VIRGINIA BEACH – Tucked away along 17 ½ Street in the heart of the ViBe Creative District is an eye-catching structure currently under construction: One that intends to meet higher standards in its building practice than modern edifices sometimes do.
A project of local-filmmaker-gone-Hollywood Derrick Borte and his wife Sandra, the two-story, 3,200-square-foot building will offer three separate spaces when finished.
Borte, who is best known for his work directing “The Joneses” (starring Hollywood A-listers David Duchovny and Demi Moore), “London Town,” and “American Dreamer,” is currently in New Orleans working on his next project.
“Sandra is really the brains behind managing and developing the project,” Borte said via telephone from The Big Easy. “We want to try and do what we can to create usable space down there.”
Borte has done a couple of other projects in the ViBe and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the arts district.
“We’re trying to add character and quality to the neighborhood and make it a cooler place to be,” he said.
The building, at 510 17 ½ St., features a dark gray brick/stone front and cinder block sides, as well as a parapet wall rising up in the front, and big doors and windows for ease of access and plenty of light.
And on the east facing side there’s a very large and noticeable mural that was created as part of the ViBe’s most recent mural fest.
Borte said he’s purposefully attempting to avoid the more common business/development model in which older buildings with quality and character tend to be torn down and replaced by nondescript newer ones.
There’s no date yet for completion of the building and no leases have been finalized.
But Borte is content to play a part in the ever changing and ever improving ViBe District.
“The ViBe has a long way to go, but has come a long way as well,” he said. “And we’re happy to be a part of it.”