Two planned developments, linked by their access to High Street in Portsmouth, could bring as many as 282 new apartments to the city, including 50 affordable units.

Apartments coming to former Kroger location

Virginia Beach developer Ripley Heatwole Co. wants to build 232 apartments on land it owns in the Churchland neighborhood. The project would redevelop the former Kroger supermarket at 5601 High St., which closed in 2015, into 192 units. The redevelopment would also create a pool and clubhouse and modernize an existing 10,356-square-foot building for commercial use.

Rob Beaman, an attorney representing the developer, told the Portsmouth Planning Commission that Ripley Heatwole plans to spend around $55 million on the development, called The Port Apartments. He said the about a third of the site, 4.3 acres, would be open space.

The second site, adjacent to the Kroger location at 3109 Tyre Neck Road, would be turned into an additional 40 apartments.

The 232 apartments would include 72 one-bedroom units, 130 two-bedroom units and 40 three bedroom units. The apartments would be located in four four-story buildings.

The proposal is similar to one made by the developer a few years ago. Beaman said the project was delayed by both the sale of the property and factors related to the pandemic.

Apartments will rent at market-rate prices. Developer Daniel Heatwole said he hopes to begin construction at the end of this summer, with the first apartments opening 16 months afterward.

Affordable housing to be named after Portsmouth abolitionist

A few miles down the road at 1100 High St., an Ohio developer is planning to build 50 affordable housing apartments.

The development will also have a connection to the area’s roots in the Underground Railroad. Called Bains Pointe, the apartments will be named after Eliza Bains, a Crawford House Hotel employee who tracked ships and helped formerly enslaved people escape to Northern states.

Woda Cooper Cos. plans to spend $14.5 million to construct the apartments, said Bruce Watts, vice president of development.

“Affordable housing is more critical today than ever before to allow communities like Portsmouth to thrive,” Watts said in an email. “Portsmouth’s leaders are well aware that by providing a spectrum of safe, quality housing options affordable for residents at a mix of incomes, it will help the community offer a better quality of life and be a catalyst for positive economic development.”

The development will include 39 two-bedroom units and 11 three-bedroom units in a four-story building. Thirteen units will be priced at 30% of the area’s average median income, 12 units at 50% of that figure and another 25 units at 80%. During the meeting, a company representative said at current rates, a two-bedroom apartment at 30% would be around $460 a month and a two-bedroom at 80% would cost around $1,400 a month.

Watts said the company is targeting individuals, families and seniors as potential residents. If the company receives approval for tax credits by the Virginia Housing Development Authority, construction is planned to begin in early 2024 and complete in 2025.

Woda Cooper had constructed the $11.5 million Holley Pointe apartments last year on Effingham Street.