CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Chesapeake City Council will vote Tuesday on whether to move forward on a proposal to put a senior housing complex near the Chesapeake Square Mall.
Councilman Roland Davis said he was planning to vote against it.
“I think Western Branch has great opportunity. I think the prime commercial space should be reserved for viable companies that will bring in businesses, customers, will attract other business, and raise the tax base value,” he said Friday.
Earlier this summer, the Chesapeake Planning Commission approved the proposal for 160 housing units for residents 62 or older. According to paperwork related to the project, the developer, Marlyn Development Corporation, believes it could help reinvigorate the mall area. Davis has other ideas.
“Obviously a field house would be a possibility, office buildings, much like Norfolk’s done with Military (Circle) mall area. It could even be a city piece of property that could be the start of a fair, festival, farmer’s market,” Davis said.
The nearby mall has struggled with the loss of stores like Macy’s and Sears, and Davis is confident the area will make a comeback.
“Putting a senior apartment complex right in the middle of it just doesn’t fit. I think we need a 25-year vision. I think we need to dream and not settle, and so, it’s a good project, but it’s the wrong location.”
Councilwoman S.Z. “Debbie” Ritter said she was still not sure about the project, and had some questions about deed restrictions. Councilman Robert Ike said he was leaning towards approval, but wanted to hear from the community before the vote. WAVY News left messages for council members Lonnie Craig, John de Triquet, Suzy Kelly, and Dr. Ella Ward.