Norfolk, VA — Lauth Construction has started construction on the $70-million, nine-story, 195,890-square-foot Fort Norfolk Plaza — a new commercial medical office building (MOB) near the Eastern Virginia Medical Center campus — and its connected 904-space parking deck. The project is being built on a 2.8-acre in-fill site across Brambleton Avenue from the city's extensive medical district.
The Fort Norfolk Plaza project, which was announced nearly three years ago, had been delayed by a slowing economy and other factors. But that began to change last year when Lauth was brought in as a joint venture partner with Dr. Newby, a local cardiologist.
Working closely with Dr. Newby and city officials, the Lauth team was able to qualify the project for the federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program, which is used by communities to attract equity investors to public-interest projects. Lauth rounded out the financing for the public-private partnership by securing debt financing through Bank of America and SunTrust.
To qualify for financing, Lauth needed to pre-lease at least 55 percent of the space, according to Andrew Lawler, Lauth's vice president, Healthcare — Eastern Region. Signed tenants include Sentara Medical Group with about 65,000 square feet; Dr. Newby's Cardiology & Arrythmia Consultants with about 22,000 square feet; and some smaller medical practices. A restaurant has also leased part of the building's first-floor retail space. Lauth is in discussions with enough additional prospects to fill the building by the time of its scheduled completion in April 2010.