“We have built this momentum together. We must stay the course and remain committed to reimagine Norfolk,” Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander said in his keynote address at the 2018 Norfolk State of the City. Held at The Main, “Reimagine Norfolk” was the thread that wove through the story of Norfolk’s 2017 successes and Mayor Alexander’s vision for the future of this city. “I can affirm the state of our city is strong,” Alexander said.
The second in the Hampton Roads Chamber’s annual State of the City Series, Norfolk attracted a sold-out audience with over 1,200 attendees.
Mayor Alexander described Norfolk as “The heartbeat of Hampton Roads,” and he revealed many exciting announcement during his address. Several of Norfolk’s unique districts received breaking news. In an innovative partnership in The Neon District, Tidewater Community College will take over the Greyhound station property and Glass Wheel Studio. The vision for this new space will include a comprehensive culinary arts and hospitality program.
The 47,000 square foot Patricia and Douglas Perry TCC Center for Visual and Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management is slated to open in the summer of 2020. “We are extremely grateful for the support of the Perry family, and their ongoing efforts to make Norfolk a destination for the arts and culture,” Alexander said.
The Waterside District will have a reimagined skyline this summer, when the seasonal 20-story Ferris wheel SkyStar comes to the Waterside District. Alexander also revealed a renovation for Chrysler Hall that would better maximize the space, as well as a reimagined MacArthur Center that will better keep up with our digital world. “We have received a proposal from Starwood Retail Partners, the current owners of MacArthur Center to create a mixed-use development space that features residences, shops and restaurants, a full service hotel and public plaza,” Alexander said.
In Ocean View, Alexander revealed, “The city will purchase Greenies and Ocean View Diner to allow bay access for residents and visitors.”
Mayor Alexander recognized the repurposing of historical building and growth that has occurred in the now vibrant neighborhood that once divided Park Place and Ghent. “This area will be our next historical district. The Railroad District will mix historical buildings and properties with new commercial space and combine modern convenience with historical legacy.”
Referencing the projected growth of Instant Systems located in the Norfolk Executive Park and the addition of ADP downtown, “Norfolk is a city providing opportunity and growth for workforce development. In the last 20 months, we have grown over 7,000 jobs in Norfolk,” Alexander said. Norfolk has been named in the top 5 cities for new jobs in the South Eastern United States.
Alexander also confirmed a 3 year extension for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) to continue holding their annual basketball series in Norfolk.
The Mayor further unveiled an option agreement with Harvey Lindsey Commercial Real Estate, “to conduct a feasibility study for the construction of a new building located at the corner of St. Paul’s Boulevard and Waterside Drive.” In the former courthouse site, this building would meet resiliency design standards and serve as a state-of-the-art model for coastal construction.
Mayor Alexander focused on the people of his city, discussing urban parcel redevelopment that would provide support services to families working hard to rise out of poverty. Alexander presented a reimagined vision for the St. Paul’s area that would “meet the interests and needs of residents first, it’s a people first approach,” Alexander said.
The vision for Norfolk is bright in this reimagined future. “Now is our time to be bold and courageous and to reimagine what this city can be,” Alexander said, “let us continue to think anew.”
TowneBank is the State of the City Series Presenting Sponsor, and Executive Vice President, John Biacco of TowneBank Norfolk, introduced the Mayor, taking time to recognize the contributions he has made to the city.
The State of the City series continues with Virginia Beach on March 28th, Portsmouth on April 6th, and Suffolk on May 8th.