NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Norfolk's Waterside will soon be getting a facelift and a new name with a $28 million investment that is estimated to bring 1,000 new jobs and millions in revenue to the city.
The agreement between the City of Norfolk and Baltimore-based Cornish Company will redevelop and re-brand Waterside Festival Marketplace into Waterside Live!, a "Premier Urban Waterfront Park," according to Lori Crouch with the City of Norfolk.
"The investment in Waterside will actually allow for the taking back of the roof in the middle [of the current structure]," Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim said Thursday. "It will open up Waterside to a more transparent view from the street and from the water. It may have a retractable roof."
Crouch listed the following as highlights of the development:
- 1,000 new jobs – with provisions to ensure that jobs are made available to Norfolk residents
- Private Sector Investment of $28 to $38 million
- A performance based grant to the developer for a portion of sales and admission revenue generated at the development
- Estimated $93 million in direct revenue to the City of Norfolk over 30 years
- Estimated $850,000 in new annual parking revenues
- Eliminates the current city general fund subsidy of $1.3 million annually
"Not only are they high-end jobs but also service sector jobs and jobs for people who will work in the restaurants, people who work in the entertainment industry," Fraim said.
The design plans aren't finalized yet but the project will be financed by Cordish. However, the city has agreed to share tax revenues with the company. Fraim emphasized that Waterside history has not been as successful as it could be.
"We're gonna have more special entertainment as well as some restaurants that will be attractive to people of all ages and all families," Fraim said.
Patrons of Waterside agree that the area should be more family-oriented.
"I know they had some troubles down here a little bit earlier with some of the nightclubs and that type of thing so they'll have to be careful," Doug Huggins said.
The marina will not be part of the Cornish redevelopment, according to Fraim and may go to a local company.
The agreement between both parties was reached by principle without a legal contract but both signed letters of intent for the project.
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