NEON Community Open Space

The following is a list of features being contemplated, as shown in the renderings:

Paved pathways connecting the surrounding sidewalks and streets to the existing paved concrete pad to remain in place. 

Landscaping within the areas of soil on site: grass or stable groundcover, trees, and shaping of the land (rain gardens, swales, berms, etc.).

Planters: both stationary and mobile. The purpose of these are to extend the greenspace from the south edge deeper onto the site, and to help designate the boundaries of the various activity spaces.

Stage Platform:  this is shown with multiple tiers, serving multiple uses including: 1) A platform for performances; 2) amphitheater for watching activity within the Park; 3) a resilient element for play/recreation (can handle wear and tear from skateboarding and other high intensity activities).

Shade Structure: over the stage platform. This will make the platform usable rain or shine. There is a potential for the shade structure to incorporate rigging for lighting, projection screen, speakers, or other performance-related equipment.

Shipping Containers: the two 20’ containers currently at the PLOT can be re-used and modified for new purposes (vending, storage, etc.). A new 40’ container can be added to span above the 20’ containers to provide a surface for graphics and to make a shaded space below. The walls of the containers become surfaces for vertical gardens and graphics (like a neon ‘NEON’ sign!).

Benches: these would be made of solid concrete with reinforced edges for durability. They would accommodate a range of activities including seating, market stalls, and skateboarding.

Playground Area: to include play equipment on an appropriate play surface. The play equipment could be in the form of public art, similar to “Upper Blush”, the sculpture by Matthew Geller that was recently installed on site.

Basketball Area:  a resilient hoop, backboard, and pole, with striping painted on the ground. Depending on the location, a fence element might be necessary to help prevent balls from leaving the site and becoming a hazard.

Lighting: the light poles from PLOT I could be re-used and new lighting could be implemented as needed. It will be beneficial to have power at the Stage Platform and also at the Containers.

Painting and Scoring: the concrete surface presents a good opportunity painting or scoring to help emphasize the diagonal paths and/or the division of the site into activity areas. The scoring may help with drainage – to provide a path for water to migrate toward the landscaped areas. During the charrette it was discussed that some game surfaces would be nice on the paving: chess, hopscotch, bocce, etc.

Public Art: the west wall of the adjacent building is a perfect place for a large commissioned mural. Also, places within the park can be dedicated for additional sculptures. Artworks that promote participation, interaction, and play should be favored.

Miscellaneous Park Equipment:  Tables and chairs, play equipment, signage, water source for irrigation, etc.

 

Please stay tuned here and to the Downtown Norfolk Council’s website for news, upcoming milestones, and ways to get involved in the NEON District as it continues to evolve.

 

 

Vibrant Spaces Announces Selden Market

Downtown Norfolk’s First Retail Incubator

NORFOLK, Va. – (May 2017) – Downtown Norfolk Council is pleased to announce that Vibrant Spaces, an incentive program developed to stimulate street-level business, is partnering with the City of Norfolk to open Selden Market. Located in the Selden Arcade that sits between Main and Plume Streets in Downtown, Selden Market will serve as a storefront incubator for new businesses.

Selden Arcade is the historic connector between Slover Library and Hilton Norfolk The Main. Selden Market will be transformed into a vibrant space with multiple small-business tenants, mentors and kiosks for pop-up businesses. The program will stimulate street-level activity with low rents and short-term leases to help businesses shape their model, learn from each other and build community in a low-risk environment.

“This market concept is a culmination of all of the lessons we’ve learned from the successful Vibrant Spaces program,” said Drew Ungvarsky, chairman and CEO and executive creative director of Grow. “Vibrant Spaces matched new businesses with existing spaces in Downtown and provided grants and reduced rents. Additionally, grants were awarded to existing businesses that brought unique concepts to create street-level vibrancy. The goals for Selden Market are regular activation, a unique atmosphere and continual transformation.”

 

“One thing we discovered was the need for smaller spaces that allow businesses to get started and then grow,” added Mary Miller, president and CEO of Downtown Norfolk Council. “We anticipate this will stimulate businesses across the city and provide a learning and sharing environment. Plus, the synergy of the location adjacent to Slover Library and The Main is a huge benefit. The market is an interim use for two to three years, and we are working with Work Program Architects on a moveable design approach.”

The Slover Library Maker Studio, an initiative of the Slover Library Foundation, will be added to the library’s first floor in the Arcade for patrons to experiment with all kinds of new technologies and tools to create and invent. It will include a sound recording studio, laser cutter and sewing machines.

The Selden Market concept is progressive but not uncharted. Downtown Norfolk Council has incorporated the best practices in retail incubation, markets, food halls and hybrid spaces across the country.

Downtown Norfolk Council and the Vibrant Spaces committee will accept applications for potential tenants. Applications are available online at www.seldenmarket.com.

Tenant selections will be made for those that communicate the following qualities:

  • Exciting and unique street-level businesses
  • Inclusive of retail, experience, food, service and especially hybrids and non-traditional business models
  • Exemplifies the original program criteria: incredible design, regular activation, exceptional offerings


 
Selden Market will be operated by the Downtown Norfolk Council, and the call for entry is available now through July 13. In addition to incubator storefronts, DNC will offer a few mentor spaces to help with tenant education and traffic generation. Kiosk rentals will allow businesses to test concepts by the day or week. Construction will begin on connectors to The Main and Slover Library this summer, and a fall launch is anticipated.

Selden Market from WPA on Vimeo.

Vibrant Spaces started in 2015. The first phase attracted 86 applicants for six spaces in seven weeks. Three businesses opened in Downtown: Prince Ink at 433 Granby, Lamia’s Crepes at 401 Granby Street and Muddy Paws Downtown at 400 Granby Street. Eight additional grants were awarded to existing businesses including Brick Anchor Brew-House, Work | Release, Leone’s and Hurrah Players.  Additional vacancies have been filled through connections with Vibrant Spaces including Pinot’s Palette (Ghent); Town Center Cold Pressed (Ghent); Jollity & Co. (Ghent; Pacers (35th Street); Bearded Bird Brewing (NEON); Corks & Caps (Downtown); Bonchon (Downtown) and The Rustic Tart (Downtown).

Downtown Norfolk Council (DNC) is a private, not-for-profit membership organization comprised of businesses and individuals working toward a dynamic, attractive and prosperous Downtown. DNC also manages the Downtown Norfolk Improvement District, a 48-block special services district with enhanced services that keep Downtown friendly, safe and spotless. Connect with Downtown Norfolk on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or visit DowntownNorfolk.org.

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