Proposals for Norfolk’s Military Circle Mall redevelopment narrowed to 3
Business proposal

Proposals for Norfolk’s Military Circle Mall redevelopment narrowed to 3

Two plans include 15,000-seat arenas

Robyn Sidersky

A rendering of the plan from the Crossroads group’s plan for MIlitary Circle Mall in Norfolk. (Courtesy city of Norfolk)

Three groups have submitted full proposals to the city of Norfolk to redevelop Military Circle Mall.

In late 2020, Norfolk put out a call for developers to turn the struggling mall into a thriving mixed-use community. The city narrowed the list to four, but on Friday, just three proposals were released by the city, including one from a group that includes Grammy-winning superstar Pharrell Williams.

Norfolk’s Economic Development Authority purchased the 75-acre property for $11 million and the nearby DoubleTree Hotel property for $2.4 million.

Two of the proposals include 15,000-seat arenas, and the third proposes an 8,000-seat outdoor amphitheater. All three propose medical office space, green area, residential communities and hotels.

Crossroads Partnership, which includes S.B. Ballard Construction Company and NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith’s real estate company, describes its project as “a wellness development.” The group proposes a 15,000-seat arena as the anchor, 987 apartments, a Sentara Healthcare office campus, a sports complex, space for retail, a 128-room Hyatt House hotel, green space, and cultural and educational partners.

Crossroads proposes building the first phase from Jan. 2022 through Oct. 2025, to include the arena, sports center, four parking decks, and work with the existing mall building. It would be about 3.5 million square feet of space and cost about $550 million. Then in the second phase, June 2023 through July 2026, it would build a school, retail and office space, and three more parking decks. It would be about 1 million square feet and cost about $128 million. Finally in the last phase, June 2024 through December 2029, it proposes the residential, and retail components, including a grocer. This would be about 1 million square feet and cost about $240 million. 

The Well, the proposal from Norfolk MC Associates, is shown in a rendering. Courtesy city of Norfolk

In its proposal, Crossroads writes that this project would bring 3,100 jobs during construction and 1,800 jobs during operations and $1.4 billion of new net revenue generated by the arena. 

Norfolk MC Associates LLC , which includes Virginia Beach developer Bruce Thompson’s Gold Key | PHR, submitted a proposal called “The Well,” which is centered around a 9-acre-lake and 40 acres of park and open space. It promises $663 million in new capital investment, $17.7 million in annual tax revenues and $643 million through 2056 for Norfolk. 

The group projects 2,200 job opportunities; 1,800 permanent and 400 construction and would retain and enhance Sentara’s presence in Norfolk. 

The proposal would expand Norfolk State University’s campus with an on-site business center for small business startups and other programs. It adds 40 acres of parks and open space, 864 apartments of “market, workforce and senior housing,” an outdoor performing arts amphitheater, recreation center and calls itself a “model for sustainability.” 

“The Well” would include nearly 400,000 square feet for Sentara Wellness Village offices, about 86,400 square feet of office space, a 200-room hotel, about 160,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space and an 8,000-seat outdoor amphitheater.

It, too, promises a new grocery store.

The Wellness Circle, which includes Pharrell Williams as a partner, includes an arena in its proposal to redevelop Norfolk’s Military Circle Mall. Courtesy city of Norfolk

A third proposal, from Wellness Circle LLC includes Williams and Live Nation as partners.

Wellness Circle proposes using 4.83 million square feet on 89 acres, including a nearly 500,000 square foot arena with 15,400 to 16,500 seats,  1 million square feet of office space including a medical office campus, 143,000 square feet of retail, 80,000 square feet for food and beverage, a 210 room hotel, 54,700 square feet of community space, including a YMCA facility, and one of Williams’ Yellowhab schools, along with a pedestrian trail. It would also have residential space — 708 multifamily units, 147 townhomes and 288 low-income tax credit units.

Norfolk Next, a group that included The Garcia Cos. and Andrea Kilmer, was the fourth group of investors named earlier in the process, but it was not included in Friday’s announcement.

The next step in the process is to collect public input and a survey is being developed.