Monroe Building Project

Historic Monroe Building Renovation for the Governor's School for the Arts

In the Fall of 2011, the City of Norfolk asked Norfolk Redevelopment & Housing Authority to manage a project to study the feasibility of renovating the historic Monroe Building for re-use for the Governor’s School for the Arts.  The Monroe Building is a six-story, 52,000 square foot building completed in 1915 and located at 254 Granby Street, in Norfolk’s Downtown Historic District.  This project is the result of several years of planning efforts and analysis of GSA’s facility needs.  Since its establishment in 1987, the Governor’s School for the Arts has leased space in multiple locations, complicating transportation and other program logistics.  GSA currently occupies space in a portion of the building.

Over the course of several months, the feasibility study was completed and preliminary design work was developed by the architecture firm of Tymoff + Moss.  In March 2012, GSA’s Regional Board and Committee of Superintendents approved the consolidation of GSA’s administrative and primary educational spaces at the Monroe Building, in close proximity to the numerous other cultural resources in and around downtown Norfolk.  In addition to housing the Governor’s School for the Arts, the building will continue to house facilities serving the adjacent Wells Theatre and the Virginia Stage Company. 

Renovation of the Monroe Building consists of selective demolition and abatement work, limited exterior repairs, substantial interior renovations and reconfiguration of spaces, structural repairs, installation of new plumbing, mechanical, electrical, and life-safety systems, installation of a new elevator, and new finishes.  Since a number of historic features of the building remain on the long vacant upper floors, project financing is able to benefit from the Federal and State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit programs.

The project has a very ambitious construction schedule in order to re-open at the start of the 2013 academic year.  Norfolk-based general contractor Virtexco was selected from among a highly competitive field and began demolition and abatement work in September.

Monroe Building Project

Granby Street elevation, ca. 1915

Monroe Building Project

Monticello Ave. elevation ca. 1915


 Monroe Building Project

Aerial View




11/16/12 - Week 9

The recent focus of work has been on completing demolition and abatement activity on the 6th floor, which is expected to be finished today, undergo final environmental clearance next week, and be ready for new construction preparations by the week of Nov 26. 

The second area of focus has been completing demolition and abatement work in the basement, which is just a week behind the 6th floor.

From there, demolition and abatement work will progress to the 5th floor, which has already been placed under containment.

Since most work has been occurring in restricted areas, there are no new progress photographs to share at this time, but we will be able to share photos of the 6th floor and basement spaces in the next report.

NRHA’s Board of Commissioners approved a resolution on Wednesday Nov 14, allowing us to move ahead towards execution of the main construction contract, which is anticipated to occur the week of Nov 26.

10/26/12 - Week 7

Demolition and abatement work continues to go well.  Most demolition debris has been removed from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors.  Abatement work and monitoring continues in the basement and on the 5th and 6th floors.  Photos this week show the rear section of the 6th floor where most asbestos has been removed.

Abatement work in the basement is scheduled to be complete next week, and will continue on the upper floors.

Final drawing revisions from Tymoff + Moss will be completed today for scope and pricing adjustments by Virtexco in preparation for execution of the main construction contract.

Monroe Building Project Monroe Building Project

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