What Makes Downtown Work?
Downtown Norfolk is the heart of Hampton Roads, and it doesn’t matter if you’re talking about it from a financial, cultural or entertainment point of view. Businesses that move and stay Downtown find themselves more connected, discover daily opportunities for collaboration with like-minded companies and enjoy the proximity to everything that makes this the region’s most desirable destination.
Strategic marketing and branding initiatives are executed to effectively position Downtown as an attractive and competitive place to shop, dine, live, work, do business and be entertained. Research-based decisions on allocation of marketing dollars and messaging ensure targeted and productive campaigns. Downtown Norfolk Council (DNC) has produced some award-winning events such as Restaurant Week, Holidays in the City and the Grand Illumination Parade. Other programs include First Fridays street parties, online mapping, dining guides, recycling, the NEON District, Downtown Employee Appreciation and on-going street activation.
The 2015 Strategic Plan for Downtown identified the next wave of priorities, including reactivating connections to Norfolk’s waterfront, supporting development of the NEON into a flourishing arts district, providing residential amenities, creating green space and advocating for Downtown’s economic development.
DNC’s Public Service and Clean Team Ambassadors are on the streets 360 days a year. They patrol on foot and effortlessly appear to be everywhere at once, greeting festival and cruise ship guests, dispensing information at the mobile kiosk, assisting the Norfolk Police Department and acting as safety escorts. They also serve the Downtown community with daily sidewalk cleanings, weed eradication and other landscape maintenance, graffiti and gum removal and the operation of beloved battery-powered people-mover F.R.E.D. (Free Ride Every Day).
Population and Demographics
- Has 3 million square feet of Class A office space, all within quick access to parking, restaurants and retail.
- A downtown workforce of approximately 28,000 employees
- Convenient access to government agencies and courts
- Average vacancy rate: 19.9%.
- The total assessed value of real estate has risen from $961 million in FY2013 to $1.48 billion in FY2020 (Source: Commissioner of Revenue Sales and Revenue Report FY2020)
- Downtown is home to approximately 6,500 residents.
- $352,700 - median value of owner-occupied dwelling units in Downtown
- 242,742 population (Source: U.S. Census Bureau population estimate 2019)
- Percent of population 25 years and older who are high school graduates - 86.3% (Source: Norfolk.gov/EconomicDevelopment)
- Percent of population 25 years and older who have earned a Bachelor’s Degree - 26.1%
- Percent of population 25 years and older who have earned a Graduate Degree - 9.7%
- Average Household Income of $105,782 in the primary trade area is comfortably higher than the $78,500 median family income for all US households (Source: ESRI Business Analyst)
- Nearly 40% of households in the primary trade area and more than 35% in the secondary trade area annually earn $75,000 and up
Hampton Roads Region:
- 1.729 million population (Source: U.S. Census Bureau population estimate 2018)
A goal of the Downtown Norfolk Council is to make research-based decisions whenever possible. Through bi-annual consumer and worker surveys and through data collected annually by the Commissioner of the Revenue, statistics and trends are tracked and the results become a valuable business tool. Trends are published in our annual report, a copy of which is available below.
- FY22 Annual Update
- FY21 Annual Update
- FY20 Annual Update
- 2017 Downtown Data
- 2014 Downtown Data
- 2012 Downtown Norfolk Progress Report
- 2010 Downtown Norfolk Progress Report
- 2009 Downtown Norfolk Progress Report
- 2008 Investment in Downtown Norfolk Economic and Fiscal Impact
- 2008 Downtown Norfolk Progress Report
- 2007 Downtown Norfolk Growth Report