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Old 03-24-2014, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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I recently made a trip back to where I grew up, a suburban city, Virginia Beach, VA. It was founded in 1963, and say an explosion of suburban development in the 80s that continues today. It is a city built around the car, to get anywhere in Virginia Beach you need to have a car. Beyond the oceanfront hotels, this city has never been known as urban or had a real skyline of any kind, until recent years.


;Enlarged Map of Virginia Beach, VA

The Town Center in the Pembroke neighborhood was their first steps into building a downtown. Starting with a name that used the word "town" to give the sense of small and non-downtown like. What was built was four towers all taller than the original building that sits on this site and a few smaller buildings.




Now with this being Virginia Beach, everyone drives, so to make this successful just about every tower that is built has a free parking garage for people coming into the Town Center. There are still flaws with this current model, especially with everyone driving into it, there needs to be 4 way stops or lights at every intersection to make it much easier and safer for pedestrians crossing the streets.


The skyline view from Mt Trashmore, the red buildings in the foreground is a suburban style office park that is next to I-264.



This was the first tower constructing in the Town Center after the original building that was there before the Town Center.


The new tallest building in Virginia, something I never thought I would see in Virginia Beach.


The new Preforming Arts Center that functions as one of the centerpieces in the new downtown.


Right now the Town Center is still incomplete, there are a few lots still to build on, which will all be developed in the coming years or so. The real challenge will be trying to get this to spread beyond the original Town Center due to the city not buying up land and building an infrastructure to make it easier for the urban downtown to grow. Instead the city has left it in the hands of suburban developers who are unfamiliar with this kind of urban development and have had very suburban reactions to how to redevelop their own land. But overall, this has been a new change for Virginia Beach and a great starting point.

(Also, the photos are all from me during my trip this past weekend.)
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:02 PM
 
Location: Richmond/Philadelphia/Brooklyn
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I am excited for The Tide to be extended into this area, then it will be even more possible to get around without a car.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:11 PM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,955,202 times
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It seems like it's short on residential? Was this on purpose or are there multiple phases with more residential coming?
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:12 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pantin23 View Post
I am excited for The Tide to be extended into this area, then it will be even more possible to get around without a car.
How has the Tide been doing? I saw it when I was in Norfolk this past weekend, but noticed it was only a one train system giving it a limitation on how many people could ride. They need to extend the stations to handle trains that have more than one car. When they finally extend it to VB, that will make it easier to build more urban complexes around each station, as well as include park and rides to encourage people to take the train rather than drive, though it is probably a near impossible task to get Virginia Beach people out of their cars.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:17 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,053 posts, read 29,523,816 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
It seems like it's short on residential? Was this on purpose or are there multiple phases with more residential coming?
Actually residential has been mixed throughout. There are residential units next to the Performing Arts building, there are units in the Westin tower, there is also the Metropolitan Building that is a full block residential building. Just outside of the Town Center, there are two large residential apartment complexes, so there are definitely lots of residential units within the TC as well as next to it.
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