SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Suffolk Mayor Mike Duman touted the city’s growth and a number of new projects in his State of the City address on Tuesday.

Two new businesses will be opening in the Bridgeport mixed-use development off of Bridge Road in North Suffolk – a Westside Burgers diner along with a new 9,200-square-foot brewery from Sojourn Fermentory.

Downtown, the former Elliott Hotel building will get new life as luxury apartments, as TMA Architects, Commonwealth Preservation and Elliott Apartments LLC are working to preserve and redevelop the historic site. Baron’s Restaurant and Pub, which operates on the ground floor, will remain open during construction, which is expected to be complete by fall 2024.

He also highlighted a new $15 million construction grant for Suffolk Public Schools to be applied to the cost of a new John F. Kennedy Middle School. It “closes a gap in funding that was needed to complete the project, as amended.”

“The successful award of this grant,” Duman said, “was the result of the collaborative efforts of our school system and city administration.”

Highlighting a theme of momentum, Duman said the city “unquestionably and indisputably has momentum … (and) our momentum continues as our population, our businesses, our housing and our GDP (gross domestic product) continue to grow exponentially.”

He said with the city’s population expected to grow by 23% over the next 20 years and Suffolk growing in GDP, housing and businesses, he said it is prudent to be proactive in planning for the future “to ensure efficient and effective delivery of services that will provide a high quality of life.” He touted leaders in various city departments for their experience and the departments themselves for their professionalism in earning numerous accreditations.

Duman said Suffolk, to his understanding, is the only city in Virginia with AAA bond ratings by all three rating agencies, and said the city’s strong financial position allowed it to reduce the real estate tax rate by two cents last year, and residents will receive a tax relief credit amounting to another two cents. Those actions, he said, will reduce the tax burden by about $4 million.

Duman also addressed safety concerns by noting the formation of a new public safety committee. He also said he plans to continue regional efforts to address safety.

“The momentum of additional growth will require a constant need for infrastructure improvements and additional school funding,” Duman said. “We are a city of ample resources, but not unlimited resources.”

Duman said the city’s story, and building momentum, would make one of the city’s greatest business leaders and philanthropists, Amadeo Obici, proud – Obici having created the Planters Peanut Company in 1913.

“It is obvious that our city is thriving and enjoys abundant opportunities,” Duman said. “We are in an enviable position of having to manage the momentum that continues to come our way as businesses and families are attracted to our diverse 430 square miles.”