S.J. Collins Enterprises

$55M luxury apartments under construction in Tech Center

The concrete slab is poured, and the framing is next to be installed as a new wave of development at Tech Center at Oyster Point begins to take shape.

"This is going to be an apartment community cram-packed with amenities," said Tarra Secrest of Drucker & Falk, which will manage and operate the apartment development. "This will definitely complement the activity already occurring in Tech Center."
Map: Venture Apartments in Tech Center in Newport News

Construction crews with Norfolk-based Hoy Construction Inc. are feverishly working on the Venture Apartments in Tech Center — a 288-unit development set to anchor the $250 million, 100-acre mixed-use project at Jefferson Avenue and Oyster Point Road in the booming Oyster Point retail district in Newport News.

Virginia Beach-based CRES-EG Development LLC is developing the large-scale apartment project.

Plans call for Venture Apartments to include three four-story buildings to rise on 8 acres fronting Hogan Drive, a corridor that separates the sprawling Tech Center development from Jefferson Lab.

Each building will include studio and one-, two-, and three-bedroom units at market rental rates, starting around $1,000 per month, Secrest said.

Officials plan to start pre-leasing many of the units by February 2016, with the first 52 units, and the clubhouse, set to be delivered by April 2016, Secrest said.

The remaining 236 units are set to be installed in phases by the third quarter of 2016.

Venture Apartments will soon join a slew of new units across the Peninsula, as builders continue to meet market demand for new multifamily developments — especially for millennials, an age group that seems to defy historic housing trends since many are saddled with higher student loan debt, are waiting longer to start a family and may not currently qualify for a mortgage.

But that could be changing.

According a recent survey by ApartmentList.com, a firm that tracks national multi-family development trends in major U.S. metros, older millennials between the ages of 25 and 34 plan to ditch their apartments by 2018 and purchase a home, the survey said.

"Millennials are projected to be larger than the Boomer generation this year, and currently only 34.6 percent of Americans under age 35 are homeowners," says Andrew Woo, Data Scientist at Apartment List. "The future housing decisions of millennials will have a major impact on the economy. While millennial homeownership rates are low today, our study found that nearly 3 out of 4 millennial renters, or 74 percent, plan to buy a home in the future."

However, that future could be later for millennials in Hampton Roads, according to the survey, where 66 percent of millennials in the region plan to buy a home in the next three years.

That's significantly lower than other major U.S. metros, such as Atlanta and Austin, where more than 80 percent of millennial renters are looking to buy a home by 2018.

Venture Apartments is the latest project to come to fruition in the Tech Center development, as a number of new restaurants and retailers open in the Marketplace at Tech Center — a 230,000-square-foot shopping center next door to the new apartment complex that includes new-to-the-market retailers and eateries such as Whole Foods, DSW, P.F. Chang's and Mellow Mushroom.

Secrest said the new retailers, along with access to large-scale employers such as Jefferson Lab and Canon, make Venture Apartments a centralized location for renters looking to live in the greater Oyster Point area.

"Everything is within walking distance," Secrest said. "People will be able to walk to work or to the shopping center, which is ideal for our future tenants."

Targeting the "millennial on the go," Secrest said Venture Apartments will offer its residents a number of amenities and services, including a saltwater pool, an outdoor entertainment cabana and bar, and garden terrace. The facility will also be equipped with "Think Tank Nooks," which will allow residents to meet with potential business clients for meetings and collaboration.

"This concept is very innovative given its location in Tech Center," Secrest said of the Think Tank Nooks. "There will be three rooms available 24-7 that will have smart boards and Apple TVs for residents to use."

An onsite pet spa and virtual fitness center, where residents can dial-up a yoga or spin class with the touch of a button on TV, are also on tap for the upscale development, Secrest said.