Downtown Norfolk abuzz with ongoing, completed development

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It’s all eyes on downtown Norfolk as big development projects come to fruition.

“It’s been cool to see it all go up,” said Karin Schultz, who works in the city.

“It’s pretty energized, there’s definitely a little buzz going around right now,” a friend of hers added.

Some believe the energy picked up with the launch of The Main in March.

“I love that place!”

Then came the long-awaited Waterside District; developers converted a vacant structure into a vibrant complex.

And that isn’t the only rejuvenated spot that’s opened its doors in recent weeks. Just a few blocks away, the Pagoda is yet-again operating as a restaurant.

“It’s a dream come true that this is our place,” said Ted Papafil.

Tucked within the oriental gardens in Freemason, Papafil has launched a new eatery with an international menu. As a Norfolk native, he’s pleased to be part of the city’s growth.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “Downtown has changed 1,000 percent in my lifetime.”

Jessica Kliner with the Downtown Norfolk Council said there’s a new restaurant on each block of Granby Street.

“There’s people all over town, seven days a week,” she said. “There’s something for everyone.”

Donald Santos, an employee at one of Granby’s older restaurants, told 10 On Your Side that the growth is helping business — not hurting it with more competition.

“I think it’s awesome what they’re doing,” he said.

“There’s such a great mix of all of our businesses that have been here for 15 to 20 years and then they can take advantage of this resurgence of people coming down here,” Kliner said.

People hope the energy lasts.

“It’s gonna be cool to see what it actually does for the city,” Schultz said.