Back in the 1990’s the city of Norfolk spent millions of dollars to buy and tear down 1,600 buildings in East Ocean View and relocate hundreds of low-income residents to make way for an upscale seaside village that resembles an old-fashioned American town.
Those 100 acres nestled on prime real estate between the Chesapeake Bay and Pretty Lake were so dilapidated and crime-ridden that pizza delivery drivers refused to go there. W. Randy Wright, a City Council member at the time, called it the "armpit of Hampton Roads."
Today, nearly 300 brightly painted homes, townhomes and condominiums are occupied, more than half of the development planned for East Beach.
"If you knew what was there before, and what it is now, it’s a piece of art," said Sam Cohen, a custom builder and president of Tidewater Builders Association.
East Beach still faces some challenges, largely because of the economic downturn. Home sales slowed, and spin-off commercial development and revitalization of nearby neighborhoods have lagged expectations. But it has hit some milestones, too: The debt to the city for assembling the land has been paid off, and the final phases of development are moving forward.
With its street-hugging porches, compact layout, green space and other community areas that encourage socializing, East Beach is a place where neighbors are seldom strangers.
Among the activities that keep residents engaged are organized gatherings every Friday night; a farmers market on Saturdays; and a bay front clubhouse that hosts lectures, wine nights, clubs and classes. A popular way to get around is a golf cart; it’s the only area of Norfolk where the carts are street-legal.
|Fall Homearama 2012 East Beach, Norfolk, VA Oct. 13-28, 2012
What is Homearama? Homearama is a 16-day single-site display of fully furnished and fully landscaped custom showcase homes that demonstrate the latest in home construction, design, furnishings and technological innovations.
It’s the 30th anniversary year for Tidewater Builders Association’s Homearama in South Hampton Roads and the third time it has been hosted in Norfolk’s East Beach neighborhood. The show will feature nine homes for sale ranging from 2,200 square foot cottage to up to 3,800 square feet home on the bay. Prices range from the $500,000s to $1.3 million. The event is expected to attract up to 80,000 guests.
Where is it? The event is at East Beach in Norfolk, a coastal community on the Chesapeake Bay that was launched at the 2004 Homearama as part of the “new urbanism” movement. East Beach is a public-private initiative that includes the City of Norfolk, the Norfolk Redevelopment & Housing Authority and East Beach Co. LLC. It is a traditional neighborhood development that emphasizes, porches, sidewalks and pocket parks and is designed as a “walk able” community.
Who is building homes in this event? Builders participating in the show include: Chip Iuliano of ABT Custom Homes, Suffolk; David DeBord, DeBord Custom Homes, Virginia Beach: Michael Brunick and John Reddecliff of Definitive Homes, Virginia Beach; Larry Hill, L.R. Hill Custom Builder, Virginia Beach; Les Ore, Les Ore Construction Co. Inc., Virginia Beach; Jimmy Richardson and Edward Hewitt of Richardson Homes/Viridian Homes, Norfolk; Charles Schmitt, Charles A. Schmitt Custom Builder, Virginia Beach; M.D. Riley, Seaside Homes Inc., Norfolk; Mary-Dolph, Page and Howard Simpson, Simpson Builders Inc. Norfolk; Steve, Stephen and Alex Quick of Stephen Alexander Homes, Chesapeake; Scott and Alan Strickland, Strickland Homes, Norfolk.
Directions: East Beach is located in Norfolk off of Shore Drive.
From downtown Norfolk and Portsmouth: Take Interstate 264 East. Exit on Interstate 64 West, toward Richmond. Take the next exit, US Route 13 North, toward the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Turn left on Diamond Springs Road; then turn left on Shore Drive (US Route 60 West). After crossing bridge over Little Creek, East Beach will be on the right. From the Virginia Beach Oceanfront: Take Shore Drive (US Route 60 West). After crossing the bridge over Little Creek, East Beach will be on the right.
From Chesapeake: Take Interstate 64 West. Exit at Northampton Boulevard, US Route 13 North toward the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Turn left onto Diamond Springs Road. Turn left onto Shore Drive (U.S. Route 60 West). After crossing the bridge over Little Creek, East Beach will be on the right.
psst … I’m a Realtor! Thanks for stopping by my website. I would love to help you find your dream home and community in the Hampton Roads or Williamsburg areas of Virginia or to sell your existing home.
This post was authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of the Williamsburg/ Hampton Roads area and and his expertise in the local real estate market.
His websites, WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com and Mr Williamsburg.com were created as a resource for folks who are exploring a move to Williamsburg, VA , Hampton Roads VA and the surrounding areas of the Virginia Peninsula.
Here you can search homes for sale , active adult communities, 55+ communities, condos and townhomes , foreclosures/ REO, land, building lots, commercial property in Williamsburg , Yorktown, New Kent, Gloucester, Poquoson as well as the surrounding areas of Hampton Roads, Virginia
I look forward to serving your real estate needs!