NORFOLK, Va. - 2009 is turning out to be a year of troubles for Norfolk'sWaterside. WAVY.com has learned that one of Waterside's largesttenants is considering moving out of Norfolk. City leaderssay the owners of Jillian's are looking to possibly vacate theirspot in Waterside and move into Greenbrier Mall inChesapeake.
If this plan comes through, it would leave the secondfloor of Waterside virtually empty.
WAVY.com was there back in August when the City of Norfolk shutdown two Waterside bars, "Have a Nice Day Cafe" and "Bar Norfolk."The city cited repeat violations as reason to padlock their doorsand revoke the special exemption permits that allowed the bars tosell alcohol.
And just last week, Norfolk Festevents suspended Club 20-20, amonthly dance for teenagers because of capacity limitations.
Police say last month, officers had to shut the event downbecause hundreds of teenagers showed up at the dance.
Festevents managers tell WAVY.com that as of right now, thedances are postponed indefinitely.
If Jillian's moves out, it would be bad news for Norfolkaccording to Councilman Randy Wright. "They've run a great businessthere and I'm really sorry to see Jillian's go and I'm hopingthere's maybe some way we can turn that around."
The manager of Waterside, Lane Brown, told WAVY.com thereactually could be a way to turn it around. "The goal is for them tostay and that's on our part and Jillian's and if they are going tostay Jillian's has suggested they want to downsize," saidBrown.
So maybe Jillian's will stay after all. But, what about theother remaining restaurants? Outback, Hooters and Joe'sCrabshack?
"These major tennants have shown they have confidence in thelocation and in Waterside," said Brown. "And as a result, yes, theyare going to be here for a while."
One of the biggest problems in attracting new businesses toWaterside right now... the city can't tell them what their plansare for the future.
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