Group wants to bring apartments, restaurant, bowling to Olde Towne Portsmouth

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Posted at 1:45 PM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 17:50:36-05

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - A group is hoping to bring apartments, an upscale restaurant, a spa and a duckpin bowling alley to Old Towne Portsmouth.

5 Elite Group has purchased the old Tidewater Community College building and Dollar General building on High Street and will transform the buildings into a new development.

"People are like, 'You guys are crazy,' and 'Why are you doing that in downtown Portsmouth? It's not going to work,'" said Whitteney Guyton, the group's CEO. "It's more of a project of the heart than anything."

The TCC building is currently empty, leaving an opening on one of the city's main streets.

"It's going to be a vibe honestly. It's going to be a whole vibe. People are going to be like, 'Wow, I can't believe this is Portsmouth,'" Guyton said.

Their goal is to help change the narrative around the city, which has often been dominated by crime, tolls and other issues.

"All the negative always shines. There's nothing positive, so that's all we want to push is all the positive," said Joshua Shewmake, the group's chief operating officer.

They're hoping it will become a hot spot for nightlife. People to the west of Portsmouth can reach Olde Towne without paying a toll.

"This is the downtown to them. Why not make this a hub? You don't have to go through a tunnel," Shewmake said.

They say the project will take about two years to complete but are hoping this is just the start for the city.

"Here is the first stepping stone, and then everyone can follow our blueprint and keep on going," said Anthony Hayes, the group's chief financial officer.

Related: Plans to reimagine Virginia Beach's Pembroke Mall into mixed-use site underway