The City of Virginia Beach on Thursday purchased the 18-acre London Bridge Commerce Center to protect Naval Air Station Oceana from incompatible business development.
This is an important acquisition for the city’s APZ-1 purchase program because the site has three commercial buildings with multiple tenants, many of which are incompatible with the city's zoning ordinance. The property is in Oceana’s Accident Potential Zone 1 (APZ-1) on London Bridge Road, between Potters Road and Virginia Beach Boulevard. The property is also encumbered by Navy restrictive easements.
With this acquisition, the city will continue to reduce the number of nonconforming commercial uses in APZ-1. Ultimately, the city plans to redevelop the site for new uses compatible with the Navy easements and the city’s APZ-1 Ordinance.
“The decision by City Council to acquire this strategic property off the new London Bridge exit ramp will allow us to advance our YesOceana economic development program,” said Warren D. Harris, director of Virginia Beach Economic Development. “The YesOceana program was created as an incentive to encourage the roll-back of nonconforming uses and also to encourage conforming uses to relocate within APZ-1. This site will add to our available inventory of property for companies looking to locate or expand in the City of Virginia Beach.”
The city paid $6 million for the property. The money comes from $7.5 million awarded to Virginia Beach by the state – part of the commonwealth’s annual contribution to help protect Oceana. This is the second large purchase by the city in recent months to protect Oceana. In August, the city bought the 516-acre Brown Farm near the Municipal Center from Kempsville Presbyterian Church for $7.84 million.
“We take our commitment to Oceana very seriously,” Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr. said. “In 2005, we promised the Base Closure and Realignment Commission that we would spend $15 million a year to stop new development and roll back existing development around Oceana. Today’s purchase is tangible proof that Virginia Beach is keeping its promise.”
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