Project 824


Economic Development Authority of the City of Norfolk


Project 824 (824 N. Military Hwy, Norfolk, VA 23502)


197, 415 square feet

Completion Date:


Project Description

After JC Penney department store closed its location in the failing Military Circle Mall, the City of Norfolk decided to pursue different uses for the space. Through a partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Norfolk, Movement Mortgage invested in the space to relocate its operations center. Tenant improvements involved the redevelopment of the former anchor store into leasable tenant space.

With its open plan, high ceilings, and adaptable structure, the space provided the perfect core and shell to accommodate a new office. The goal of the project was to completely transform the first floor of the vacant space into a contemporary, open office for one the country’s fastest growing mortgage companies; however, the team was up against an accelerated schedule and tight budget to help Movement Mortgage seamlessly transfer its operations and more than 800 employees into their new home.

The primary design concept was to convert a building with an internal focus – no windows and primary entrances oriented toward the internal mall and remote ends of the building – to an external focus. This was achieved through making large openings in the exterior façade, replacing blank brick veneer and concrete masonry unit walls with large portions of glass curtainwall. These new openings bring natural light deep into the space, making a visual connection from the exterior  to the interior and to the work activity happening within.

The building was created to accommodate multiple tenants, thus the overall building envelope and common spaces were designed to provide a singular identity, while being neutral enough to support the unique branding of the tenants, such as Movement Mortgage.

The style and aesthetic of Movement Mortgage’s new office followed that of the company’s headquarters located in Indian Land, S.C. The industrial feel of featured wood tones, exposed ceilings, and the company’s distinctive red brand, added a sense of energy and strength to the atmosphere.

From the owner and the architect, to the construction team and interior designers, all parties were brought into the project early, allowing the entire team to work together to pro-actively address issues and improve the quality of the project. Specifically, the architect and interior designer worked together to ensure that all power, data, security, and A/V requirements were thoroughly coordinated with furniture placement. The team also devised solutions to upgrade the building in an economical way, yet improving upon energy-code requirements in the 47-year-old building.

LS3P – Interior Designer

7 Hills Advisors – Owner’s Project Manager

UP Studio – Photography


City of Norfolk Receives Two Excellence in Economic Development Awards

“We are grateful that the City of Norfolk has been recognized, once again, for impressive achievements in economic development,” said Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander.

The City of Norfolk’s Economic Development Department was honored at an awards ceremony at the International Economic Development Council Annual Conference held September 17th  – 20th  in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Norfolk received The Silver Excellence in Economic Development Award for 824 Military Highway, a project in the category of Real Estate Redevelopment & Reuse as well as a Bronze Excellence in Economic Development Award for its Norfolk Works Waterside Week Hiring Event campaign, a project in the category of Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Single Event of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

“We are grateful that the City of Norfolk has been recognized, once again, for impressive achievements in economic development,” said Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander. “While we remain committed to serving as a destination for innovative businesses, we will continue to be creative in our approach understanding that the most important returns for our residents are good jobs, reliable tax revenues, and sustainable growth,” says Kenneth Cooper Alexander, Mayor, City of Norfolk.

“On behalf of the IEDC board of directors and Excellence in Economic Development Awards Advisory Committee, congratulations to the City of Norfolk. Not only did they work to provide a necessary service to their community; but also, their participation in the awards program sheds light on their stellar projects which other communities can now use as a benchmark.”  – Michael Langley, FM, CEO of GREATER MSP, Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN, and 2017 IEDC Board Chair

The “824 Military” award winning project recognized a City-owned, 209K SF former JCPenny department store on a 15-acre site which was adapted for reuse into a state of the art office building. The City purchased the store for $2.5 million and invested another $15 million in upgrades to control a portion of the 122 acre mall site, influence its long-term revitalization as a stakeholder and demonstrate Norfolk’s commitment to renewal of the entire corridor.  In addition to being a redevelopment success, the 824 Military property is a financial success – approximately 75% leased and approximately 850 new jobs to the city.

Norfolk’s launch of Norfolk Works won for its Waterside Week Hiring Event. In 2017, Norfolk created 6,000 job opportunities from projects underway in the city.  The Norfolk City Council wanted to make the jobs available to residents in the city and the Economic Development Department opened Norfolk Works, a job resource center for job seekers, employers and a workforce development network. The Waterside District (Entertainment Consulting International) was the first client. Waterside District identified their hiring needs and process requirements prior to the event. During the event, Waterside District provided on-site recruiters and a manager able to make on-the-spot hires.

Development Department staff, including Norfolk Works, developed the event and pitched the idea to the client. Department staff recruited partner organizations; coordinated outreach efforts; and managed all logistics during the event. 

Partners helped promote the event and provided staff assistance during it. They include: AARP; Norfolk Department of Social Services; Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority; Opportunity Inc. (Workforce Development Board); Virginia Department for the Blind and Visually Impaired; Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services; and Second Chances reentry program.

Waterside District was positively affected in that it hired over 230 people, many of whom had one or more barriers to employment and were provided training.

“The awards process is a thorough, non-biased and multi-layered process. These are extraordinary accomplishments for all winners, and an overall great effort by all participants. We look forward to next year’s awards competition,” Langley said.