NORFOLK, Va. — Today wasn't just a birthday celebration for waterside, it was a revitalization exclamation.
"Several years ago a plan came into place, and now two years after opening we have had tremendous success," said marketing director Fred Rose.
Rose said Waterside has already produced over 200 events and hosted another 1,000 private functions including everything from fundraisers to sports watch parties.
"That's the real secret sauce I think of the Waterside District, is people have responded to us and consider us a place to go for these great experiences," said Rose.
Rose said Waterside's stability has given entertainment heavyweights from around the country the courage to invest in Norfolk.
"A great example of that would be the Sky Star Observation Wheel, which was here last summer, and that generated 55,000 riders in the course of three months," said Rose.
While local downtown organizations, like the Tides and Nauticus, have developed lucrative partnerships. Nauticus said their foot traffic has noticeably increased because of their new neighbor.
"It's just nice to see them come over here, enjoy all the restaurants, and then come back to us and share their experiences with us," said Autumn Eustis of Nauticus. "We are very fortunate to be in such close proximity."
The Chamber of Commerce said Waterside has also done wonders for bringing new businesses into the downtown.
"When you have large companies like ADP moving into the area, for them to have the ability to walk directly across the street and have the resources that they have from a food and beverage standpoint is incredible," said Tage Counts of the Chamber of Commerce.
Counts said people want to live and work in a city that offers a place for fun and so far Waterside is meeting that demand.
"They have the entertainment value to go along with the housing, the employment and everything that goes along with recruiting a workforce in this market," said Counts.