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Who We Are

Who We Are

Founded in 1979, the Downtown Norfolk Council is an award-winning urban place management organization (UPMO) comprised of more than 350 businesses and individual members dedicated to promoting and enhancing business, cultural, retail and residential initiatives in Downtown Norfolk. The DNC also manages the Downtown Improvement District, a 50-block district ordained by Norfolk City Council in February 1999. 



Downtown is the vibrant and welcoming center of Norfolk where people, culture, and commerce intersect.


DNC enhances Downtown Norfolk’s value, energy, and activity by providing essential clean and safe services, strengthening authentic urban experiences, and fostering inclusive community.

Core Values

  1. DNC is at the center of Downtown Norfolk’s value, energy and activity.
  2. DNC ensures a clean, safe and vibrant urban experience.
  3. DNC serves and advocates for Downtown businesses, employees, residents and visitors.
  4. DNC celebrates and contributes to Norfolk’s unique and diverse culture.
  5. DNC is an accessible, reliable and dedicated Downtown resource.
  6. DNC is actively translating Norfolk’s history into a visionary future.


The Downtown Norfolk Development Corporation, t/a Downtown Norfolk Council, was created in 1979 to bring together the interest of Downtown's private sector community with the interests of the city administration and elected leaders. A 501c-6 organization, the charter was amended in 1984 to allow the organization to have members. Since that time, membership in the organization has tripled and participation has broadened to include virtually every facet of Downtown life - from those in the corporate and business world to those who live Downtown.

In 1999, the Downtown Norfolk Council contracted with the City of Norfolk to manage the newly formed Downtown Improvement District. DNC led the effort that resulted in the Downtown Improvement District and as a result, additional resources were brought to bear on the marketing of Downtown, the cleanliness of Downtown and the improvement of perceptions as they pertain to the safety and friendliness of Downtown.

Through a disciplined annual planning and implementation process, the DNC identifies and addresses the needs of Downtown and works diligently to serve effectively as a liaison between private business and city government.

Over the years, the DNC has made an impact on Downtown through significant programs including the creation of the Downtown Norfolk Historic District and the annual award-winning Holidays in the City program. DNC, along with digital marketing agency Grow, developed and funded the Selden Market. Selden Market opened in the fall of 2017 as an innovative space for entrepreneurs to develop new street-level business ideas. The award-winning market provides a low-risk environment with short-term leases, a supportive development program, and a community atmosphere that fosters learning and growth. The Downtown Norfolk Council often works behind the scenes through creative problem-solving and through the facilitation of discussions with Downtown's diverse interest groups.

Meetings and Events

The Downtown Norfolk Council manages a digital calendar of all Downtown events. Click here to access this detailed calendar. DNC is also directly responsible for a variety of events; some promotional in nature and open to the public-at-large and some dedicated to assuring a high level of communication with our membership and Downtown's unique constituent groups. For information on any of these events, or to see how you might become involved, call the DNC office at 757-623-1757 or email


Member Events & Committees

  • Member Briefing
  • Property Manager Coalition
  • NEON District Committee
  • Complete Streets Committee
  • Restaurant Coalition
  • Selden Market Committee
  • Vibrant Spaces Committee

DNC Executive Committee & Board of Directors Meetings

Downtown Norfolk Council Executive Committee Meetings are held the first Tuesday of every month at 8:30am. The monthly Board of Director's meeting is held on the second Wednesday of each month at 8am. 

DNC Annual Meeting

The DNC Annual Meeting is a celebration of the past year's accomplishments and a time to announce the goals for the coming year. More than 500 people join in this celebration each year as new officers and directors are elected for the coming year and a coveted award is presented to our Downtowner of the Year. The Annual Meeting is also the time to recognize an "unsung hero" with the presentation of the Roy Badgley Distinguished Service Award.

Member Briefings

DNC's quarterly Member Briefings are designed to keep Downtowners in the know. Held on the first Wednesday of each month, members of the Downtown Norfolk Council meet to hear and discuss what is happening in Downtown Norfolk. The briefings start at 8am with a continental breakfast allowing time for networking, and conclude with a program on a topic important to the Downtown community. Programs, speakers and meeting locations vary, but the intent of each meeting is the same - to communicate with our members and allow them to communicate with each other.

International Downtown Association Affiliation

The Downtown Norfolk Council is proud to affiliate with the International Downtown Association (IDA). The International Downtown Association is a world leader of and champion for vital and livable urban centers. Through its network of committed individuals, its rich body of knowledge, and its unique capacity to nurture community-building partnerships, IDA is a guiding force in creating healthy and dynamic centers that anchor the well-being of towns, cities and regions of the world.