Most Environmentally Sustainable Building in Virginia Gets Green Light from Virginia Beach

City Council Vote Plus $3.5 Million Lead Gift Enable CBF Brock Environmental Center to Move Forward as Fundraising Campaign Progresses

Press Release
December 11, 2012

Most Environmentally Sustainable Building in Virginia Gets Green Light from Virginia Beach

City Council Vote Plus $3.5 Million Lead Gift Enable CBF Brock Environmental Center to Move Forward as Fundraising Campaign Progresses

(Virginia Beach, VA)���The Virginia Beach City Council has voted to approve a Conditional Use Permit for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) to construct what will be the most environmentally sustainable building in Virginia, located at Pleasure House Point. Tonight's city council action clears the way for CBF to move forward with the Brock Environmental Center, named in honor of Macon and Joan Brock of Virginia Beach, who provided a $3.5 million leadership gift toward the $20 million project.

"Virginia Beach is very pleased to advance the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's plans for an environmental center at Pleasure House Point," Mayor Will Sessoms said. "The Foundation was instrumental in helping preserve this important property and now will use a small portion of it as a teaching tool for environmental stewardship. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Brock Environmental Center is an exciting project and one that will enhance the Pleasure House Point experience."

"We are extremely gratified that the Virginia Beach City Council and the community support our new venture at Pleasure House Point," said CBF Hampton Roads Director Christy Everett. "The CBF Brock Environmental Center will be a model of sustainable design, demonstrating how it is possible to build responsibly and make a substantial environmental difference without sacrificing comfort or aesthetics."

The CBF Brock Environmental Center will feature cutting-edge green construction practices to meet the "Living Building Challenge," a set of stringent, specific environmental standards established by the International Living Future Institute. These standards require the facility to have "net zero" impact on the environment, not only during construction but during its daily operation. It will be the first of its kind in Virginia. Additionally, CBF will seek the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum rating for the project.

"CBF is excited to raise the bar and move green building to a higher level. We owe a world of thanks to the Brocks and many others for their generous support, and we hope their generosity inspires others also to be part of something truly exceptional," Everett said.

The center will become the hub for CBF's Hampton Roads staff, and the foundation's award-winning environmental education programs, which take thousands of students and teachers onto local waterways each year for in-depth Bay learning experiences. It will also provide office space for Lynnhaven River NOW and Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation staff, and serve as a venue for community meetings and collaboration.

Of the 118 acres recently preserved at Pleasure House Point, the CBF Brock Environmental Center footprint will encompass approximately one acre. CBF also intends to enhance nine acres of surrounding land for educational programming and habitat restoration, using native landscaping and employing nearby waterways for high quality, hands-on field trips.

"The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is a leader in environmental initiatives, championing collaboration with local groups to support clean waterways and the Chesapeake Bay itself," Macon Brock said. "To foster this important work, the CBF Brock Environmental Center will be a destination for environmental education and cooperation in the Hampton Roads Community. This project is an unparalleled opportunity for conservation, education, restoration, and community-building, one that we are honored to support."

Partnering with CBF to create the Brock Environmental Center are SmithGroupJJR, one of the largest architecture, engineering, and planning firms in the nation and the designer of CBF's LEED Platinum headquarters building in Annapolis, Md.; Hourigan Construction, an award-winning builder that has constructed multiple projects in the Hampton Roads region and across Virginia; Skanska (owner's representative), one of the nation's largest, most reputable construction and project management service providers with exceptional credentials in green and sustainable construction; and WPL Site Design, a Virginia Beach-based environmental landscape architectural, surveying, and civil engineering firm.

Capital Campaign Details

An ongoing fundraising campaign includes goals of $10 million to acquire the land and construct the center; $5 million for programs to improve water quality, including environmental education, restoration, and outreach; and $5 million to endow the center and its education and community programs.

Groundbreaking for the CBF Brock Environmental Center is slated for late summer 2013 with a target completion date of autumn 2014.

For more information, contact Kate Wilson, CBF Hampton Roads Development Director, 757-622-1964, send an e-mail to, or visit

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