Virginian-Pilot’s Editorial page pushes WC revitalization

August 22, 2011

The article is here.

Notable quotes:

The city found a way to accomplish what it intended for Denby Park, even without eminent domain powers: It negotiated with property owners to buy derelict apartments so it could tear them down.

Wards Corner residents hailed the move as the beginning of change. That’s what it is: a beginning. If tearing down the Denby apartments helps reduce crime, that also removes one more obstacle to investment.

Residents should keep up the pressure on current property owners to improve their buildings, especially in the neighborhood’s commercial core. So should city officials.

Wards Corner’s future depends on using the momentum created by the purchase of Denby Park to accelerate improvement. Don’t coast now and squander that opportunity.



City takes a bite out of crime in Wards Corner

August 15, 2011
316, 320, 324, 336, 340, 360 and 362 San Antonio Boulevard, highlighted in blue, are being purchased by the City of Norfolk

316, 320, 324, 336, 340, 360 and 362 San Antonio Boulevard, highlighted in blue, are being purchased by the City of Norfolk

In accordance with the 2004 Wards Corner Comprehensive plan, the City is purchasing property in Denby Park.

Below is the full press release:

NORFOLK – City Council members and the Wards Corner Task Force have partnered on the need to acquire properties within the Denby Park neighborhood, specifically the Texas Streets section.   The acquisition is part of the city’s plan to build safe, healthy neighborhoods that will sustain future generations.

Total units being acquired are 68 apartment units located in seven buildings and the grounds.   The parcels include 316, 320, 324, 336, 340, 360 and 362 San Antonio Boulevard.

The acquisition price is a total of $2,686.000.   The City Council appropriated in the past two fiscal years for this purchase and those funds were made available July 1.   Additionally, the city is seeking council permission to encumber an additional $30,000 ($15,000 for each Agreement) for any related closing costs bringing the total to $2,716.000.

Of the 68 apartment units, 16 are currently occupied.  The landlord has agreed to work with the tenants to provide them with equal or better apartments within different properties he currently owns.  All of the current leases expire no later than July 2012.

As apartments become vacant or are vacant upon the City taking possession, each unit will be boarded, secured and monitored.   Once the buildings are vacant, an environmental study will be conducted and the buildings demolished.

Pertinent quotes from a Virginian-Pilot article on the property purchase:

Councilman Andy Protogyrou made the redevelopment of Wards Corner the focus of his 2010 election campaign. Although his ward does not include Denby Park, he represents much of Wards Corner.

“This is something we’ve waited for years to happen in the Wards Corner area. It’s the beginning all of us have looked forward to,” he said.

“Marcus really deserves a lot of credit for making this happen. This shows we can make things happen when we have the political will.”

Crime in Denby Park has been a major factor in the deterioration of the Wards Corner commercial area, city leaders have said.

“Until we take care of the crime issue in Denby Park, we’re not going to make progress in the Wards Corner commercial corridor,” said Martin Thomas Jr., vice president of the Wards Corner Civic League. “So this sounds like really good news.”

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