“Norfolk poised to buy parcels of land” – Virginian-Pilot headline

January 16, 2013

Jill Nolin at the Virginian-Pilot wrote an article that was published today, January 16, 2013, indicating that the City of Norfolk is preparing to purchase blighted properties in Wards Corner and Ocean View.

The city is poised to spend millions in the coming weeks as it buys the former Travelers Inn in Ocean View and more property in the Denby Park area of Wards Corner as part of plans to revitalize struggling neighborhoods.

City officials were tight-lipped about the proposed Wards Corner deals, but Martin Thomas Jr., vice president of the Wards Corner Civic League and a member of the city’s planning commission, said residents have been pushing the city to focus on the 300 block of East Little Creek Road and the so-called “Texas streets” behind it.

. . .

In the current budget, city officials allocated $2 million for acquisitions in the Wards Corner area.

. . .

In Wards Corner, the city is looking to clean up the Denby Park area. The city has finished its negotiations, but a deal has not been completed, said Councilman Andy Protogyrou. He declined to comment further because of the “sensitivity of the process.”

Winn said city officials want to further reduce housing density in the area by targeting sites with apartment buildings. Last year, seven buildings in the 300 block of San Antonio Blvd. were torn down on property the city acquired for $2.7 million.



Greater Wards Corner Task Force Meeting – September 13, 2012

September 17, 2012

Meeting highlights:

  • The out-parcel at the new Harris Teeter shopping center will be a TowneBank
  • The lease with Harris Teeter has been signed
  • The above ground utilities on Granby and E. Little Creek abutting the Harris Teeter property will be buried
  • Talbot Hall has been put on the market by the Episcopal Diocese that owns the property

Thanks, as always, to Karen Mayne to keeping notes on the Taskforce meetings.  Below are her notes from September 13, 2012.

The meeting was led by Councilman Andy Protogyrou. Council representatives Whibley and
Winn were also present.

Department of Development Updates – Charles Rigney

Suburban Park Shopping Center – The lease with Harris Teeter has been signed. Letters of intent are in place for all spaces in the new shopping center except one space at the south end.  The out-parcel building will be filled by Towne Bank. On Granby Street at Louisiana there will be a new left turn lane and stop light heading southbound. On Louisiana there will be two turn lanes. There may be an additional light needed on the east side of Little Creek Road and the City has an agreement with Mrs. Dallis to take a parking space in the Mid-town Shopping Center if needed for this traffic light. The City is paying for these traffic improvements.

Mid-Town Center Shopping Center – Mrs. Dallis did not reach an agreement with Dollar Tree so there will be no store in the renovated shopping center. The owner of the gas station is looking for offers to sell but it is unclear what might go there. Mrs. Dallis is not interested in purchasing the property. The 7-11 company expressed interest in the site, but the City does not think the public would want a 7-11 store in that location.

Other Development News: The 7-11 Corporation is looking to move and upgrade a number of corporate owned stores in the region, including the store on the southwest side of Wards Corner.  The City is trying to help find an appropriate new location for the store. Discussions continue with potential developers of the Work Force Center property. The liquor license application by the Pancake House was approved by City Council on Tuesday. The former physical therapy building is still under consideration for an urgent care facility. The application by the national chain, Cookout Restaurant, to take over the Speedy Gonzales restaurant on Tidewater Drive was withdrawn by the company after two residents in the area expressed opposition. The Denby Park Civic League supports the project and the City indicated the Cookout company will come back in for approval after further discussions with residents. The Guads restaurant should be open in early October. The need for repaving of the parking lot was discussed.

Department of Public Works Updates – John Keifer/Ann Kelly

Utilities Undergrounding at Wards Corner – Three options for placing the utilities underground on the east side at the Suburban Park Shopping Center were presented. Option 1 would put the utilities underground along the southeast side of Granby Street and Little Creek Road for $160,000. Option 2 would also include the entire perimeter of the shopping center (adding in Louisiana and Virginian frontages) for $3,600,000. Option 3 would also include the northeast side of Little Creek (Mid-Town Shopping Center) from Granby to Virginian for $2,900,000. It was pointed out that the cost estimates for Options 2 and 3 appeared to be reversed. Task Force members agreed that putting the utilities underground along Louisiana and Virginian was not a priority, nor was the north side at the present time. Option 1 will be requested as a Capital
Improvement Project in the City’s 2013 budget since the cost is reasonable and it makes sense to do the project while the entire corner is under construction. Public Works was requested to go back and determine the cost of doing the north-east corner along Granby Street and Little Creek

Road for future consideration.

Wards Corner Redevelopment Plan – There is still $2 million budgeted by the City for the redevelopment of the area. The group agreed that the redevelopment of blighted areas of the greater Wards Corner area is a priority over placing the utilities underground.

Police Report

Crime statistics for the greater Wards Corner area remain low. Civic league representatives pointed out that it appears prostitutes may be working the Little Creek corridor from Wards Corner to Galveston. There may also be an issue with the small unpaved section of Galveston at Virginian Drive. The vice squad will be notified. The police are also looking into the issue of students leaving Granby High at lunchtime.

Community Reports

Karen Mayne reported that there is a need for a larger and reconfigured bus port at Suburban Park Elementary since school buses back up on Thole Street, and there is a problem with soil erosion at the front of the school. Council representatives asked the Public Works department to work on an engineering plan for the bus port that could be submitted as a Capital Improvement Project in the next year’s budget.

Jim McDonnell reported that Talbot Hall (owned by the Episcopal Church) has been listed for sale with Harvey Lindsay real estate company. The property is zoned institutional.

Community Services Board president Kenny Bryant reported that the transition of the CSB to City management is going well.

Norfolk Collegiate reported that the construction of its new arts center is on schedule for a March 2013 opening.

The group discussed the need for school crossing flashing lights at the Norfolk Christian Lower School on Granby Street and the Norfolk Collegiate Lower School on Tidewater Drive. This will be discussed further at the next task force meeting.

Councilman Protogyrou’s Budget Requests

April 7, 2012
Councilman Andy Protogyrou

Councilman Andy Protogyrou

Ward 1 Councilman, Andrew Protogyrou, wrote a memo to City Manager, Marcus Jones, requesting specific funding and budget requests for the upcoming budget.  The original memo was dated April 5, 2012 and an addendum was done on April 6, 2012.  The content is printed below:


You had asked me for any budget issues regarding Ward One in the City of Norfolk. Though I have informally discussed some or all of these items with you in the past, I believe it appropriate to present my requests in writing for your benefit. I have the following requests:

1.  Co-occurring Drug and Mental Health Court: I have discussed with Chief Judge Junius Fulton of the Norfolk Circuit Court issues of the Mental Health Court and Drug Court. The Drug Court is run by Judge Fulton and the Mental Health Court is run by Judge Charles Poston. When an individual  has a mental health problem it is handled in the one court; if the person has a drug problem, it is handled in the other. However, many people are coming before the courts with two problems (especially veterans). An example would be a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who commits a crime. Individuals with PTSD abuse narcotics and/or alcohol as an unauthorized self medication therapy. When an individual has both diagnoses, he does not qualify for either court and falls within “a donut hole.”

Judge Fulton has recommended a combination of the two courts. He would handle twenty-five therapeutic places. Currently, it appears the fifty slots of the drug court and the twenty-five of the mental health court are full but there is a need to fill the hole. In this manner, a separate co-occurring track for veterans and others who may suffer from PTSD, depression, drug and alcohol addictions and have committed crimes are therapeutically placed.

Two positions are needed for this co-occurring track. First would involve a CSB clinician.  The clinician, appears to be a new position (their staffing I am sure will be examined in the near future). Second is a probation officer for felony cases that would result in the twenty-five individuals being supervised in the co-occurring track. It appears that a probation officer costs approximately $75,000 and currently one functions through an MOU between the City and Drug Court.

Space is needed. There is space currently available at $12.50 per sq. ft. on a five year lease of 2,850 sq. ft. This space is owned by the Decker family and next to Probation and Parole. It allows for a group meeting area, a lobby and offices.

Further, the Mental Health Court has asked for $15,000 in funds to afford it the opportunity to do a five-year evaluation to validate the program as vehicle for Federal grants. This has been authorized under the previous manager and at this point is now due to be able to keep the court receiving funds.

2.   Mason Creek: Specifically with regard to Ward One, there has been discussion of dredging Mason Creek. I know this has come up in the past but I believe dredging could fall within flood abatement issues and may be brought to the Government’s attention when it comes to bidding of the pumping station to rectify Mason Creek flooding. I believed past budgets have included dredging as a line item.

3.  4th View Interchange: This interchange at W. Ocean View Avenue continues to be a problem for the residents. I would like a review of how the interchange has become such a problem in its present state and what solutions to the current condition exist.

4.  Underground utility work at Wards Corner: Considering the future development and improvement in the area, please budget underground utility work at the Little Creek/Granby intersection.

5.  Denby Park Acquisition: Please continue apartment purchases in this area. Though not Ward 1, the eradication of blight effects the entire city. It was only after our collective political will and your acceptance, that acquisition is the solution to the problem, the initial purchases occurred. It was not happenstance that development in Wards Corner followed because of our purchases. It actually spurred it.

Lastly, not involving issues of budget, I would again ask that I receive a report on the Glennwood Park Civic League building on Woodview Avenue and whether the architect has had an opportunity to meet with the families in that area.
Again, I would like a courthouse meeting to discuss the current situation and setup of the bar library, bar association offices and restaurant that is on the first floor.


1.  Police/Fire Memorial:  The city must allocate funds for a joint police/fire memorial to be placed on the civic plaza near City Hall and the new courthouse. A new memorial should incorporate the current bell. I have met with the Public Arts Commission and Ann O’Dell of your office and it is believed that such a memorial should come from private donations and the city. Those funds should be considered separate from the Public Arts Commission; however, we can seek their assistance in bringing a work of art to fruition.

2.  Workforce Development Center Property: Please place the acquisition of this property in the appropriate CIP budget. Price may be derived from the lease that is set to expire in 2015.

3.  No-kill Policy: The city must budget for a 90% or better save rate for animals at the Norfolk Animal Care Center. To meet this budgetary requirement ordinances involving TNR Program (Trap, Neuter, Return) must be implemented. In 2010 Norfolk ACC had a save rate of dogs and cats of 54.46%. This was 20% less than the city of Portsmouth and 40% less than the city of Charlottesville’s SPCA. Portsmouth currently has a no-kill policy. The city must adjust its budget to meet same. Anything less is unacceptable.

The original PDF documents:



Protogyrou hits the ground running

July 18, 2010
Councilman Andy Protogyrou

Councilman Andy Protogyrou

Councilman Andy Protogyrou heavily campaigned on the promise that he would work to revitalize Wards Corner and he has wasted no time pushing the issue.

At the July 13, 2010 City Council meeting, Mr. Protogyrou made an oral and written request to the City Manager that there be a meeting scheduled with Mr. Protogyrou and a representative of NRHA, Economic Development, City Planning, and the City Attorney’s office.

The text of the request:

The Greater Wards Corner Comprehensive Plan (2004) is approximately 6 years old.  In that time, changes have resulted in demographics, the economy overall, and city finances in particular.

However, I believe opportunity still exists for major change in the plan area.

As we have a Wards Corner Task Force where stakeholders meet on a regular basis, I request a meeting of City Hall stakeholders as an educational tool for myself.

Therefore, I kindly request a meeting with NRHA, Economic Development, City Planning and perhaps the City Attorney’s Office to brief me and examine our past, present, and future in Wards Corner.

I would like to meet in the CIty Council Conference Room, and questions will be particularized for each department by me before they arrive to afford adequate time to prepare.

Mr. Protogyrou wants his constituents to know that if you need him, he can be contacted at andy.protogyrou@norfolk.gov or 633-6607.

The written request can be found here.

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