundated with low rent apartments – 17 within a .5 mile radius – and the neighborhood does not need more.  Instead, we need more established residences.
  • We have a vision for the area – and a comprehensive plan – and this project does not fit that vision.
  • Collins Enterprises needs to slow down and look at best choices for the long term; wait and do it right the first time.
  • One suggestion is to start with the waterfront and build single family homes first.  Then as financing is freed up, build condos along the front.
  • Another suggestion is to look at building luxury housing for seniors.
  • A concern was raised regarding assurances that the plan for the rest of the property would not change.  Mr. Anderson responded that folks could rely upon the word of Collins Enterprises that it would not.
  • Neighbors who own homes which back on to the proposed project have concerns regarding the impact the shift from condos to high density apartments would have on their quality of life.
  • Another factor in the difficulties surrounding the sale of the current condos – and those in building 2 – is their location with regard to the Riverside Terrace Apartments.  In addition, if the new apartments are built, the density would restrict the ability to sell upscale condos behind them on the property.
  • The problem is that Collins Enterprises focus on the bottom line is not balanced with community needs.
  • One member explained that it was not development in general – or Collins Enterprises in particular – that was being opposed but the current project proposal.

The Wards Corner Now attendees then discussed next steps:

  • Changes must go to Planning Commission and City Council for approval.
  • We as a community have to show a groundswell of opposition to support Commission and Council votes against the changes.

For the record a vote was taken.  Unanimously, the 40 meeting attendees were opposed to the new Collins Enterprises proposal and support retaining the original plan or something better – i.e., single family housing.

An additional next step would be to hold a charrette with all interested parties present so that representatives from Collins Enterprises would be fully informed about what the community wants and needs.

Adjacent homeowners need to contact the Planning Commission to ensure that the homeowners are informed when action is being taken to change site plans.

Talbot Hall – Jay Taylor, resident of Talbot Hall neighborhood, discussed concerns related to the possible sale of  Talbot Hall, which belongs to the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Virginia.  A diocesan Property Committee has been formed to decide what to do with the property.  With the sale and possible development is the threat of loss of the 1803 historically significant house which is on the property as well as 8 acres of land and of the impact on the wetlands.  The Property Committee has stated that they are interested in a solution that is good for both the diocese and the community.

A neighborhood ad hoc committee is taking the opportunity to put together recommendations and needs assistance.  A Facebook page, Save Talbot Hall, gives additional information.

The diocese is holding 2 town hall meetings at 6:30 pm in the Church of the Ascension on Talbot Hall Road:

  • Wednesday, June 30
  • Thursday, July 15

The ad hoc committee is requesting the attendance of  Wards Corner Now members at one or both of the meetings.

AJ Gators – Anticipated opening of the AJ Gators on the southeast corner of Wards Corner is anticipated to be in late July or early August.  The existing AJ Gators will be changed, renamed and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Look for the grand opening announcement.

Faith-based Partners – The pastor of the TAB Church was in attendance and Louis Eisenberg recognized him and asked him to assist us in eliciting the participation of other faith-based partners.

July Meeting Agenda Items: Talbot Hall, Collins Enterprises and Norfolk Collegiate Updates

PrimePlus Flea Market, June 26, 2010

June 20, 2010

Wards Corner Cleanup, June 26

June 16, 2010

The following message was received from Laura Thom:

The Wards Corner Litter Task Force wants YOU for the June 26th CLEAN OUR CORNER JUBILEE!
As members of the Wards Corner community, we all have a stake in the condition of our neighborhood. So come join Wards Corner area residents, businesses, and the Sheriff’s Department to clean our corner!

Saturday, June 26th.
7:30-8:30 for coffee, pastries & registration at
North Shore Sports & Physical Therapy
7419 Granby St.

IMPORTANT:  RSVP to Laura at 489-5820, by June 24th.

Trash bags, safety vests, gloves & water will be provided.

(Rain date, Sunday, June 27th)

Wards Corner Now meeting Saturday, 8:30am at Fitness and Wellness Center

June 15, 2010

Remember that Wards Corner Now is having our meeting this Saturday at 8:30am at the Fitness and Wellness Center.  Please plan on attending.  The Agenda is below.


A.  The Landing at Talbot Park

B.  An update on Norfolk Collegiate

C.  Update on A.J. Gators

D.  Other Business.

More details on proposed apartments on Newport Ave

June 15, 2010
Collins Apartments - Collins now proposes putting a large apartment building where four small condo buildings were to be built

Collins Apartments - Collins now proposes putting a large apartment building where four small condo buildings were to be built

The developer of WestPort Commons and the (proposed) Landmark at Talbot Park, Art Collins, has provided these additional details about his apartment proposal:

The average rent will be closer to $1200/mo not $1000/mo-contemplated as a class A apartment community with its own amenities.
The mix of apartments will be as follows:
1 Br                  80
2 Br                  95
3 Br                  14
189 apartments
The property is approved for a total of 385 housing units and the current proposal complies will all provisions including setbacks, bldg height etc. of the zoning approval from Nov 2008.
12 condominiums have already been built and 9 have been sold since completion in 2008.
The apartment property is close to 6 acres leaving approximately 7 acres to build the residual 184 housing units over the next few years.
The existing apartments number 200 and it is anticipated that a minimum of 72 will be taken down to accommodate the apartment project leaving 128 remaining until the for-sale markets return.

May Meeting Minutes

June 13, 2010

Wards Corner Now – May 15, 2010

Wards Corner Now had a meeting on May 15, 2010 at the Fitness and Wellness Center.  As is customary with WCN meetings, the facilitator of the meeting is rotated month-to-month.  Jim English chaired the meeting.  Topics covered were: DePaul Medical Center, Crosswalks, Proposed Construction at Riverside Terrace, Walgreens, Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan, and the Agenda’s for the May and June meetings.  Newly elected City Council member Andy Protogyrou was present.  Below is a short summary, nothing is verbatim.

DePaul Medical Center: While complete long term plans for the site are still in the development phase, Pam Phillips, DePaul Vice President for Mission, outlined the direction Bon Secours will be taking and upcoming intermediary changes to the buildings and property. Sometime this summer the Vincent Building, which is below current standards, will be razed.  DePaul is currently waiting for the state to approve a cancer treatment center.  Future plans include a 124 bed full service hospital which will include obstetrics and emergency services.  Site plans will include green space and water features.  DePaul is in the midst of a fundraising campaign now and  estimates groundbreaking is  to be in 2014.

Plans are also in the final stages for a new community service – a free mobile medical clinic in partnership with local churches.  Patients will be seen by a physician or nurse practitioner.

Crosswalks: City funding has been approved for 7 crosswalks.  WCN attendees agreed that only 2 crosswalks should be installed at this time and it be proposed to City Council that the “saved” money be added to funds supporting the implementation of the Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan.

Landmark at Talbot Park and Proposed Construction at Riverside Terrace: According to developer Art Collins, in today’s economic climate it is unfeasible to continue with Landmark at Talbot Park as proposed originally.  The revision would include 190 apartments in a 4-story building along the front of the Riverside Terrace property instead of developing the area into condos.  The apartments, most of which would be split between 1 and 2 bedroom units, would rent for approximately $1,000 a month. Consensus of the meeting was that the density planned for the site was too high and the possibility for negative impact on the surrounding neighborhoods was too great.  The WCN steering committee will look into the where Art Collins is in the application process and make further recommendations.

Walgreens: After discussion, the consensus was that the proffered agreement for the special exception license to sell beer should be the same as that at Rite Aid.

June Meeting Agenda Items: Norfolk Collegiate and AJ Gators Updates

Collins applies to build apartments rather than condos

June 11, 2010

Collins LLC, the developer of WestPort Commons (formerly known as WaterMark) on Newport Ave, just north of Granby Elementary, has applied to the City for a siteplan change.  The application is being made because Collins wants to build apartments rather than condos.  Collins blames the market for condos and condo financing on the need to change. The original siteplan called for six small condo buildings closest to Newport Ave and three larger condo buildings closer to the river.  One small condo building has been built thus far on the northeast corner of the property.  The change in siteplan will need to be approved by City Council.

Original Siteplan - shows six small condo buildings nearest Newport Ave and three large condo buildings toward the river

Original Siteplan - shows six small condo buildings nearest Newport Ave and three large condo buildings toward the river

The application that has been filed indicates that Collins wants to combine four of the original small condo buildings into one large apartment complex.  The apartment building will be situated against Newport Ave.

Collins Apartments - Collins now proposes putting a large apartment building where four small condo buildings were to be built

Collins Apartments - Collins now proposes putting a large apartment building where four small condo buildings were to be built

The apartments are to be called “The Landmark at Talbot Park”  and will include 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units.  As currently planned the apartments will not include a pool, tennis courts, or a clubhouse.

The Landmark at Talbot Park - Elevation from Newport Ave

The Landmark at Talbot Park - Elevation from Newport Ave

Collins presented their proposed plan at the May Wards Corner Taskforce meeting.  Some concerns that have been pointed out by those in attendance are: lack of amenities (pool, clubhouse, tennis courts), the appearance of one large, long, 4-story wall on Newport Ave, that Collins promised condos but now wants apartments, and the lack of greenspace.

The portion of the property closest to the river is not being developed at this time and the siteplan for that are will more than likely change in the future.

Please see our July 11, 2008 article titled “WestPort Commons Update” for information about the original plan for the development.

Representatives from Collins will be at the Wards Corner Now meeting on June 19, 2010 at 8:30am at the Fitness and Wellness Center on Newport Ave.  If you have questions or concerns regarding this development, please attend.

Walgreens applies to sell alcohol at Wards Corner

June 8, 2010


Walgreens at Ward’s Corner has applied for a special exception to sell alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption.  Sale of alcohol requires City permission as well as a state ABC license. The Planning Commission makes a recommendation to City Council on permit approvals.  They are scheduled to go before the Planning Commission on June 24, 2010 and the public hearing is at 2:30pm.

Walgreens filed an application for each of their stores in the City of Norfolk with the City and with the ABC Board.  At the insistence of the Ghent Neighborhood League, Walgreens withdrew their ABC Board application for their Ghent location.

Wards Corner Now discussed this application at their recent meetings in March and May and the overall consensus was that Walgreens should be granted the application but that they should have the same restrictions on the sale of alcohol that Rite Aid has at their location across Little Creek Road.  It was made clear that their should be no single container sales.

Portions of this article were taken from the Suburban Acres Civic League Newsletter

Update 6/9/10: Corrected date of Planning Commission meeting

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