Waterside Live will consist mostly of dining and live music and will feature roll-up garage doors that will give the complex an outdoor feel, a representative of the developer told city officials on Thursday.
Michael Stoltz from The Cordish Cos. of Baltimore provided the Planning Commission with new designs and details about what his company envisions for the former waterfront mall, which is owned by the city.
Drawings show Waterside Live with an open, glass roof, but plans are not complete.
“We will sit with the decision-makers in the city and ask for their advice,” Stoltz said.
Construction will start at the end of this year and should be completed by the summer of 2016, he said. Plans are to amplify the existing building’s characteristics.
Cordish’s restoration properties in Los Angeles, Kansas City, Houston and other cities feature lighted signs, guitars and lots of music.
“I don’t think you can have enough live music in our projects,” Stoltz said.
According to the plans presented Thursday, Waterside Live will feature:
• The urban feel of brick and concrete with lots of exposed steel and a stage inside for concerts. Tenants also will host live music.
• A common area that will feel like being outside. Ferry passengers could walk through Waterside Live without opening a door.
• A marketplace where local restaurants can sell food. “We really have found that you need a mix of the best nationals and the best locals to be successful,” Stoltz said.
• Signs facing the Elizabeth River to attract boaters.
Engineers, architects and contractors have toured the building the past few months to plan.
The City Council approved the deal with Cordish in August after years of discussing what to do with Waterside. The mall opened in 1983 and was a catalyst for downtown revival. But it languished after the opening of MacArthur Center and the rise of a restaurant scene on the Granby Street corridor.
The council approved a 50-year lease with Cordish and has given the company freedom to choose the rules for dining and entertainment, waiving the normal control the city exercises over bars and restaurants.
Most tenants in Waterside are gone. Outback Steakhouse, Hooters and Joe’s Crab Shack remain open.
Cordish has not yet named specific tenants it wants to bring.
Patrick Wilson, 757-222-3893, firstname.lastname@example.org
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