Thanks, as always, to Karen Mayne for the following minutes.
Greater Wards Corner Task Force Meeting – January 10, 2013
The meeting was led by Councilman Andy Protogyrou. Council representatives Terry Whibley and Barclay Winn were also present.
Suburban Park Shopping Center Presentation
Chris Perry of Suburban Asset Management (SAM) provided an overview of the status of the redevelopment of the shopping center. Site demolition is complete and they will start on infrastructure construction very soon. Due to the good weather, the project is ahead of schedule. SAM plans to turn over the concrete “pads” to Harris Teeter and Towne Point Bank in April 2013, who will then use their own contractors to construct their portions of the shopping center. SAM will use Hoy Construction to build the remainder of the shopping center, which will include space for 9 to eleven retailers. If the weather remains cooperative, SAM hopes construction will be completed in 9 to 10 months from April.
SAM would like to find a restaurant to fill in the southern-most space in the shopping center, where outside seating would be possible. They encouraged task force members to spread the word and make recommendations on the names of any restaurateurs who might be interested in locating there.
Department of Public Works Updates – John Kiefer
The City will undertake a major reconstruction of the underpass and adjacent ramps at the junction of Tidewater Drive and Little Creek Road at Southern Shopping Center. They considered changing to an at-grade intersection, but that cost would be several million dollars more that maintaining the underpass. The project is planned to start in January 2014, will take 8 to 10 months to complete, will require major road closures for about 4 to 5 months, and detours for the four on/off ramps for about 10 to 14 weeks. While the road work is under construction, the Department of Utilities will also replace underground utilities along the section of Tidewater Drive south to Thole Street. DPW is planning to make presentations to the civic leagues in the area to explain the plans and detours.
Department of Development Updates – Mike Cutter
The owner of Mid-Towne Shopping Center has hired a new real estate broker and is negotiating leases, although no names were given. There are plans to renovate the parking lot during warmer weather in the spring.
The City is considering extending the grant program for business façade improvements to the Wards Corner area. This would allow this corridor to be eligible for matching grants.
A question was asked as to whether there will be a Dollar Tree store in the Wards Corner area. There will not be one in the new Suburban Park Shopping Center, but there is a possibility that there could be a Dollar Tree in one of the other two shopping centers on the north side.
Department of Utilities Updates – Ken Turner
Sewer replacement projects around the area are on schedule and several sections will be completed in the next several months, after which the City will continue with sewer line replacements in other sections.
Crime statistics for the area in December continued to show a decline from last year, which is a trend seen around the City. The president of the Denby Park civic league thanked the Norfolk Police Department for their work and said that crime numbers in Denby Park are down.
The group again discussed the school zones along Thole Street. The Norfolk Police have started providing traffic control assistance at the Norfolk Christian Upper School, and the City has installed larger school zone signs that are easier to read at both ends of the Norfolk Christian school zone. Councilman Protogyrou asked that the Department of Public Works provide information at the February meeting regarding the possibility of moving the overhead flashing school zone light at the western end of Suburban Park Elementary School further to the west to also encompass Norfolk Christian.
RE: Restaurant suggestions; would love to see a Panera’s at Ward’s Corner. The 21st street location is always packed at lunch time, so I think neighbors and the naval base would support a location here. (Plus their bagels are the best anywhere!)