Norfolk mayor gives State of the City address

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim addressed the Hampton Roads of Commerce on Friday afternoon, giving the State of the City address at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott.

One of the biggest topics of his speech was the new developments happening across the city. Many of the large projects are still in the planning stages, with several set to begin in the coming months.

“Or population continues to grow and we have $1.3 billion in development that’s bringing more than 3,000 jobs to our city,” Friam said.

Some of the projects, referred to as “game changers” on the event’s program include: The Hilton Downtown Hotel and Conference Center, Waterside Live!, the Norfolk Premium Outlets and Park, and more.

Waterside Live! will create hundreds of new jobs,” Fraim said. “It is projected to generate an estimated $93 million in direct revenue to the city over 30 years and an estimated $850,000 annually in parking revenue.”

The renovation of the existing Waterside area in Downtown Norfolk was finalized this past October. Construction will begin in the fall.

Also in the works is the Hilton Downtown Hotel and Conference Center.

“This will be a new product that has not been seen in Hampton Roads, and quite frankly, very few areas in the mid-Atlantic will have a facility anywhere even remotely close to this in either design or function,” said Gold Key PHR CEO and developer, Bruce Thompson.

Thompson said plans are nearly complete for the Norfolk hotel: “We’ve completed all the design and we’re currently having it priced to make sure we can afford the design that we have. The three restaurants are designed. They’re actually named now. The rooms have been designed.”

Fraim said the Norfolk Premium Outlets and Park, that would be built on the Lake Wright Golf Course, will also attract people to the city: “The outlet mall, of course, will be the largest retail event since we opened the MacArthur Center 15 years ago. We think that’s just a must-do project.”

The premium outlets plans isn’t final, yet. There are zoning applications that need to be approved in Norfolk and Virginia Beach first. According to a Norfolk spokesperson, Norfolk’s application will be reviewed in March and Virginia Beach’s will be reviewed in April.

Fraim said there are many signs the city is doing well.

“There’s a bright future for the city,” he said. “Our economy is coming back. There’s plenty of economic development. Part of the message is, there’s a lot of young people moving back to Norfolk, and we think that’s positive.

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