Our Military Circle Proposal Offers Broad Benefit Without Burdening Taxpayers – The Virginian-Pilot


I humbly offer these comments in response to recent articles in this journal about the City of Norfolk’s Military Circle Mall Revitalization Project. My team, Crossroads Partnership, is one of the tender respondents vying for selection and is comprised of proven property development and finance professionals,

Virginia-based SB Ballard Construction Company and the world’s leading sports venue operator, ASM Global.

“Why would Emmitt Smith seek an opportunity in Virginia? What business does he have here,” are common questions regarding my participation in this proposal. It’s simple: my passion is building and strengthening communities, and providing equitable access to resources to enable community members to live their healthiest, most fulfilling lives. My goal is to develop spaces that generate wealth creation opportunities for local and minority business owners and their families, whether in Virginia, Florida, Texas or any other part of the United States.

Prior to committing to the Military Circle Mall tender, I personally assembled a top notch team, with a proven track record of executing a vision to completion without funding or undue burden to the paying public.

Throughout my life and professional career, I have had the good fortune to see my dreams turn into goals, those goals become actions, and those actions bear good fruit. For me, a vision is only as good as its execution.

The Crossroads Partnership’s method of funding the city’s vision of a mixed-use, community-driven redevelopment of the Military Circle Mall project is not the traditional public-centred approach of asking the City of Norfolk or its people to provide millions of dollars to deliver the pledged assets. Through our public-private funding model, we can provide a reimagined space for the community to attend live events and competitive youth sporting events, dine, and relax in the new green space after a day of meetings. or an afternoon of shopping. Our live work and play proposal focuses on the financial aspects of the revitalization of Military Mall Circle so that the redevelopment project can begin in a timely manner, and not stop for two years to find funding, which delays deliverables and programs promised to the City of Norfolk.




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Submitted proposals differ in funding, programs and deliverables. The Crossroads Partnership proposal includes an 18,000-seat state-of-the-art entertainment, recreation and wellness complex for the community; a corporate campus conveniently anchored by Sentara Healthcare and the proposed joint School of Public Health; a diverse range of residential unit offerings; green spaces and walking paths; national hotel chains; sales area; and plans to establish an African-American cultural center.

Our team can ensure that the debt associated with the revitalization project will not become a burden on the city, its ratepayers or the Economic Development Authority. Our residential, office, retail and parking developments are 100% privately funded, providing a financially responsible and rewarding solution.

Additionally, our aim is to ensure that the target participation of local Norfolk minority businesses is the floor – the minimum – and will actively create more inclusive pathways for job creation and generational wealth. This team does not view diversity and inclusion as an initiative or a program or a benefit. For us, it’s who we are. It’s our DNA.

I firmly believe that where we live, learn, work and play impacts the outcome of our lives and the advancement of communities. I highlight this because it is the purpose and cornerstone of my passion for development projects, specifically revitalization projects that benefit a community and the people we serve.

This project is not about the celebrity attached to it or its origin. This project concerns the city of Norfolk and its inhabitants. I am confident that the Crossroads Partnership team can meet the needs of this project with a financial plan that does not include overspending on the taxpayer.

The Crossroads Partnership team is optimized and ready to partner with the City of Norfolk and its people. Norfolk, together our time is now.

Emmit Smith, CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member), is an entrepreneur who runs several companies involved in real estate development, construction and technology. He played 15 seasons in the National Football League and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2010.

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