Norfolk looking for new manager for Waterside Marina

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NORFOLK, Va (WAVY) — A year after the rebirth of the Waterside, the city is looking to revamp the neighboring marina. 

“Cordish (companies) has come through and done Waterside,” said Wynter Benda, Norfolk’s Chief Deputy City Manager. “We have a tremendous amount of momentum downtown. So the expectation is now, what is going to happen at our marina?”

A Request for Proposals has gone out for a new manager of the facility that includes the 32-slip facility known as the Waterside Marina — and much of the docking space to the north to Nauticus. 

“The successful proposal will focus on ways to activate not only the Marina but also the entire waterfront and will provide a detailed plan for the capital improvements to be completed by respondent to achieve a vibrant world class marina,” bid paperwork said. 

In addition, the city is looking for a plan to increase the utilization rate at the marina during the off-peak seasons, improve attendance at the surrounding Waterside District and Town Point Park, and increase the financial return to the city.

Waterside Marina LLC has managed the facility Since 2005, according to a 2012 lease agreement. The current lease, in which 25 percent of revenues return to the city, expires at the end of the year.

Rover Marine, Inc. is the parent company and owns the American Rover tall ship and Victory Rover head boat that provide tours leaving from Waterside. 

10 On Your Side reached out to the company for comment, but has not yet heard back. 

Benda said the city has no issue with the current operator, and to his knowledge they plan to submit a bid.

“This is a critical time for our city to have something even more impactful down there,” Benda said. “That’s what were asking people to solicit and bid for and say well what is next? We are looking forward to this initial responses.”

Bids are due Aug. 27, with a public hearing to be held on Aug. 28 for a new operator. 

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