Major developer, architect seek options on Hampton downtown parcels
A developer that has built more than $300 million in projectsthroughout Virginia is seeking a deal to gain options on several downtown parcels in Hampton, the city said Tuesday.
The WVS Cos., based in Richmond, and Virginia Beach-based Saunders+Crouse Architects, submitted an unsolicited proposal for a six-month purchase and development option on publicly held real estate. Some of those parcels are on the waterfront, said Robin McCormick, the marketing director for Hampton. “Until the deal is worked out, we don't know exactly what parcels it will be. It will be some selection of those most ready for development.”
According to the city, the six-month period allows the developer to conduct studies to identify market potential for residential and commercial development downtown. The proposal includes property held by the Economic Development Authority (EDA), the Hampton Housing and Redevelopment Authority and the city.
During a public meeting Tuesday, the EDA passed a resolution directing its staff to move forward and negotiate the details of the deal.
The WVS. Cos. has developed mixed-use urban and dense suburban real estate projects across Virginia. These projects have included Rocketts Landing in Richmond, a major project on the James River with retail, apartments and condominiums, and The Bridges, a $150 million, 10-year project across 23 acres in Roanoke that’s currently under development. It already includes apartments and some retail.
“This is a major coup,’’ EDA Chair Eleanor Brown, said in a statement. “Rather than piecemeal, separate projects in Hampton, we could be looking at an integrated, planned mixed-use concept that could
be spread across the downtown area. The EDA wants to be clear that downtown is still open for proposals for any and all development during this study period,” she added.
Housing Authority Chair Steve Brown said, “This project has great, great potential to change the face of our downtown. I foresee a vibrant downtown where people come and enjoy the waterways, live, work, dine and play.’’
According to the city, WVS has developed more than $300 million of projects. Jason Vickers Smith, a principal and co-founder of the company, could not be reached for comment.
Burrell Saunders of Saunders+Crouse has served as the lead architect for millions of square feet of mixed-use projects including
Oyster Point (Newport News), Virginia Beach Town Center, Rocketts Landing, the Innsbrook Corporate Center in Henrico County and The Bridges.