VIRGINIA BEACH — Land across the street from an Oceanfront police station could soon become a watering hole for beer lovers.
A development project named The Shipyard at 17th Street will be built on what is now a grassy plot of land in the 800 block of Virginia Beach Boulevard, directly across the street from thepolice department’s 2nd Precinct station.
It will house a craft brewery — the specificbrandis to be determined — with a tasting room and rooftop patio. The outdoor area will feature modified 40-foot long shipping containers: Two will be carved out on three sides for covered seating; two will be installed vertically and illuminated at night for people to walk through.
A 1935 beach cottage currently on the land will be razed to make room for a restaurant with roll-up garage doors facing the outdoor areathat connects to the brewery. The City Council approved the project on Tuesday.
“It’s just as much about being outside as being inside a building,” said the project’sarchitect Jeremy Maloney of Altruistic Design, who added that artists will be commissioned to paint murals on the shipping containers.
The land sits outside the western edge of the ViBe Creative District’s boundaries, but owner Mark DesRoches hopes it will be welcomed into the artistic community.
He also thinks the police station and rescue squad building will be good neighbors.
“It’s an advantage having the police there and the emergency rescue units right across the street,” said DesRoches, who owns a CPA firm in Virginia Beach. “What better place to gather people?”
Several years ago, DesRoches helped launch the 17th Street Gateway Association — a group that advocates for improvements to the aging corridor — and serves as the organization’s president.
In 2023, the city will begin a $26 million upgrade of the eastern end of Virginia Beach Boulevard, also known as 17th Street. Utilities will be moved under the ground, sidewalks will be widened and a bicycle lane will be added.
If the brewery is approved by the city, DesRoches and his family will invest $3 million to develop the Shipyard and open it by next spring, he said.
“We feel like this is a way we can contribute back and improve the revitalization of 17th Street,” he said.
He also hopes the brewery and restaurant will attract visitors of the nearby Virginia Beach Sports Center, which sits one block west.
The city’s traffic engineers are recommending a crosswalk with pedestrian warning signs be installed at the nearby intersection for people who walk from the sports center.