Virginia Beach, Va. (WTKR) – The Town Center area isn’t just growing up, but also out.
This summer, Phase Five of Town Center is set to open.
In his State of the City Address last week, Beach Mayor Will Sessoms said the $105 million project will bring more office, retail and apartment space with the new tower.
However, more development is also happening along the Virginia Beach Boulevard Corridor east and west of Town Center.
“We hope it's because of our planning efforts, but the reality is it's a great place to be. The economy has turned around and there's a lot of interest in some redevelopment and new development,” explained Barry Frankenfield, the Director of Virginia Beach’s Strategic Growth Area Office.
Town Center falls within the Pembroke Strategic Growth Area, one of 8 designated by Virginia Beach.
“We look at Pembroke as primarily a mixed-use office, live, work, play, fairly high density area,” Frankenfield told NewsChannel 3’s Todd Corillo.
To the west of Town Center, a new Walmart is under construction where a flea market once stood near the intersection with South Kellam Road.
Amanda Henneberg, a spokeswoman for Walmart told NewsChannel 3 that the new store is expected to open in the Fall and will employ about 300 people.
“We think this is an area with strong growth potential,” Henneberg wrote. “We are using some unique design elements that fit well with the surrounding properties. Some of these elements include an open plaza in front, structured parking, and unique architectural features.”
Frankenfield says those elements fit in well with the vision for the Pembroke area.
“Deck parking, open plaza, the public art, the building coming closer to the street are really, really important to how an area looks and works together,” he said.
To the east of Town Center, IHOP is currently making renovations to the old Silver Diner location across from Princess Anne High School.
Craig Hoffman, a communications manager for IHOP, tells NewsChannel 3 that the new location should be open in mid-April, replacing the current restaurant located on the other side of the Boulevard.
Another element that could spur more development around Town Center would be the introduction of light rail.
Frankenfield showed NewsChannel 3 a rendering of what light rail could look like in Pembroke, crossing over Independence Boulevard on a raised platform into Town Center.
“Light rail makes it a destination, a major destination. It makes it be able to operate at a little higher density; it hopefully makes it very walkable,” Frankenfield stated. “It creates the development potential to expand beyond the core district and make it a little bit larger.”