"It's a new day, a new chapter in Norfolk," said Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander and that new chapter brings with it the prospect of a newly renovated Scope arena, as the Mayor released in a special announcement during his inaugural Hampton Roads Chamber Norfolk State of the City Address on Friday, May 12th.
The public-private deal with Los Angeles-based Oak View Capital is in the "very early, preliminary stages," said Mayor Alexander. "We have a mainstay arena that has been in used by the region for many years," the Mayor said while he addressed the press after the event. "The Scope is tired, we built it in 1971...it needs major upgrades." The possible renovation was one highlight of many Mayor Alexander shared with the sold-out crowd at Hilton Norfolk The Main. The Mayor touted Naval Station Norfolk's 100 year anniversary and Norfolk's position as NATO's home in North America as important not only to the city of Norfolk but for the Hampton Roads region and the nation as a whole.
Recent gains in the economic development of the city were front and center in the Mayor's remarks, with a total of 6,000 new jobs being created by various employers in the city of Norfolk by the end of the year. Mayor Alexander noted that ADP provided the largest investment to the region's economic development, resulting in an "economic impact of 200 million dollars." Hilton Norfolk The Main and the Waterside District joined other new developments throughout the city including Optima Health and the Norfolk Premium Outlets. Norfolk will see "more diversification of the economy and more high paying jobs" in 2017 said Mayor Alexander.
In addition to the businesses moving into Norfolk, the Mayor highlighted the various housing development projects occurring throughout the city, from the new apartment complexes coming soon at the Icon at Citywalk and St. Paul's Quadrant to home restoration projects like Renovate Norfolk, to pre-approved building options for homes in historic Old Huntersville. "Quality housing for everyone is a top priority for the city," said Mayor Alexander, as he noted the Church Street Station apartments with support services Norfolk is using as they work to end homelessness. These various housing initiatives have helped Norfolk reduce the "number of people considered chronically homeless by 69%" said the Mayor.
During his remarks, Mayor Alexander touched upon various improvements to be made to the city transportation system, as well as an increase of 6 million dollars added to the Norfolk Public Schools budget, more funding for equipment and police cars, and a savings of "nearly 6 million dollars" for taxpayers were all additional highlights for the City of Norfolk this year. As Mayor Alexander concluded his remarks he instructed all the attendees to pick up the pencils the city had placed on the tables, "take it with you, sharpen it, and use it write Norfolk's next chapter."
The Hampton Roads Chamber State of the City Series gives the Mayors of Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Suffolk the opportunity to reflect on the past year and outline their plan for a successful future. Finishing the 2017 series will be the Suffolk State of the City Address on May 23rd.
The Hampton Roads Chamber is committed to being an inspiring ignitor, impactful advocate, and powerful economic partner of the cities of the Hampton Roads region and the State of the Cities Series is one of the key ways we meet our strategic direction.
Thank you to our sponsors: Presenting Sponsor: Town Bank; Platinum Sponsor: Bon Secours; Member Spotlight Sponsor: Waterside District; Gold Sponsor: Geico; Silver Sponsors: Everest College, Opportunity Inc., Optima Health; Spirit in Motion Sponsor: Norfolk Southern; Building Our Future Partner: The Franklin Johnston Group; Magazine Sponsor: Virginia Business; Media Sponsor: Cox; Radio Sponsor: Sinclair Communications: Bronze Sponsors: Gold Key PHR and Virginia Natural Gas; Photography Sponsor Jordan DiCaprio Photography.
(Pictured here: Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander and CEO and President of the Hampton Roads Chamber, Bryan Stephens)
The city of Norfolk shared this video during the event. Be sure to check it out!