PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Big plans are in motion to redevelop part of downtown Portsmouth.
A team of developers is turning the former Tidewater Community College Visual Arts building and Dollar General on High Street into an entertainment destination for the whole family.
“We are creating a real downtown atmosphere,” said CEO of 5 Elite Group Whitteney Guyton.
When the former TCC visual arts building and Dollar General went up for sale a few months ago, Guyton said her team saw potential.
“We walked down to the building and Josh was like how about we put restaurants or something downstairs and we do residences upstairs,” Guyton said. “And I was like you got it! Let’s do it.”
Guyton along with partners Joshua Shewmake and Anthony Hayes started crafting plans immediately.
The Dollar General will become a duckpin bowling spot called Crashing Ducks.
“Duckpin bowling, Chicago style pub, and grill type thing,” Shewmake said. “That gives family a place to go where they can be with their kids and have a good time.”
The TCC building is turning into Finley on High: luxury apartments, a steakhouse with Louisiana flair, and a spa.
“We are going to have a cigar and bar lounge as well in the restaurant,” Guyton said.
Guyton said Darmeshia Guyton is their Vice President of Property and Design. And Portsmouth School Board Member Tamara Shewmake is Vice President of Marketing and Business Development.
The trio also opened a sports facility in Portsmouth called Shew Velocity Sportsplex. And Guyton co-owns 1865 Brewing Co., the first Black-owned brewery in the area. But they say this latest $15 million project is a chance to put Portsmouth on the map.
“That was our biggest focus is to shine a new light on the city of Portsmouth,” Guyton said.
“We are not afraid to do anything because if you are afraid to do something you will never get anything done,” Hayes said.
They hope to see their dream become reality in two years’ time.
“I believe our jobs as a development company is to develop things that are for the people,” Guyton said. “We are going to start with Portsmouth, and we are happy and excited about that.”
The developers said they are currently finishing up the architectural plans so they can give them to the city for approval. They started working on this project back in July.