NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) – A thousand jobs, a major economic boost, and more entertainment options are coming to Downtown Norfolk in April 2017.
It’s been several years since businesses began moving out The Waterside, years since the shopping and dining destination closed altogether.
Baltimore-based The Cordish Companies stepped saw potential in the once-thriving property. More than a year ago, the city handed over the keys to the developer. Cordish broke ground on the new Waterside District in August of 2016.
13News Now sat down with Zed Smith, Chief Operating Officer of the Cordish Companies to talk about the progress of the entertainment district.
“I think what we are able to bring a bit of newness: it’s a market, it’s entertainment, it’s the best of Norfolk. I think all those components will bring a destination people in Norfolk can be proud of,” stated Smith.
He said the project is a $40 million one for the company. In order to make it successful, Cordish is looking at its existing developments in Kansas City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.
“I know that area for that reason: the nightlife," said business owner Tiffany James who lives in Baltimore and rents space from Cordish at Power Plant Live!. "All I have to say is, 'Yeah, it’s in the Power Plant Live! area,' and they know exactly like it is.”
It’s that same recognition that Smith says he hopes to bring to Hampton Roads with Waterside District.
“We want this to be the living room of Norfolk, where folks can bring their families to just enjoy the waterfront and to have great food and some great entertainment,” said Smith.
Smith told 13News Now there are 18 business spaces inside the district; as of November, all of the spaces were rented.
With the businesses comes one thousand jobs that need to be filled.
The first job fair for Waterside District will be held on November 15. Another one is expected to come closer to opening day in 2017.
Smith said The Cordish Companies already is thinking of proposing further development, building on the momentum it already established.
“I think it’s important for the city to think about next steps in the development of the waterfront, where it maintains it’s public access, where people can enjoy it, but also viewing it as an economic opportunity,” Smith offered.