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Newport News city leaders break ground on new mixed-use housing, retail development

WVEC-TV Norfolk logo WVEC-TV Norfolk 6/15/2021 Dana Smith
a group of lawn chairs sitting on top of a grass covered field © Provided by WVEC-TV Norfolk

Some big changes are in store for Newport News’ Southeast community. Today was the groundbreaking for a multi-million dollar, mixed-use housing and retail development in the Marshall-Ridley neighborhood. 

It's an area that residents said was a hub of activity, years ago.

“When I grew up, it was dynamic and unique," Ernest Thompson said. "We had black businesses from one end of the street all the way to the other - four movie theaters, all kinds of stuff.” 

It's a $30 million project.

It will have modern townhomes and apartments with in-unit washers and dryers, as well as a fitness room. The housing development will also feature an open-air community terrace and lounge, and outdoor space.

There will also be room for retail.

Newport News Mayor, Dr. McKinley Price said it’s about investing in the future and revitalizing one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. 

“Restoring and transforming. That’s the keyword: transformation," he said. "This is my home, where I was born, right around the corner here; Where I still live. So it is just amazing to see the transition that has changed and developed. And we’re just anxious to see it go forward... It was once a very thriving place when I was a kid." 

Thompson also grew up here and still lives nearby. 

“All my life. Born and raised here in the 800 block of 21st street,” he said proudly.

Thompson added, he’s cautiously optimistic about the project.

“I’m excited about it," he said. "It has a lot of potential... Proper housing, quality housing has been missing down here for so long.”

The money for the project comes from a Department of Housing and Urban Development federal grant.

Construction on the project is set to be completed in fall 2022.

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