Creating Urban Places: An Interview with Burrell Saunders

With construction making fast progress at Summit Pointe, Coastal Virginia residents and businesses alike are getting excited. Summit Pointe’s urban lifestyle setting has already begun to generate a buzz around the community that it will create.

One of the leading visionaries behind the Summit Pointe community is Burrell Saunders of Saunders + Crouse Architects of Virginia Beach, VA. Burrell is an architect with a primary focus on projects involving urban, mixed-use spaces. We took some time to speak with Burrell about his process designing urban spaces, and his vision for the community at Summit Pointe.

What got you interested in designing urban lifestyle communities?

I have always been fascinated by how architecture not only served the internal functions but contributes to the shaping of the public realm. We have focused on building initiatives, in which the goals are to create community places that offer a variety of blended uses and open space in an urban community composition. Expression of the unique character of each society served.

What are some of your other notable urban lifestyle community projects?

We have worked on the redevelopment of historic urban places such as Downtown Norfolk, The Bridges in Roanoke, and Rocketts Landing in Richmond. At the same time, we are working to establish new emerging urban centers such as Virginia Beach Town Center, Oyster Pointe City Center and Summit Pointe.

Can you tell us about the history of building the Summit Pointe community?

The vision for Summit Pointe began in 2010 with the rezoning of a 69-acre industrial property to urban mixed-use in the Greenbrier Commercial District of Chesapeake, VA. Dollar Tree saw the need for an advanced mixed-use urban environment to serve their associates and the community.

How does Summit Pointe benefit individuals living and working within the community?

Summit Pointe is a walkable/bikeable urban setting that offers residents, workers and visitors a broad range of activities from working out to relaxing on a park bench watching urban life play out. Some will choose to live in Summit Pointe and enjoy the additional time and convenience of life without having to engage in rush hour traffic frustrations.

How does Summit Pointe benefit the Chesapeake region?

Summit Pointe will become the core of an emerging new downtown. It is reversing the development patterns of Greenbrier from suburban to urban mixed-use, allowing the area to further advance as a social-economic urban center.

What are some of the things that will bring communities together at Summit Pointe?

There is already excitement being expressed in the community about having a place to go when Summit Pointe comes online. The parks, sidewalks, cafés, shops, offices, and residences will be filled with citizens and residents living and socializing. As Summit Pointe expands, the community’s character will emerge in the form of art, retail aesthetic, music, and entertainment, all blended in an urban setting. It is the community’s place.

Summit Pointe is Coastal Virginia’s premier urban lifestyle community, singularly focused on quality amenities to attract the world’s top-tier talent. For more information on the opportunities coming to Summit Pointe, visit