NORFOLK -- Virginia Beach developer Bruce Thompson, Governor McAuliffe, Mayor Fraim and city councilmembers will attend a groundbreaking Thursday for the new Hilton Hotel and Convention Center in downtown Norfolk. It hotel will be known as Hilton Norfolk at The Main.

The $126 million, 23-story complex will be built on an empty lot located at Granby and Main streets and hopes to open in 2017. It will add 300 luxury hotel rooms and 50,000 square feet of conference space.

Construction is expected to create about 500 jobs and nearly 250 workers will have permanent employment at the hotel and convention center.

'The Main is a transformational development with a design that gives the city a stunning architectural landmark and will be unique in the conference market,' said Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim. 'Downtown's newest destination is an investment in our future that will grow and diversify our economy generating jobs and revenue for all of Norfolk. A technologically advanced facility, The Main complements Norfolk's growing arts, food and entertainment culture.'

The hotel will be as tall as Norfolk's Dominion Tower and will house three to four restaurants.

Thompson has hired Cooper Carry Architectural firm and WM Jordan as the contractor.

According to the city, 100 percent of the public investment comes from the existing Public Amenities Fund and parking system. Established in 2003, the Public Amenities Fund authorizes a one percent tax on meals and lodging. The Fund collects enough money each year to cover the debt service on the conference center. Revenue from the parking system will cover the cost of the parking garage.

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