Originally printed in the Virginian-Pilot, August 16, 2017
by Eric Hartley
Hampton Roads’ first Ikea hasn’t even opened yet, but it could be getting some new neighbors.
A developer envisions a 150-room hotel, shops and restaurants along Northampton Boulevard just west of the Swedish furniture giant, according to an application submitted to the city of Norfolk.
Ikea is scheduled to open in summer 2018. Just north of it are the new Norfolk Premium Outlets, which opened in late June.
The new hotel and shops would aim to capitalize on the transformation of an area around Interstate 64 that was mostly empty land just over a year ago.
A “concept plan” filed with the city by Benna Victor Development shows a hotel toward the rear of the property and 31,200 feet of shops and restaurants spread across four buildings. It also calls for 272 parking spots.
Sandy Cohen, the CEO of Benna Victor, said the plans are far from final, and the land is not under contract.
It’s too early to say what brands of hotel, restaurants and stores the new shopping center would have, Cohen said.
The wooded 7.8-acre parcel where it would sit, at 5900 Northampton Blvd., is one of the last major undeveloped pieces of land in the area.
It borders Lake Wright, and the concept plan includes a 25-foot buffer around the waterfront of the property, where trees would remain.
The land, valued at just over $3.3 million, is owned by Texas-based USAA Real Estate Company. Officials with that company didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The parcel is zoned for offices.
The Norfolk Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing Sept. 28 on Cohen’s application for commercial zoning. The change, which would allow retail shops on the site, would require City Council approval.
A council vote could come as early as October.