NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk's City Council and the Norfolk Planning Commission has unanimously approved the construction of The Railyard at Lambert’s Point.
The repurposed historic buildings and new construction will include a mix of retail, office, entertainment and dining in the Lambert’s Point neighborhood along Hampton Boulevard.
The 8.8-acre parcel is located between Norfolk Naval Base, Old Dominion University, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Sentara, and downtown Norfolk.
The project will have a central courtyard that will accommodate a stage and space for a Farmer’s Market, and a train engine will be on display as the backdrop to The Railyard at Lambert’s Point sign at the north end of the project.
The Elizabeth River Trail, which runs adjacent to The Railyard, will offer direct access to pedestrians, runners and cyclists. Neighborhood residents are excited to have walkable and family-centered destinations.
The historic buildings, each with a unique structure, will keep their original charm and character. One building’s wooden columns will support a roof with original skylights. Another building has a barrel-vault ceiling, and a third is defined by steel beams and columns but wood joists.
During the restoration project, windows will be restored, and historic signage and awnings will be incorporated. Rooftop decks will also provide shade for outdoor dining and businesses below.
The brick buildings have been abandoned for years.
Mangled tree limbs have taken over a once-bustling industrial area.
It's a time Thomas Harris remembers clear as day. He's the former president of the Lambert's Point Civic League.
"I have been in this area for over 40 years. I remember when all this right here was in bloom back in the '80s and '90s," said Harris. "There was a lot of history here. It's the 2nd oldest community in the city of Norfolk. It's a change, growth, as long as they let some of it stay, make history out of it, and prove it'll bring a lot of happiness."
Don Roby, the current president of the Lambert's Point Civic League said his neighbors are buzzing about the new project.
"It ties in perfectly," said Roby. "It's like going out and getting a new wardrobe. You have a new wardrobe, you feel good. This is gonna be our new wardrobe for our city and neighborhood of Lambert's Point."
The construction company, Meredith Construction, is a Norfolk-based family business with roots in Hampton Roads dating 100 years. It has partnered with CCB Railyard, LLC, a subsidiary of the Charlotte-based Clear Creek Brothers, LLC (CCB), a real estate investment group on the much anticipated mixed-use development.
“We are committed to revitalizing this area of Norfolk,” said Rich Meredith, who heads the development division of Meredith Construction. “We are excited to save the historic buildings and are committed to seeing this project come to fruition. This project will add value to the neighborhood, and its ideal location between the schools, base and hospitals should be a great resource for the community.”
Meredith added that The Railyard at Lamberts Point is an investment of almost $40 million. It has the potential to add 350 jobs and 100,000 square feet of new and redeveloped space.
Meredith and CCB are investing with a long-term vision.
Meredith said the company is in the process of figuring out which tenants would be the best fit for the Railyard. So far, the company has not finalized contracts with any tenants.
Meredith said construction will begin in the first quarter of 2020.
The company's plan is to have the entire project completed by December of 2020 or January 2021.