Media gets final tour ahead of new Waterside District opening

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – We are just days away from the grand opening of Norfolk’s new Waterside District.

From the groundbreaking two years ago to a look at construction just a few weeks back, 10 On Your Side has taken you along the journey to revitalization from the very beginning.

Video: Waterside in 1979

On Monday, members of the media got a chance to tour one last time before opening day.

There is a total of 135,000 square feet. There will be 14 different restaurants inside with nearly 300 different food items. We also learned there are 750 employees hired already and more on the way when the third party companies hire their staff.

Officials expect more than a million visitors this year and even though there is still work going on, they say things are on target and they will be ready for the grand opening.

“Beer and liquor are all being delivered tomorrow and you can see as we walk through today that we’re already cooking in the kitchens and so we’re ready to go,” Glen Sutch, President of Waterside District said. “We are actually on schedule. It might not look it with everything that’s happening, but it does clean up quickly.”

Photos: Waterside District set to open in May

Sutch led the tour. He told the group before it started, “We’ll take you through the entire place, should be a lot of fun.”

The first stop was a patio area where Sutch explained a food truck will make a stop each week.

Inside, members of the media got to see where you can learn to line dance and you’ll be able to ride a mechanical bull.

“It’s real free flowing, inside and outside,” Sutch said.

The Guy Fieri Smoke House is one of the 14 different restaurants at Waterside.

Local businesses excited about new shops at Waterside District

The Market is a big meeting spot in the center of it all, surrounded by eateries.

“This is where you come down for lunch. This is where you come hang out with your family on the weekends,” Sutch said.

The area is equipped with a big screen TV and gymnasium-style seating.

Behind the scenes: Waterside District on target for May 4 opening

The Blue Moon Taphouse is a 22,000 square foot restaurant that seats more than 500 people.

The Harbor Club is another restaurant upstairs with a great, open view. There’s even an area outside for games and concerts. All of it has a casual feel.

Developers expect more than a million people to visit this year. Sutch said parking won’t be a problem.

“We think we have it all nailed down by having the garage, by having some self parking available and by having valet that we’re going to be able to mitigate just about everything that we anticipate and see,” he said.

To keep everyone safe, Sutch said they have a fire and safety evacuation plan and they’ve hired a security company to work around the clock.

“We think we’ve got all out bases covered for sure,” he said.

Despite the number of workers still there Monday putting the finishing touches on the project, Sutch said things are on schedule.

“We’ve been talking about it forever. Now its time to show it and lets get it open, We’re ready,” he said.

On May 4, Waterside District will be open to the public. The official grand opening celebrations will take place May 11 through May 14.