April 22, 2021

An Armada Hoffler company has 3 more years to develop plans to build a high rise in Town Center

By Alissa Skelton of The Virginian-Pilot

VIRGINIA BEACH — The city of Virginia Beach is giving Armada Hoffler a three-year extension to decide whether it will develop the last open lot in Town Center.

The City Council voted 9-2 on Tuesday evening to extend an agreement that gives Town Center Associates, a company affiliated with Armada Hoffler, first dibs on developing the 1.4-acre property between Virginia Beach Boulevard and Market and Bank streets.

The building that housed The Virginian-Pilot’s Virginia Beach office was located on the site until it was demolished in 2010. Now, it’s a city parking lot. The agreement has been extended multiple times since 2010. It was set to expire at the end of April, but will now continue until April 30, 2024.

In 2018, Lou Haddad, president of Armada Hoffler, said the group planned to develop an office tower with up to 16 levels on the site, but an anchor tenant was needed. On Wednesday, Chelsea Forrest, a spokesperson for Armada Hoffler, said the company is working on securing a quality tenant before constructing the building.

“We believe that the Town Center of Virginia Beach attracts top tier tenants and is a perfect location for another new headquarters style, high-rise office building,” Forrest said in a statement.

The site is owned by the city’s Economic Development Authority, an 11-member council-appointed board that manages public properties and implements the city’s economic vision. The developer will acquire the land if it reimburses the city the $4.8 million the Development Authority paid to acquire it in 2009, along with the real estate taxes and any costs incurred by the Authority.

Since 2000, Armada Hoffler has been the primary developer of Town Center, which includes office space, restaurants, entertainment, retail shops, residential housing and hotel rooms.

Council members John Moss and Jessica Abbott opposed extending the agreement.

“We should be demanding a payment or we should be re-competing the option to see what someone would pay us for the option,” Moss said. “We are giving a public asset without compensation.”

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At Armada Hoffler, our goal remains the safety and well-being of our employees, their families and all of our stakeholder groups.  In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our offices have pivoted to a phased-in approach consisting of remote work and in office work. We are working every day to remain consistent with guidelines and protocol issued by the state authorities. Implementation of contingency plans for unseen circumstances such as this, allow our employees to conduct business as usual, regardless of office location. We are committed to providing the same support to our partners and tenants as well as continued communication for our investors. We have always been dedicated to the communities around us and devoted to do our part to keep them safe. We will continue to monitor the situation as it progresses and provide updates as needed.