- Report Published -
|Department of Transportation Location Study of Regional Hampton Roads Office (SJR 46, 2014)|
|Department of Transportation|
|SJR 46 (Regular Session, 2014)|
|This report summarizes the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT's) response to Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 46, which was agreed to by the Senate on January 22, 2014, and agreed to by the House of Delegates on March 5, 2014. (see Appendix A) This resolution requested VDOT to study the location of its regional Hampton Roads District office considering real estate, financial and environmental factors to determine if a new location could better serve the Hampton Roads highway construction district. In conducting this study VDOT was directed to consult with each of the counties and cities within the Hampton Roads highway construction district.|
Although the resolution specifically mentions only the District Office site in Suffolk, VDOT also evaluated other alternatives in its assessment, such as consolidating other district work units not now located at the Suffolk site. These included the Traffic Operations Center and the Interstate Maintenance Office. Additionally, the possibility of locating other state or local government agencies in a single campus was evaluated.
Moving the Hampton Roads District Office (currently located on North Main Street (Route 460) in Suffolk and hereinafter referred to as the District Office) would provide clear benefits; the current facility is over 60 years old, and is largely unsuited to the demands of the 21st century business environment. The electrical and communications systems are antiquated, and other facilities associated with the location, such as mechanical and HVAC systems are less than optimal. Relocating the facility would allow VDOT to occupy a facility with updated systems, and avoid costly upgrades or maintenance to the current complex. It would also allow for expansion to meet future needs.
Relocation of the facility would also allow the current site (approximately 87 acres) to be developed for another use, and return it to the tax rolls. With the site dedicated to a commercial use, other sites adjacent to it would become more attractive for potential development, spurring additional revenue and economic development opportunities for the area.
However, there are also disadvantages to relocating the facility. There would be some disruption to operations while functions are being located elsewhere. There would be some duplication of systems during the transition to ensure that responsiveness is retained, and efficiency would be impaired to some degree. There would also be additional short-term costs associated with administration of redundant capabilities until all functions could be completely relocated.
Any new location would also have to have sufficient access to the transportation network to allow employees, equipment, and visitors easy and convenient access to enter and leave the facility. The new location would also need to minimize any adverse impacts (such as noise, traffic congestion, etc.) to its neighbors.
VDOT issued a Request for Information (RFI) regarding potential site locations and options for development and financing of a relocated District Office. Six firms responded to the RFI:
• Armada Hoffler Properties (AHP)
• Harvey Lindsay Corporate Services (HLS)
• Skanska (SK)
• Tri-City Developers, LLC (TCD)
• Walsh Construction Company (WCC)
• WeldenField of Virginia, LLC (WFV)
While VDOT has completed preliminary environmental assessments of its site, additional assessments may be required in order to fully assess the environmental condition of the property and/or to determine whether and to what extent any issues will need to be addressed.
VDOT has completed preliminary assessments of space requirements for a relocated District Office complex; however, additional work concerning real estate appraisals for VDOT’s properties, evaluations of the suitability of potential sites elsewhere not owned by VDOT, and detailed cost/benefit analyses have not yet been completed. No meaningful recommendations can be made until these have been completed. Therefore, should the decision be made to move forward, VDOT recommends that a follow-up report be provided once all necessary/relevant assessments have been completed. Preliminary estimates are that VDOT would need a minimum of 40 acres to relocate the District Office and that the cost for a new District Office is estimated at $35-40 million dollars.