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EPA Administrator lauds collaborative cleanup effort that will make way for TCC Real Estate Foundation to redevelop Suffolk site

Tidewater Community College Real Estate Foundation’s waterfront property in northern Suffolk received a visit from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Andrew Wheeler on Monday. The EPA Administrator commended the successful cleanup and revitalization of the former Superfund site set to be transformed into one of the most vibrant  new communities in Hampton Roads.

Two years ago, the Real Estate Foundation announced plans to redevelop the land, which served as TCC’s initial Portsmouth Campus after being gifted to the college by the Beazley Foundation in 1968. The long-term vision calls for a dynamic mixed-use space, which will include multi-family housing, dining options, commercial, educational and retail shopping.

All proceeds from the redevelopment, commonly referred to as College Point, will be used to further the foundation’s mission of supporting  TCC’s academic programs and ongoing operations.

“This is going to secure the future of the college for years to come — having the revenue generated by this former site,” said Wheeler, who toured the 975-acre tract, a former Army munitions depot built in 1917 at the mouths of the Nansemond and James rivers.

Contaminants and munitions had to be eliminated from the former Nansemond Ordnance Depot, among the Superfund sites on the federal National Priorities List. EPA spearheaded the collaborative effort with the TCC Real Estate Foundation, the Army Corps of Engineers, the City of Suffolk Economic Development Authority, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Restoration Advisory Board in the effort.

Cleanup remains ongoing on the site that sits west of Interstate 664 and south of the James River.

Wheeler lauded the progress as being the model for future EPA revitalization efforts. More than 6,200 munitions and 200,000 pounds of munitions debris have been removed to make the site safe for reuse.

“I thank Administrator Wheeler for taking the time to visit today and appreciate the collaborative effort put forth by our regional partners to achieve this milestone,” said TCC President Marcia Conston. “The project promises to be a tremendous asset for the TCC family and the community. We are very proud to be part of such a significant regional enterprise.”

The Real Estate Foundation was created in 2005 with the mission to position it as an economic engine for perpetuity to feed proceeds back to the college. “That’s why we go to work,” said Matthew Baumgarten, the foundation’s executive director “It’s for the students. That’s our mission. The foundation supports the mission of the college.”

“We’re going to build something that no one has ever seen,” he added. “A new live-work-play-learn community. It will be the first of its kind.”

TCC receives another major gift to support culinary and visual arts center planned for Norfolk’s NEON District

Tidewater Community College’s new culinary and visual arts center planned for Norfolk’s NEON District received a major gift on Thursday from philanthropist Jim Hixon of Virginia Beach.

The TCC Perry Center for Visual & Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, scheduled to open in fall 2021 at the site of the former Greyhound bus station, promises to energize the downtown area with expanded offerings in the college’s comprehensive culinary and visual arts programs.

Hixon, who worked for 31 years for Norfolk Southern Corporation and retired as executive vice president for law and corporate relations, is a partner in RZ Restaurants, which operates several Norfolk restaurants, including 219 American Bistro, Norfolk Seafood Co & Big Easy Oyster Bar, 456 Fish, Leone’s Italian and Byrd & Baldwin Bros. Steakhouse.

The first floor of the 43,000 square-foot TCC Perry Center will house the Jim A. Hixon Atrium. Three academic kitchens used for the college’s restaurant management program will be named the RZ Restaurants Kitchens.

“For nearly 30 years, Jim Hixon has stood as the model of what a business, volunteer and philanthropic leader should strive to be in our Hampton Roads community,” said TCC President Gregory DeCinque. “As TCC embarks on one of the region’s largest economic development projects, we are honored to have Jim help lead the way.”

TCC and Hixon declined to disclose the amount of the gift.

While Hixon has no official ties to TCC, he said he is inspired by its commitment to establishing a footprint in the NEON District. Passionate about the arts, he envisions a hub at the corner of Brambleton and Monticello avenues where the new TCC building will be located.

The City of Norfolk donated the land to the TCC Real Estate Foundation last year.

“It’s a great project,” Hixon said. “It will continue to transform downtown Norfolk. Probably the most exciting part is what it’s going to do to the NEON District. It will bring all these students downtown to experience the arts and culture in the area.”

Hixon, an alumnus of William & Mary’s Marshall–Wythe School of Law, has been a benefactor to both his alma mater and Old Dominion University. The James A. and Robin L. Hixon Center for Experiential Learning and Leadership at William & Mary was dedicated in 2017. The Hixon Family Scholarship Endowment provides scholarships to William & Mary undergraduates from African countries.

Old Dominion’s arts village includes the James A. Hixon Studio Art Studio Building.

The two-story TCC Perry Center will also house a student-run outdoor cafe open. Dual enrollment expansion is in the works with Norfolk Public Schools, and Hixon is particularly excited about the college’s first restaurant management program in Norfolk. Currently, the college offers hospitality management only on its Virginia Beach Campus.

“It will expand the talent pool of professionals in that industry,” Hixon said. “And if we have students in kitchens learning how to be chefs and they keep seeing RZ Restaurants, maybe they’ll think about applying to one of our restaurants when they graduate.”

The Houston “Hu” Odom Jr. School of Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management at the TCC Perry Center is named for Hu Odom, president and founder of BOTH, Inc., a franchisee of Golden Corral Restaurants.

Odom’s seven-figure gift, made last December, is one of several the TCC Educational Foundation has received in support of the project, funded by some college general funds but mostly by private donations raised through Go Further! TCC’s Campaign for a Competitive Workforce.

Norfolk’s Patricia and Douglas Perry are the lead donors in the initiative.

The Hampton Roads Community Foundation recently awarded the college  $500,000 over the next five years to help build the TCC Perry Center. TowneBank gifted TCC with a $500,000 grant toward that effort and expansion of the college’s Regional Automotive Center.

For more information about donating to TCC’s Campaign for a Competitive Workforce, contact Steven Jones, executive director of the TCC Educational Foundation, at or call 757-822-1572.

TCC’s Real Estate Foundation prepping College Point to be a dynamic, mixed-use development with open public access along the waterfront

Tidewater Community College’s Real Estate Foundation will develop what’s been deemed “the last and best large property available in Hampton Roads” into a dynamic mixed-use site. It is reminiscent of Virginia Beach’s Town Center and Norfolk’s East Beach community, which will combine businesses, residential and green spaces.

The 300-acre property in northern Suffolk, known as College Point, offers stunning water views, convenient freeway access and proximity to existing utility and communications infrastructure.

TCC's College Point is a 300-acre property in Northern Suffolk, offering stunning water views, convenient freeway access and close proximity to existing utility and communications infrastructure.
TCC’s College Point is a 300-acre property in Northern Suffolk, offering stunning water views, convenient freeway access and close proximity to existing utility and communications infrastructure.

West of Interstate 664 and south of the James River, the land, gifted to the college by the Beazley Foundation in 1968, was the original site of TCC’s Portsmouth Campus.  The property is currently home to TCC’s Center for Workforce Solutions, a truck driving training facility and four facilities maintenance buildings, all of which will be relocated.

“In real estate, we always talk about location, location, location – and this property is in a prime spot with million-dollar views,” said Matthew Baumgarten, executive director of the TCC Real Estate Foundation, in giving an update to the Commercial Real Estate Women of Hampton Roads at its monthly meeting. “The site is the gateway to South Hampton Roads. I can’t wait to see lighted walkways along the shoreline with restaurants, breweries and residences making this a great place to live, work and enjoy life.”

The Real Estate Foundation intends to transfer ownership of 1.3 miles of shoreline of the James and Nansemond rivers to the City of Suffolk to create a gathering place for residents and a community park for all to enjoy. Suffolk has recently issued a Request-For-Proposal for study and design of the waterfront feature.

“Because of the proximity to many locations from Williamsburg to Town Center, this is a great strategic location,” said Kevin Hughes, director of economic development for the City of Suffolk.

College Point has been called the deemed “the last and best large property available in Hampton Roads”
College Point has been called the deemed “the last and best large property available in Hampton Roads”

Development in and around Suffolk’s Harbour View area is thriving. In addition to the recent opening of Hampton Roads Crossing, which includes retail shopping and numerous dining options, new apartments and single-family homes continue to be built along with health-care facilities.

The Real Estate Foundation will be the master planner of the property. All proceeds from this asset will be used to further the foundation’s mission of support to TCC’s academic programs and ongoing operations. Developers may purchase or lease portions from the foundation for uses that are consistent with the plans laid out by the foundation.

“It is truly a privilege to do this work that directly benefits TCC and the entire Hampton Roads community,” Baumgarten said. “I can’t wait to move forward and see what we can accomplish together.”

For more information about College Point, visit

Join TCC at the 2018 NEON Festival, Oct. 19

Jammin’ jazz. Tasty tidbits. Glass demos. Join Tidewater Community College at the 2018 NEON Festival on Oct. 19 from 6 to 10 p.m.

The two-night festival Oct. 18 and 19, a celebration of energy and light in Norfolk’s arts district, was started four years ago by the Downtown Norfolk Council.

For the first time, the Friday night of the festival will feature TCC, with music by its Blue Moon Jazz Ensemble, bananas Foster from culinary arts students, displays of student artwork, and demos of glassblowing and ceramics at the Glass Wheel Studio, 128 W. Olney Road.

The NEON District is anchored by the Chrysler Museum of Art and Harrison Opera House and extends to The Plot on Granby Street. Soon it will welcome TCC@NEON.

TCC Goes NEON, Sponsor: Tidewater Community College

“TCC is joining the party because we’re excited to be coming to the NEON District,” said Matthew Baumgarten, executive director of the TCC Real Estate Foundation. “It’s all thanks to Patricia and Douglas Perry, who are donating the Glass Wheel Studio to TCC and enabling us to expand our Norfolk Campus north of Brambleton Avenue.”

The Glass Wheel will be open from 7 to 10 p.m. In addition to enjoying music, dessert, wine and beer, visitors will be able to preview the college’s plans for a new building, the Patricia and Douglas Perry TCC Center for Visual & Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management.

The 47,000-square-foot building, to be built on the site of the former Greyhound bus station, is planned for 2021. In addition to housing TCC’s respected academic programs, it will enhance the community by offering dual-enrollment and workforce-training opportunities for area residents. “This is a game-changer, not only for TCC but for the City of Norfolk,” Baumgarten said.

The free festival welcomes everyone. For additional information, visit the festival website.

Mayor Alexander announces major new addition for TCC in Norfolk’s NEON District

Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander announced today at his annual State of the City address an innovative new partnership with Tidewater Community College that will transform Norfolk’s NEON District by providing increased educational and economic opportunities for the community and all of Hampton Roads.

The City of Norfolk is donating to the TCC Real Estate Foundation the site of the former Greyhound bus station at the corner of Brambleton and Monticello avenues to make way for a dynamic cultural and academic building in the heart of the NEON District.

The 47,000-square-foot Patricia & Douglas Perry TCC Center for Visual & Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management will be a jewel, he said.

President Kolovani and Mayor Alexander at Norfolk’s State of the City.

“This is an incredible opportunity to build on the vibrancy and opportunity that is being created in the NEON District,” said Mayor Alexander. “We are extremely grateful for the support of the Perry family, and their ongoing efforts to make Norfolk a destination for the arts and culture.”

The project, with an anticipated completion date of summer 2020, will be funded entirely by private donations raised through Go Further! TCC’s Campaign for a Competitive Workforce. Norfolk’s Patricia and Douglas Perry are the lead donors in the initiative.

The Perrys were early patrons of the NEON District. They created the Glass Wheel Studio on Olney Road and supported the Hurrah Players’ move to their new headquarters on West Wilson Avenue in 2017.

As part of the TCC project, they have agreed to donate the Glass Wheel Studio to the college, which will house its renowned glass-blowing program, newly developed glass fusing program, ceramics, sculpture and public exhibition spaces there. The TCC Pat and Doug Perry Glass Wheel Arts Center @ NEON could open as soon as summer 2019.

The collaboration among the city, the Patricia and Douglas Perry Foundation and the college is “a transformative moment for TCC and Norfolk,” said college President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani. It will further energize the NEON District and nearby St. Paul’s area by:

  • Expanding TCC’s one-of-a-kind visual arts education program
  • Training the next generation of chefs with a comprehensive culinary arts program
  • Creating opportunities for collaboration between culinary and visual arts programs
  • Providing, among five culinary program kitchens, a test kitchen open to the community and prospective entrepreneurs.
  • Inaugurating a program in hospitality and restaurant management
  • Providing dual-enrollment opportunities for Norfolk high school students and workforce education to residents
  • Creating a vibrant and inviting dining and arts experience for students, residents and visitors

“TCC, the Perrys and the City of Norfolk share more than a vision for the arts,” said President Kolovani. “As wonderful as this new building will be, this is a venture that relies on community engagement and collaborative partnerships that are all integral to the effort to revitalize the NEON District.

“Nothing we have talked about today would be possible without the generous support of the Perrys.”

TCC has long sought a new home in which to expand its culinary arts program, the only nationally accredited one at a public institution in Hampton Roads. Currently located in the Stanley Walker Technology Building at 350 Granby St., the program currently has 224 students.

The two-story NEON location will allow the college to house a student-run restaurant open to the public, act as an incubator for start-up culinary businesses to rent kitchen space, offer open-enrollment culinary courses and host local and national culinary competitions. Additional programs are planned in baking and pastry and food science/dietetics. Five fully-equipped kitchens will be part of the new space, which will allow TCC to serve nearly three times more culinary students.

TCC’s visual arts program will bring studio arts and graphic design to downtown Norfolk in a new location that is in proximity to the TCC Pat and Doug Perry Glass Wheel Arts Center @ NEON and the Chrysler Museum, with its Perry Glass Studio. Offerings include drawing, painting, photography, film and video production, printmaking, advertising and print design, and web and multimedia design.

Chrysler Museum director Erik Neil said, “The Chrysler Museum is very excited to welcome Tidewater Community College as our neighbor, and we look forward to the many opportunities to expand our existing partnerships, particularly with our glass programs.  All of us in Hampton Roads, including the Chrysler, are enormously grateful to Doug and Pat Perry for their incredible generosity to our community.”

TCC will also establish a hospitality program geared toward restaurant management in Norfolk to meet growing workforce demand and attract new students. The college currently houses a lodging and food service management program on its Virginia Beach Campus.

President Kolovani said the college is also exploring options to grow its dual enrollment program with Norfolk Public Schools in culinary arts and restaurant management.

“We are putting community members first in how we approach all of the possibilities today’s announcement brings,” President Kolovani said.

TCC taking a lead role in downtown redevelopment is nothing new. In 1997, the college started a chain reaction that brought businesses, artists, entrepreneurs and tourists to a revitalized Norfolk by locating its Norfolk Campus along Granby Street. The Norfolk Campus Student Center opened in 2011.

“This is such an exciting moment for us,” President Kolovani said. “The City of Norfolk and Pat and Doug Perry are providing us with ‘a perfect storm’ of opportunity. I am grateful for their partnership and their trust in TCC.”