The city of Newport News and it’s Economic Development Authority announced it has selected WeldenField & Rowe Custom Homes as the developer for a 285-acre parcel adjacent to Endview Plantation. The neighborhood, which will feature high-end homes and potentially some retail spaces.
The EDA distributed a request for qualifications about a year ago to put together a team that would establish the EDA’s vision for a “distinctive, vibrant” neighborhood in Endview that attracts business executives, professionals and entrepreneurs.
Brian Rowe, owner of Suffolk-based WeldenField & Rowe, said the Endview development could be one of a kind on the East Coast, highlighting the historical resources and proximity to Newport News Park.
WeldenField & Rowe Custom Homes is a partnership between WeldenField Development, a Birmingham, Alabama based developer with nationwide operations, and Brian Rowe, a lifetime resident of Hampton Roads with over 30 years of custom home building and development experience. Brian Rowe has built over 600 homes in Virginia that serve as a testament to the quality of construction, maintainability, and timeless curb appeal that this partnership seeks to maintain. The company has previously developed the following communities:
The Retreat at Bennett’s Creek, The Retreat at Kemps River, The Retreat at Kemps River 55 & better community. Retreat At Greenbrier another active adult community in Chesapeake and Riverview at the Preserve in Suffolk.
Newport News had a development agreement for the property about a decade ago, but that fell through because of the recession. In 2016, then-City Manager Jim Bourey revived plans to build at Endview.
The Endview Plantation House was built in 1769 and served as a Confederate hospital during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, according to Endview’s website. The city acquired the property in 1995, and now welcomes visitors, offers educational programming and camps, and hosts Civil War re-enactments.
A task force in 2000 charged with advising the city what to build around Endview recommended high-end homes, a golf course and a hotel conference center with specialty shops, with 24 acres to buffer the plantation from the development.
Later in the decade, Endview drew plenty of development interest — 40 national developers showed interest in the land around Endview and Lee Hall, and six local developers made pitches for their visions of the property. The city made its deal for L.M. Sandler & Sons Inc. to build a neighborhood in 2006. In 2010 the city of Newport News is cut its ties with L.M. Sandler and Sons, the developer of the Asheton mixed-use project, terminating an agreement for a high-end development that never got started.
Asheton, would have showcased more than 1,500 luxury homes, including single-family, townhouses, condos and apartments as well as small retailers.
But despite the city and Virginia Beach-based L.M. Sandler and Sons signing the development agreement in 2004, not a single house was built. City officials said the economy plus the Sandlers having financial problems caused both sides to re-evaluate the plan.
The Endview Plantation house turns 250 years old this year and now serves as a museum focused on the Civil War. Civil War camps for youth and reenactments are held at the site annually. During the war, the house played a significant role in the Peninsula Campaign, serving as a Confederate hospital until forces retreated north. Then Union troops moved in for the remainder of the war.
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