Downtown Norfolk Council
Work Program Architects, which works closely with the Downtown Norfolk Council to enhance business, cultural, retail and residential initiatives in Downtown, collaborated with Progressive Urban Management Associates to perform a market study and develop a new strategic plan for the organization. The previous plan was 10 years’ old, and the DNC needed a new set of goals to guide decision making. Using Urban Design analyses, public input sessions, design charrettes and surveys, priority areas were identified, and plans formed to develop these areas, along with enhanced connections to adjacent neighborhood markets. Scenarios also were reviewed in the context of current trends affected urban areas.
In months immediately following the Strategic Planning process, several effects were immediately apparent. Renewed effort was put towards better utilizing Norfolk’s waterfront, and effective planning for future waterfront development became a priority. The City obtained a Virginia grant to refit two of the worst intersections separating Downtown from its expanded market. Boards of Directors for both the DNC and the Greater Norfolk Corporation set goals to create parks and dog parks in Downtown to better serve the growing residential population. Conversations about the redevelopment of St. Paul’s Quadrant, a topic previously avoided due to the polarizing question of subsidized housing and long-standing issues of racial inequality, began to be held publicly and productively in light of findings that the area is an essential component of the Downtown market. The City and DNC also engaged the Federal General Services Administration in a series of meetings to program and activate two important bookends of Granby Street, a primary Downtown corridor, which are federally owned and had been either vacant or underutilized for years.