December 4, 2014

Good News in Newport News: Revitalization Continues

Today’s post originally appeared in VHDA’s Fall 2014 Community Outreach Report.

Just a few years ago, it was a vacant building in downtown Newport News. Today, the 100-year-old Roam building — one of the few remaining original structures along Jefferson Avenue — is a vibrant mixed-use/ mixed-income (MUMI) community known as The Lofts on Jefferson.

The Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NNRHA) bought the three-story building with the goal of preserving and revitalizing it for reuses compatible with the revival of Jefferson Avenue. The project included completely re-framing the interior and installing new plumbing, electrical and roofing. To make The Lofts on Jefferson a reality, NNRHA used all three of VHDA’s planning tools — revitalization training, a planning grant and financing. Planning grants helped fund the design of a plan for preservation and reuse. This included creating 14 affordable one-bedroom apartments. The adaptive reuse of this stately building, which cost $2.2 million including $335,000 in city funds, was celebrated with a grand opening in May 2014.

The revitalization of the Roam building is an integral part of a larger redevelopment initiative focusing on a 12-block stretch of Jefferson Avenue and the surrounding area. This includes the adjacent Madison Heights neighborhood. The NNRHA has been working diligently for the past 20 years to acquire and demolish blighted properties and build new houses targeted to low- to moderateincome first-time homebuyers and public housing residents participating in the Family Self-Sufficiency Program. Known as HOMEbuilder, the program has produced 126 new affordable homes in Madison Heights. With The Lofts on Jefferson and Madison Heights serving as a catalyst, the goal of restoring the Jefferson Avenue corridor to a vibrant urban neighborhood is well underway.

For more information, contact Managing Director of Community Outreach Mike Hawkins at 804-343-5645 or
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