Monument Companies Leads a Downtown Reimagined Plan Reutilization Project
September 13, 2023
Monument Companies Leads a Downtown Reimagined Plan Reutilization Project
September 13, 2023

Downtown Vibes

Downtown Vibe

Thanks to the efforts of the EDA, City and partnering organizations, Downtown is thriving. With a winning combination of adaptive reuse projects, a new historic district designation and a healthy infusion of grant funding, Downtown Newport News is on the rise.

Led by private sector interest and supported by the EDA, Downtown received a historic district designation by the National Park Service. With this new designation, developers and property owners will be able to leverage state and federal historic tax credits on eligible projects when renovating or rehabilitating historic structures. The designation has attracted growing private sector interest in Downtown redevelopment. 

The EDA and NNRHA are working to support expanded housing options Downtown. Following a request for proposals, the EDA closed on the sale of 2800 Washington Avenue, the former Montgomery Ward/W.T. Grant building. Richmond-based The Monument Companies purchased the property. This adaptive reuse project will leverage historic tax credits for renovation, and will create 87 market-rate apartment units.

A few blocks away, developer Jonathan Provost is underway converting the former Youth Challenge Men’s and Women’s Shelters at 332 34th Street and 223 29th Street to market-rate apartments. Leveraging historic tax credits, both projects together will create 43 apartment units.

Additionally, recent grant awards position the City and EDA for the future reuse of key publicly-owned buildings. The City was awarded $300,000 from the Port Host Communities Revitalization Fund to support modernization improvements to the restaurant facility at 2295 Harbor Road. With the nearby development on 23rd Street, the upgrades will position this asset to complement the surrounding activity.

Also this year, the City secured a $90,000 Industrial Revitalization Fund Planning Grant to assess the EDA-owned former Greek Orthodox Church at 2591 West Avenue. This assessment will determine market positioning for redevelopment and reuse of the former church. 

Investments in landscaping, plaza enhancements and murals have transformed the look of Downtown and brought The Yard District to life. With these improvements and a significant investment in the waterfront’s James River Strand Park, Downtown Newport News has taken on a new look, fitting well with recent momentum in private sector developer interest. 

None of this can happen without strong ties between the EDA and the broader community. City and EDA staff have strengthened old, and grown new relationships with the U.S. Navy and Newport News Shipbuilding. Collaborative partnerships are being formed to break through historical bureaucracies, and to develop and implement strategies for downtown that improve the quality of service for sailors, as well as the experience of shipyard employees, visitors and residents.

Efforts to build Downtown vibrancy got a welcome boost when the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative selected Mayor Phillip Jones and the City, one of only forty communities internationally, to participate in the year-long capacity-building program. This is the flagship program and collaboration between the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Business School, and Bloomberg Philanthropies to equip mayors and city officials to confront complex challenges in their cities and improve the quality of life for residents.