2016 was a banner year for the Brooks Crossing Mixed-Use Development Project. The year began with the grand opening of the new, approximately 20,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art South Police Precinct. In August, Newport News Fire Department administration moved from City Hall to the second floor of the South Police Precinct and joined their fellow public safety partners.
In May, the City of Newport News, EDA and the community celebrated the ribbon-cutting and grand opening event for the long-awaited Jim’s Local Market. The event drew a large crowd and a lot of excitement. Jim’s Local Market serves as the first full-service grocery store in the Southeast Community in over two years, and is operated by veteran grocer, Jim Scanlon. Through the use of New Markets Tax Credits, the City and EDA were able to significantly lower the costs of building the impressive 28,000-square-foot grocery store building. Jim’s Local Market provides affordable, healthy, nutritional food choices, and carries a wide assortment of goods in a clean, safe environment, with easy access for the community. Partnering with Bayport Credit Union for on-site financial services, Jim’s Local Market also provides the Community with banking services and financial education. Moreover, Jim’s Local Market secured a relationship with health care provider Bon Secours to provide nutrition, health and wellness education on-site. Especially important, Jim’s Local Market provided employment opportunities and training for many in the community.
Concurrent with the construction of the grocery store, the Brooks Crossing Developer constructed adjacent retail spaces to supplement the services and offerings for the community. Eagle’s Nest Learning Center opened in October, in 6,457 square feet of space.
Phase Two of the project’s infrastructure was completed in 2016. A major milestone was reached in September when streets in both Phase One and Phase Two of the project were submitted to the City for dedication as public rights-of-way.
The momentum continued with the announcement in December of the next phase of Brooks Crossing Project development, to include a collaborative partnership to construct a 95,000-square-foot office building in the Project. Southeast Commerce Center Associates, the entity formed between former Southeast Community native Aaron Brooks and Armada Hoffler Properties, the publicly-traded Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), will develop, construct and own the building. Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, plans to lease and occupy 80,000 square feet of the building, where it plans to locate nearly 600 engineering and design personnel. The EDA will lease the remaining 15,000 square feet, to be used as collaboration space for innovation and new ventures, including STEM education and entrepreneurial initiatives. Plans to break ground on the building are anticipated for summer 2017, with an expected occupancy in late 2018.