NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Norfolk City Manager Marcus Jones just announced he is recommending the Cordish Company proposal to replace the current Waterside property.
That proposal will create a venue featuring entertainment and 13 new restaurants. The project would cost $30 million.
The main reason Jones said he selected this project is because there would be no upfront capital investment required.
"Upfront cost is private money. So starting off, it's the investment of $26 million of private money," Jones said.
Tuesday's city council session aired live at Norfolk.gov.
The decision came down to the Cordish proposal and one by Harvey Lindsay Development Group . The agency wants to start from scratch and build a new conference center on the existing site. The $200 million price tag is much more than the Cordish proposal. The Harvey Lindsay project would also include a new marina and two hotels.
"We are very disappointed. We put a lot of effort into this. We think we had a great plan for the city. We still do. We wish the Cordish Group good luck, and we wish them good success and hope the City has made the right decision," Lindsey told WAVY.com.
No representatives from Cordish attended the meeting.
However, with business down on Granby Street, WAVY.com asked Jones would the Cordish Company's plan for 13 new restaurants really necessary to the Downtown region?
Jones said, "...the new business coming in could make the people fall in love with Norfolk all over again."
But, Jones' recommendation doesn't make the project a done deal. City council members said they want to discuss the matter further. A work session will be held before the final deal is signed. No date has been set for that vote.
One day before the announcement, a group staged a peaceful protest outside the existing Waterside structure to oppose the two proposals on the table. The group believes the city can do better than either of the two final proposals.
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