PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Moving up, by moving downtown — that’s the new mantra as developers are purchasing prime real estate in Portsmouth, in hopes of more residents settling in.
You’ve probably noticed some of the construction going on, but on Tuesday WAVY.com found out what else is on the way and why. Take a drive around downtown Portsmouth and you’ll find a sign for an upcoming housing development in front of City Hall.
“That is the first of a two-phase development that The Breeden Company will do,” said Mallory Kahler, Interim Director of Economic Development for the city of Portsmouth. “Then they will also, in time, proceed across the street to the vacant pier site by the Ntelos Pavilion.”
At the intersection of Court and County streets, you’ll see a fenced-in area where another housing development will be in time. Businesses are excited about the changing face of Old Towne.
“I think it’s going to be promising and give us a new vibe down here,” said Patricia Haskell at Guad’s. “It’s always nice to have new buildings, new faces. I don’t see anything wrong with it at all.”
“It would be great for business, I do believe, for everybody down here,” said Crystal Faison at Thumper’s.
A few streets over, King’s Court will be built by the same developer, The Whitmore Company. And drive a little further down London Street and you’ll see their newest development that opened its doors just two weeks ago. It’s a new look for an older area in Hampton Roads, and their hope is like an old saying — if they keep building, you will come.
“Right now the multifamily development is very hot here in downtown Portsmouth, and universally urban living is back,” Kahler said. “It’s hip. It’s in. Empty nesters like it. The young like it.”
The city said with the NAVY hospital and the Coast Guard command close by, these developments will be a win-win for all. They’re anticipating them bringing an estimated 750 to 1,000 people to downtown Portsmouth. Those are residents that will add vibrancy and life to the community and residents that retail and other service industries will ultimately follow.
WAVY.com talked with Tim Faulkner, COO of the development across from City Hall, and asked him why they chose downtown Portsmouth and why now. He said they see it as an undeserved market with an older product. And by placing higher end rentals in the area, they feel that it will give people who work in Portsmouth, but live in other places, something they’ve long been looking for.