NRHA Breaks Ground on Virginia’s Largest Green-Built Townhome Development

For More Information: 

Kelly R. Williams

For Immediate Release
Release Date: 
Thu, 10/30/2008

Norfolk, VA (October 30, 2008) – Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA) will break ground Friday, October 31 for the largest green-built townhome community in Virginia. Twenty-seven new townhomes, built to EarthCraft/Energy Star standards, will rise in the 1500 block of the revitalized Church Street corridor. The dwellings will start at $155,000 making them the best residential value in Hampton Roads, where new townhomes average $265,000.

“Construction of Virginia’s largest green-built townhome community adds one more remarkable chapter to the long and storied history of Church Street,” Mayor Paul Fraim said. “The addition of 27 new townhomes will enhance the renewal of one of Norfolk’s most vibrant and exciting communities.”

Over the past 20 years NRHA has invested over $20 million in redevelopment of the Church Street community.

Of the 27 units, 12 are three-story with approximately 2100 square feet and 15 are two-story of 1,500 square feet. Floor plans range from 3 bedroom, 2.5 baths to 4 bedroom, 3.5 baths. Plan types offer variety and options such as a first floor bedroom. Twenty-units have 1 or 2 car garages. Others have parking pads or storage sheds but may add a garage as an option. The townhomes are served by a mews system that allows rear parking, improving street front quality and livability. All units have private, fenced yards. Townhome exteriors are 75% brick veneer; with remaining materials being durable fiber cement siding. The residences are diverse in appearance, with a different style and presence created on each of the three streets. All utilities are underground.

Neighborhood amenities, convenience and walkability abound. The new Church Street Executive Center is one block away and in close proximity are the Attucks Theater, Virginia Zoo and Five Points Community Farm Market. Church Street also features Norfolk’s only dedicated bicycle lane. The townhomes join two other recent residential developments on Church Street - - West Church and The Townhomes @ East Church.

Going green in construction is the most readily accessible means of reducing energy consumption and improving air quality. Buildings account for 48% of U.S. energy consumption and use 76% of electricity produced in this country. Further buildings are responsible for 40% of carbon dioxide emissions. Residential structures account for 21% of that share of emissions.

The EarthCraft House program is Virginia’s highest performance green building standard. Certified residences must satisfy stringent criteria for energy performance and conservation measures as well as achieve resource efficient design. Certification requires field-verification and diagnostic pressure-testing by a third-party EarthCraft Technical Adviser, attaining at least 15% energy savings over a standard code-built residence. Beyond being energy efficient, these homes have superior indoor air quality, reduced carbon emissions and consume less water.

Townhomes are more heating and cooling efficient than single-family detached homes because only two walls are exposed to the elements. These residences have a tight building shell, no holes or air leaks and the windows are more efficient in blocking out heat. Mechanical equipment is housed in air-conditioned space, as opposed to the attic, so it won’t have to work as hard. The parking area is made of pervious concrete that allows water to soak through like a sponge and reduces storm water run off.

The land parcel being developed was once owned by German immigrant and former Norfolk County Sheriff John Lenser who purchased it in 1867. He built his home there as well as a park and later a zoo. The area was rich with maple tree and became know a Lenser’s Maplewood Garden and later, Lenser Park. In 1895, Consumer Brewing Co. opened a brewery on the site that operated until Prohibition, at which time it reinvented itself as Virginia Fruit Juice Co. The facility was purchased by Southern Brewing in 1936 and became the first brewery to open in Virginia post-Prohibition. Ownership changed over the years until Champale purchased in 1953 and operated it until 1980. It was later torn down and its remains were buried at the site. Those remains, including storage tanks, had to be excavated before townhome construction could begin.

NRHA partnered with a Norfolk State University urban studies graduate student who provided historical research. That student and the president of the Olde Huntersville Civic League will unveil the name of the new community at the October 31 groundbreaking event. Also participating are Norfolk City Council members Daun Hester and Paul Riddick, NRHA Chairman W. Sheppard Miller as well as EarthCraft Virginia founder Karl Bren.

About NRHA: 

Founded in 1940, NRHA is a national leader in community revitalization and fostering sustainable mixed-income communities. As the largest redevelopment and housing authority in Virginia, NRHA plays a key role in making Norfolk the city of choice to build, work, live and play.

©2017 Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority  NRHA Webmail

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