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NORFOLK, VA-The city’s planned $200-million neighborhood revitalization endeavor, Broad Creek Renaissance, gets under way with the cornerstone-laying ceremony for the residential construction initiative’s first phase, a 100-unit senior living complex to be called the Franklin Arms.

The sweeping public/private project has the support of local government officials, many of whom will attend today’s event. The Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority is spearheading the project, while Philadelphia-headquartered he Community Builders Inc. is serving as the developer.

Broad Creek’s start is being funded by a $35-million grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Hope VI program. Ultimately, this area that is home to two massive public housing projects will blossom into a neighborhood of 600 residences–many of which will be subsidized–a 35,000-sf supermarket, retail shops, a public library and a YMCA branch. Complete buildout of the 87-acre neighborhood will be complete in 2007. The project’s first installment is scheduled for delivery late in the summer of 2003.

“Broad Creek promises to be an urban neighborhood that will offer new opportunities for people who want to live in the city,” Norfolk mayor Paul D. Fraim explains. “A socially and economically diverse community, it will provide many suburban amenities, yet be only minutes from downtown.” Located near Norfolk State University and Norfolk Industrial Park, this two mile area covers 14 non-cohesive neighborhoods, and at the center are the Roberts Village and Bowling Green housing project developments, which account for 700 residences.

Phase II of Broad Creek, more residences, is in the works right now as local architectural firm Rodriguez Ripley Maddux Motley completes the design process for the developer. “We’re working on the for-rent phase of the project which are single-family and duplex complexes that will replace the multi-family housing that is there now,” the firm’s vice president Dan Hickock tells GlobeSt.com. “It will probably be June of next year before the start of construction. There is a lot of street work and utility work that has do be done before that.” After years of planning, the largest redevelopment effort on the city’s eastern side in three decades, is on its way to becoming a reality.

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