The following narrative and attachments have been provided by Collins Enterprises, LLC, the developer of the proposed “Landmark at Talbot Park”:
Project Summary & History
The Landmark is a redevelopment opportunity for up to 373 luxury housing units located on Newport Avenue and on the Lafayette River near the Wards Corner area in Norfolk. The plan is to build a highly desirable residential community taking advantage of the river frontage, open space and natural features of the site with buildings designed to complement the architectural vernacular of the neighborhood. The homes will consist of one, two and three bedroom apartments appealing to empty nesters, plus single and married professionals looking for a quiet, safe and exciting location in Norfolk.
The property is currently occupied by 200 two and three-story rental apartments built in 1948, 12 condominiums completed in 2008, and a vacant site for a planned 32-unit condominium building. The property is a 12.5 acre peninsula surrounded by the Crab Creek section of the Lafayette River. It is adjacent to the Granby Elementary School & High School, the Talbot Park and Wards Corner neighborhoods, five churches and the Bon Secours DePaul Hospital which has recently obtained approvals from the state health commission to replace the existing medical center with a 124-bed, state-of-the-art, acute-care, full-service hospital. The property is conveniently located near Wards Corner, the original commercial shopping district outside of downtown. Located across the street the Norfolk Wellness Center houses indoor pools and other public facilities that will serve all the neighborhoods as well as The Landmark residents.
Collins acquired the property in 2006 and demolished 32 of the existing apartments to make way for the first phase of condominium construction now complete. Of the 12 condos built, 10 have been sold since marketing began in 2008.
The project was approved as a Planned Development by City Council in November 2008 allowing a total density of 385 units and proffers limited to building characteristics, setbacks, open space, parking etc. Collins plans to finance the project as a luxury rental community due to current unavailability of financing for condominiums and predictions for continued strong demand for “rent by choice” high-end apartments.
The Landmark will be a one of a kind luxury rental community in Wards Corner, the oldest section of Norfolk. The buildings will be three & four stories with on-grade parking and in garages. The apartments will be one, two & three bedrooms with some homes having lofts oriented to river views. The apartments will average approximately 1000 sq ft and will be merchandised with open floor plans, extra-high ceilings, elevator access and covered parking. Interior features will include state of the art kitchens and baths, bay windows, terraces and moldings. All apartments will have security systems and will be prewired for home entertainment systems, emergency 911, and internet connections.
New rental housing in the Hampton Roads area has leased well despite the contraction in job growth in the region and the country. The demand for new, affordable and safe housing communities outpaces the supply. There are no new projects underway in this district and tenants will pay a premium for new construction. Average rent for The Landmark will be around $1200 per month.
The City of Norfolk and all of Hampton Roads from Williamsburg south to Norfolk has been experiencing strong growth over the last 10 years. Military consolidation from national base closings, population growth from retirees relocating and job growth in banking, technology and defense have help stimulate housing prices. With little land left other than infill locations like Riverside, the concern for added competition is minimized.
Site Area: 12.5 acres
Gross Residential Area: 425,000 sf
Net Residential Area: 355,000 sf
# Units: 373 apartments
Stories, Height: 3 & 4 stories
Covered: 60 car ports
Outside: 560 spaces
Total parking: 620 spaces
Parking Ratio: 1.66 per apartment
160 One Bedroom Units at 730 sq. ft.
160 Two Bedroom Units at 1010 sq. ft.
53 Three Bedroom Units at 1285 sq. ft.
HUD processing: June 2010-June 2011
Construction Period: Sept 2011- March 2012
Initial Stabilization: June 2013
As much as I don’t like this, I’m trying to get use to the idea. I know that there is nothing I can do to stop this. City council will approve this because all they see are dollar signs.
If this does happen, I would like to see my street (North Shore Rd., between Newport and Granby) broken into a couple cul de sacs or atleast some speed bumbs. We already have enough traffic that uses our street as a cut through. I can’t imagine how much more we will get with an extra 600 plus cars living around the corner.
If a petition gets started, let me know where to go to sign it.
While I’m at it, isn’t Norfolk already trying to eliminate some apartments? Why would our city want more now? Don’t they realize that in twenty years these apartments will be blighted just like the Texas streets? I forsee the future. The Wards Corner crime will go up. Granby Elementary will be even more over crowded that it is now. The prostitution will increase. The bright side, in a few years I won’t have to walk very far to buy some crack!
A drive through the property today reveals that the urban blight that you fear is already present on the site. The proposal is replacement of urban blight with upscale apartments, not vice-versa. The developer Collins has tried condos and condos are not feasible in the foreseeable future. The break-even rent for new upscale apartments is several times the current property’s low rents and Collins has a long track record of high quality and high occupancy. The attached WRT review and traffic study explain these facts.
So we get to get rid of the blight now and again in twenty years?
The project will be rented at top rates and expertly maintained for at least 40 years. Collins has 5 other area upscale projects. Rental occupancies are above 95% with top rental rates. You will see top-notch maintenance if you visit Heritage at Freemason Harbor. Collins and partners have substantial equity in the project and deep pockets. The proposed FHA financing has a 40-yr term and requires maintenance reserves that are monitored and audited by FHA.
So we’re going from 2-3 stories to 3-4 stories, higher density, more traffic, and ultimately, blight in this beautiful “oldest section of Norfolk.” Residents and stakeholders of Wards Corner have voiced a clear NO to this plan, but once again, we have been completely ignored.
This doesn’t have to happen if we oppose it strongly. Ask for a yard sign from Wards Corner Now, write to the city planning commission, send a letter to the editor in the paper, and talk to your neighbors. Call Andy Protogyrou. Get involved! Go to a Wards Corner Now meeting.
You seem knowledgeable about this. Have you any idea what this will do property values? What about the over crowding of schools? Just so you know, I’m trying to debate this with you. I just live in the area and I’m not completely convinced that this is good.
The following paragraph is excerpted from the WTF review that is attached to the website. The paragraph details the positive market, i.e., property value effects of the proposed project. The project’s effect on schools will not be significant since the “rent by choice” market is singles & couples; most of the new apartments will be below “family size”, i.e., 1 & 2 bedroom, not 3-bedroom; and families tend to rent a house when 3-bedroom apartment rents are comparable or higher than rental rates for a 3-bedroom house in a comparable location.
“While the market assessment acknowledges that within Wards Corner there is a higher
percent of rental units than ownership units, it is the absence of market-rate and luxury
housing, both ownership and rental, which is the nature of the imbalance. The issue is the
incomes and other socio-economic characteristics of area households, rather than an issue
of rentals vs. ownership units. From this assessment it can be concluded that The Landmark
at Talbot Park could contribute the following positive market influences in Wards Corner:
– It will replace a low rental rate, less desirable and problem-prone complex with
much higher quality market-rate housing.
– It will meet a currently unmet demand for higher end rental housing, which can be
converted to ownership units.
– It will attract into Wards Corner new, higher income households, who unlike the
current tenants of Riverside apartments, are potential purchasers of ownership
units, either upon conversion of the Landmark at Talbot Park to condominiums, or
elsewhere in Wards Corner as new higher end ownership projects are built.
– It will provide a housing type that, because of its design features such as articulated
entrances, porches, balconies and other features that distinguishes individual
residences, can be in the future converted to condominium ownership units.
– Although an “intangible factor”, the replacement of a marginal, outdated rental
project with a high quality residential development, could be considered a
“pioneer” development in Wards Corner. The success of such a project could reduce
the perceived risks to projects that might follow, increase confidence in the future
of Wards Corner, and contribute to a momentum of re-investment and revitalization
which the plan had sought to set in motion.”
I’m feeling like you’re turning me to the darkside. When I first started questioning this idea, I did not realize that the plan was to remove the old units. I assumed the new units were going to be constructed in vaccated area. However, has Collins thought about the fact that there are still going to be low income apartments right across the street? I know if I were in the market for an upscale apartment I wouldn’t want to look out my window and see that mess.
While the title of this article is “new proposal” I see little change from the original proposal. As a resident of Wards Corner, I am strongly opposed to any “high density proposal” by any group. Understand that Collins and Co. are honorable, trustworthy, people. I truly believe they would do all that they promise. My belief is that it is not what is needed for our neighborhoods at this time. Not only is it my belief, it was the belief of the study that the city of Norfolk paid for, very handsomely by the way ($250.000). TOO MUCH DENSITY!!!!!!!! When will City Council and the other city officials get the message? The neighborhoods keep trying to tell them, they just are not listening. While it is understood that business needs to make money, does it have to make that much money at once? Is it possible to say hey, can you maybe scale back a bit on this project and make it have a 3% to 5% profit margin as opposed to 7% to 8%? I hope that City Council got the message this voting cycle, please listen to the people when they express what their neighborhood wants and what they feel is best for their neighborhood, then try to help broker a best case for all parties concerned. Appreciate you reading my thoughts. RJ Luce
worrying about blight is pointless. i dont think anyone who knew wards corner in the 70’s would have ever imagined its current plight. investment is good. increased density in an already crowded area not so good. that area has some nice properties and is a pretty nice section of norfolk overall. nice areas are fragile. if i were to put a dog on this fight it would be to maintain approximately the same density while improving the area with nicer amenities that currently exist. real estate isn’t the endless money mill that was assumed for much of the past 20 years if the economics don’t make sense then build your apartments in suffolk and stop trying to coat tail a nice neighborhood and create yet a new swath of blight.
I bike and walk through this area all the tme. The buildings are ugly, and I see a high level of thugishness already. Junk cars, big square run down brick buildings,etc. It’s dark. dank and rough looking.
The math is simple. Higher rent equals a better class of renter. Almost anything built there is better than what we see right now. Blight? It’s here, you’re just blind to it as well as positive change. I’m glad someone wants to develop it. It will be a welcome change. Traffic? If I lived there, I’d avoid Newport and go right to Granby anyway. I don’t think residents will see any appreciable change. Most of the fast traffic on North Shore comes from the residents anyway.