College Point: A major real estate development opportunity in North Suffolk
The “last and best large property available in Hampton Roads”
feet of shoreline
The Tidewater Community College Real Estate Foundation owns a major real estate development opportunity: Approximately 300 acres of waterfront property in the City of Suffolk, west of Interstate 664 and south of the James River, with:
- stunning water views
- excellent freeway visibility and access
- significant scale given its central location
- proximity to existing utility and communications infrastructure
Consistent with its mission to support TCC’s academic programs through the acquisition, development or sale of real estate, the Real Estate Foundation intends to create a perpetual income stream through property development.
In order to accomplish that goal, the Real Estate Foundation will be the master developer of the majority of the property. Developers may lease portions from the foundation for uses that are in harmony with TCC’s mission and its enduring reputation in the community.
Before the opening of the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel in 1992, the mostly wooded property housed an Army munitions depot, a Marine Corps installation and, later, a General Electric plant and the original campus of Tidewater Community College.
Nansemond Indian villages dotted the area long before the arrival of European explorers. As early as the 17th century, it was known as Pig Point and the site of several plantations. By the Civil War, it had become strategically important to both the Union and Confederacy.
In fact, the Union steamer Harriet Lane and Confederate Pig Point Battery fought a brief artillery battle on June 5, 1861. It ended in 20 minutes, with the Harriet Lane withdrawing.
The Pig Point Ordnance Depot – later the Nansemond Ordnance Depot – played an important role in the storage and shipment of munitions during World War I and World War II.
In 1960, the facility was declared surplus by the federal government. Property was sold to the Beazley Foundation, which operated a private secondary school for boys, Frederick Military Academy, and, later, Frederick College, a private 4-year liberal arts institution (both named for Frederick Beazley, father of foundation founder Fred W. Beazley of Portsmouth).
The college operated until 1967, when the land and all of the buildings were donated to the new Virginia Community College System (VCCS). In 1968, the VCCS established the first campus of Tidewater Community College on the site, and it became known as the Frederick, and later the Portsmouth, Campus.
The Beazley Building was long and narrow, its facade punctuated with circular doorways. There was also a Computer and Information Technology Building and an astronomical observatory – which is still on the site – built by a TCC professor, Aubrey Hartman.
When TCC opened its new Beazley Campus in Portsmouth’s Victory Village area in 2010, the original campus was no longer used for classroom instruction.
Today, the site has:
- a truck driving training facility that covers approximately 3 acres;
- 4 buildings covering approximately 6 acres dedicated to facilities maintenance and warehousing operations for the entire college;
- and the Center for Workforce Solutions, housed in the 6,000-square-foot, 1-story Manning Building with associated parking.
All 3 facilities will be relocated to enable the development of College Point.
The Army Corps of Engineers remains active in the area, cleaning up vestiges of the ordnance depot and stabilizing the shoreline. Contaminants and munitions have been removed in order to ensure a healthy environment in and around College Point.
In February 2011, the Urban Land Institute completed a land-use study that suggested a large-scale, mixed-use project was the optimal future of the site, potentially including 2 million square feet of commercial uses and 2,100 residential units.
The Institute wrote that many of those interviewed for the report “noted that northern Suffolk is the geographic center of the Hampton Roads region – and this property may indeed be the last and best large property available in Hampton Roads.”
Real estate development strategies
The foundation intends to create a world-class “live-work-play” environment that becomes a destination for residents and nonresidents alike.
The shoreline along the James and Nansemond rivers will be stabilized and greenspace maintained to retain a community feel and sustain the fragile environment.
The foundation is creating a Master Development Plan, which will enable us to work in conjunction with the City of Suffolk in establishing utility services and other infrastructure necessary to support a large mixed-used community.
- Research and development activity
- Corporate offices
- Office suites
- Medical offices
- Entertainment and dining
- Multifamily residential
- Senior residential
121 College Place, Suite 506 Norfolk, VA 23510