College Place was originally named after the Norfolk College for Young Ladies, a finishing school chartered in 1880 and housed in a substantial Second Empire building designed by James H. Calrow. The school graduated its last class in 1899, and the building, at the northwest corner of Granby Street and College Place, went into a long decline before it was finally demolished in the 1980s. The site is now a park, but the street name is relevant once again, for College Place now leads to the Norfolk campus of Tidewater Community College, an amalgam of new and historic construction in the center of downtown.
The creation of the campus in the early to mid-1990s was part of a multipronged approach to rebuilding the business district, which had languished while the city's waterfront was being redeveloped during the previous decade. The centerpiece of the college, the Renaissance Revival Alvah H. Martin Building (
NK28.1) (1912–1913, Lee and Diehl; c. 1917, remodeling; 300 Granby Street) had for many years been the flagship of the popular Smith and Welton Department Store. The building now serves as the college's library, housing offices and some classrooms. Across Granby Street stands the Mason C. Andrews Science Building (1994–1997, UDA Architects with Williams, Tazewell and Associates), an unobtrusive modern building, which opens to the aforementioned park. The Stanley C. Walker Technologies Building anchors the north end of the campus at the southeast corner of Granby Street and East Freemason Street. The Renaissance Revival building was originally built for the Norfolk YMCA (1908–1911, Rossell Edward Mitchell with Wood, Donn and