Case Study: Development

Aura at Towne Place, Chesapeake, VA

Towne Place at Greenbrier is an existing 78,000 sq ft of specialty retail development consisting of upscale shops and restaurants, such as Jos A Bank, Jason’s Deli, Chicos, and Surf Rider. Aura at Towne Place is comprised of 215 luxury apartments featuring upgraded finishes and features in two buildings. The 4-story buildings were designed to fit in with the existing retail. The project brings to life the walk-able mixed use reality desired by many planners and residents in Hampton Roads. The deal structure used for this transaction was a fee simple purchase. This property was completed in the fall of 2012 with project costs totaling $27 Million.

Challenges

  • 80,000 sf of retail that had already been built at the project and was having trouble being leased. The remainder of the land was planned for more retail with condos above and a structured parking deck, which made the project financially infeasible.
  • We had to comply with planned building pads and required a rezoning in order to fix the plan.
  • The approvals and the entitlements required the new buildings be consistent with the existing architecture. This had to be approved by an architectural review board and the city.
  • There were no other comparable properties in Chesapeake for a mixed-use lifestyle center.

Solutions

  • Rezoned the land to allow a residential building without retail below and surface parking making the project financially viable from construction costs and rental levels.
  • Worked with owners of shopping center to restructure the Owner’s Association Convenants (DECR) to facilitate the addition of this new use to this commercial PUD.
  • Designed a building that looked like it had been built simultaneously with the rest of the property.
  • Engaged in a joint venture with the investor who had purchased the land.
  • Reduced construction period - finished in 15 months and saved $500k- resulting in a total project basis that was $15k per unit and 10% less than comparable projects.