NORFOLK, Virginie (WAVY) – A little over a month ago, residents of Norfolk’s Poplar Halls neighborhood got wind the old primary school and the adjacent property could be transformed into a 364 unit apartment complex.
When 10 On Your Side first spoke to Poplar Halls Civic League President Burrell Corbin, one of his biggest complaints was that city leaders had promised the Civic League that they would transform the League. school in a recreation center years ago.
Residents say the Breeden Company’s plans to expand there didn’t stop there and they would fight back.
After officials of the Breeden Company and members of Norfolk City Council met with the Civic League, a design proposal was sent.
The rendering includes a Poplar Halls community center with an outdoor pool and cabana, large meeting room, breakout rooms, kitchen, fitness room, and restrooms. Plus, new single-family homes and new small-scale multi-family homes.
A city press release states that “The proposed design allows access to the apartments without increasing traffic along Piping Rock Road or through the existing neighborhood. The project will also improve the existing trail network in the neighborhood and connect to Poplar Hall Park and the Tide light rail station.
“We’re going to have three houses built for sale – not for rent, for sale – so that will help this little area right here at Poplar Halls,” Corbin said.
The design shows apartment buildings that would have a parking garage below, closer to the freeway on the former Great Steaks property.
City officials say the proposed design prevents increased traffic in the neighborhood. Corbin says it’s a step in the right direction.
“I understood where the city council came from because people need houses but don’t just take ours… Let’s have something,” Corbin said.
Corbin says there are still lingering concerns about the project creating traffic problems – but hopes to hear more at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
In a statement, the city spokesperson said: “City staff are delighted that Breeden Company has incorporated community feedback and revised the design to include a privately funded community center with an outdoor swimming pool. and a cabin, meeting rooms, a kitchen, a fitness room and toilets. The project will also improve the existing trail network in the neighborhood and connect to Poplar Hall Park and the Tide light rail station. The City will continue to work with Breeden and the community to ensure that the proposed design allows access to the apartments while maintaining ease of movement for current residents of the neighborhood.
As a reminder, the proposed project is still in the early stages. The site must be dezoned and the project must be approved by the Norfolk Architectural Review Board, the Planning Commission, and receive final approval from Norfolk City Council. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with residents and City Council as this project progresses through the city process. “
There are still about two months until Norfolk City Council reconsiders the sale of the land.