Ground has been broken for the new Unity Place apartments in Norfolk in the St. Paul area

Kamaria Bray and Raven Payne

5 days ago

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The apartment complexes officially known as Tidewater Gardens in Norfolk are being redeveloped into “Kindred.” The development is part of the city Saint Paul Conversion Project.

The city hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for “Unity Place at Kindred” Wednesday afternoon.

Unity Place will contain 140 apartments for mixed-income residents, the city said. Two other residential buildings are currently being built in the project.

One is called the origin circle. It will contain 120 units and mixed-income commercial space.
The other apartment is called Reunion Senior Living. This building will contain 72 units.

All three apartments will feature a fitness center with retail and commercial space. The former Tidewater Gardens was public housing.

The project comes from a $69.5 million investment that will create more than 520 construction jobs and six permanent jobs within the City of Norfolk.

Three years ago, residents were forced out due to a demolition. However, the city allowed these residents the right to return to the new project. The right of return was secured through a settlement agreement after residents filed a lawsuit against the city in 2020.

Construction is expected to be completed by 2025, the city said.

However, people will be able to move to Reunion by the end of October and to the Circle of Origin by the end of November.

Resident Natalie Leno said she couldn’t wait to move into her new home.

“It’s exciting to be here, and to be a resident as well, and I’m also looking forward to coming back,” Leno said. “I love the idea of ​​convenience. I love the washer and dryer, (and) I don’t have to worry about going to the laundry room anymore. So I’m looking for all the beauty inside and out.”

Mayor Kenny Alexander said he and Natalie have a close relationship.

“Natalie and I lived on the same street in Berkeley on Hardy Street,” Alexander said. “I lived in the 200 block of Hardy Street while she lived in the 300 block. We went to the same schools, were friends, and it’s a close-knit community.”

He said it was a community effort, as he took it upon himself to knock on the neighborhood door during the early stages of the project.

“What you see and what will happen here is a direct result of our community engagement with residents,” Alexander said. “They told us what they wanted in these buildings, the amenities. They told us what they wanted in terms of the name Kindred, Reunion, Unity and Origin Circle.”

Hampton Roads’ Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) provided a $3 million loan for the commercial side of the development.

“There will be a McDonald’s restaurant inside the building on the first floor,” CEO Jay Grant said. “There will be many other small business opportunities and community spaces there as well as a business incubation center.”

But is the City of Norfolk planning to revitalize other communities in the area?

“Absolutely, if it’s something that’s community-driven and the same process we followed,” Alexander said. “I would go out in person and have conversations with those residents like I did at Tidewater Gardens. If it’s something the community wants to do, we’ll certainly take it up.”

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