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New Urbanism Community Planned
for Warehouse District

The Warehouse District in Newport News, Va. is the site for a New Urbanism planned community.

Camp Morrison, a 110-acre World War I-era warehouse district in Newport News, Va. with high vacancy rates, is the grey field-planning site for Hilton Commons, a proposed 639-home neighborhood just west of historic Hilton Village. Land Planning and Design Associates (LPDA) of Charlottesville, Va. is facilitating the planning by hosting design charrettes.
Guernsey Tingle Architects is designing Hilton Commons along New Urbanism lines, taking design clues from Hilton Village, which was built to house shipyard workers during WWI. This means homes with front porches, a five-acre "town square" park with two playgrounds, splash pad, tables and benches and four large open spaces and walkable connections to existing commercial properties and municipal facilities. A light rail station is also planned for future development. If the planning is approved, construction on Hilton Commons would not begin until 2016, as some warehouse leases in Camp Morrison don't expire until 2015.

The design inspiration for the Hilton Commons development is historic Hilton Village (pictured).
Five other parks are included in the 110-acre developmental plan, including a dog park. City Hall already received the plans, which could go before the planning commission in February. Of course the site would need to be rezoned from light industrial to residential to go forward.

This $200 million proposed project would be the third major New Urbanism development in Newport News; the other two are City Center and Port Warwick. New Urbanism, of course, is a retro design movement to bring back the compact, walkable, tree-lined neighborhoods of yesteryear, think Gig Young in the Twilight Zone episode "Walking Distance" in which Gig's car breaks down and he's forced to walk to town. The town he arrives in, however, is not a modern town, but a town from his youth when times were simpler and the pace of life slower, evinced by a village green, a carousel and a soda fountain on the corner. Some local residents, as reported by the local media, are not completely trustful of the developer's (Drucker & Falk) ultimate intentions. The major concern is the developer may start, as proposed, to build homes, townhomes and condos, but opt in the end to build apartments.

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November 13, 2019, 8:32 pm PDT

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