NORFOLK, Va. - Three teams are looking to redevelop Norfolk's Military Circle Mall.
The Norfolk Economic Development Authority (EDA) released the executive summaries for each of the three teams who submitted proposals for their redevelopment plans. The city says this is an important next step that will allow the public to see the actual development plans for the mall for the first time.
First up, a proposal from Crossroads Partnership. It features a sports complex, a 15,000 seat arena, a hotel, restaurants, and residential housing to include 987 units of multifamily housing, with 100 of those units for affordable housing. The plan would create 1,800 jobs.
The second proposal comes from Norfolk MC Associates. It includes an 8,000 seat amphitheater, grocery store, recreation center, hotel, apartments, retail space, and Sentara Wellness offices. Norfolk State University would have an extended campus in the development. The plan would create 1,800 permanent jobs.
The last proposal from Wellness Circle includes a 15,000 seat arena, retail, office and exercise space, restaurant, townhomes, residential space to include apartments, and a 200-room hotel.
Some living in Norfolk say they love the idea of the area being transformed.
"A couple of years ago, it use to be a fun mall and everything was here but as time went on it just died out and no one really comes here anymore. If they put the arena here, it would put Norfolk on the map and it would be a tourist area," Mykell Bowman, a Norfolk resident and college student, said.
"I do feel bad for the remaining stores, like they’re not going to have a place to go. There’s some good stores here but it’s not a lot left. Mainly people use to always come for the movie theater and they just took that down. Now it’s basically vacant," Mona Imes, a Norfolk native and college student, said.
The two Norfolk natives believe a change is needed, but others say they’ll miss the mall.
"Military is like the neighborhood mall, so why would y'all take it from us," one Norfolk resident said.
An online portal is in development for the public to submit their input on the project.
“The redevelopment of this corridor is important to Norfolk and Hampton Roads. The City has been aggressive and deliberate in pursuing this transformational project. We are grateful for the work of everyone involved, and look forward to the next phase of this project,” said Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander.
“The Military Circle mall property is an integral part of the City’s redevelopment efforts and the City’s resilience strategy. As we look to a future with rising seas, we know this area is one of the highest in Norfolk. I want to thank all three development teams for believing, as we do, in the potential of Military Circle,” said Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer.
“The release of the executive summaries will provide the public an opportunity to review the overall scope of the development plans. Public input is an extremely important part of this process,” Jared Chalk, executive director of the EDA & director of development, said.
The RFP respondents include the following teams:
- The Crossroads Partnership - this group includes the ESmith Legacy Foundation, which is headed up by NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith
- Norfolk MC Associates
- Wellness Circle, LLC - this group includes musician and Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams
These proposals are the latest in the EDA’s efforts to transform the Military Circle Mall property into a vibrant, mixed-use development. In 2014, the EDA purchased the former JCPenney and parking lot for $2.3 million and redeveloped the space into the 820 Building, a modern office building. In May 2020, this building was sold for $20 million, which facilitated the acquisition of the remaining mall and the former DoubleTree Hotel.
Click here to see each team's proposal and detailed information on the Military Circle redevelopment process.