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Spring business openings bring regional reinvigoration for Hampton Roads
Spring business openings bring regional reinvigoration for Hampton Roads
An Op-Ed by Bryan K. Stephens, President of Hampton Roads Chamber

Spring is coming to Hampton Roads and as the flowers will be blooming, our economy will be booming. This spring our region will be reinvigorated with new businesses scheduled to open throughout the coming weeks and months.

From hotels and restaurants to living space and retail establishments, Hampton Roads is seeing the seeds of growth planted over the past few years start to sprout. Last summer we encouraged everyone to shift focus and “pivot to the positive.”

With the changing seasons, now is the time to enjoy the exciting new growth.


Norfolk will see the opening of The Waterside District’s restaurants and breweries. The Cordish Companies invested in the Waterside District to create a central gathering place for local residents, visitors, and businesses. The Harbor Club will offer stunning views of the River for private events.

Marathon Development Group is building the Icon at Citywalk apartment complex just across from Waterside. The Icon at Citywalk boasts 275 luxury apartments with high-end features like a rooftop bar and wellness spa that will attract young professionals and business leaders.

The completion of the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside’s renovations combined with the grand opening of The Main, the new downtown Hilton hotel and conference center, will infuse the area with new business. Gold Key/PHR will employ almost 500 people and bring new business to the region with The Main.

In fact, it’s been reported 80 percent of the events already booked at The Main are new to the region. This is a reassuring and an important note. These events have the potential to bring in new and continuing revenue streams to the region. These venues complete the trifecta of downtown Norfolk’s transition into being a truly urban area with walkability between workplaces, living spaces, and entertainment venues.

Additionally, the Norfolk outlet mall set to open in the summer will infuse the entire region with economic impact as an additional tourist attraction for the region.

Virginia Beach will also see growth. Gold Key/PHR will open the restored Cavalier Hotel in the coming months. This grand hotel is expected to generate $41 million to $52 million in new taxes during its first two decades while creating 200 year-round jobs and 330 seasonal positions.

The oceanfront’s first Hyatt-branded hotel will open this spring as well. 27th Street Hotel LLC is investing $50 million in this venture being built by Armada Hoffler that will employ 55 to 75 full-time employees year-round and an additional 50 seasonal employees.

The Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel will also see growth and expansion over the next two years, and we can only imagine the relationship between Portsmouth and Norfolk economies will increase as ferry service is set to expand to meet the demand of the newly redeveloped waterfronts of each city.

Our regional growth isn’t only found along our magnificent waterways, the inland areas of Chesapeake and Suffolk will also see significant economic development in the coming months. In Chesapeake, Dollar Tree will soon undertake a $110-million-dollar expansion to its headquarters in Greenbrier. The next expansion will add an urban “streetscape” with food, retail, parking and possibly a hotel.

In Suffolk, Peet’s Coffee will invest $58 million into an East Coast manufacturing facility. The company is building a 175,000-square-foot roastery in Suffolk that will insure the California-based company will be roasting next to an expanding customer base.

We envision a heightened sense of regionalism and regional cooperation as these influxes of development come to fruition. These investments in our community by so many of our members will drive the economy immediately and will result in a continued scale of growth in our region for years to come.


Add into all this, the economic development growing in Chesapeake and perking in Suffolk, this region is truly poised to blossom.

Hampton Roads is on the cusp of experiencing a revitalization like never seen before. These developments and the economic uptick they can bring could be the tide that raises all ships in Hampton Roads.

The Hampton Roads Chamber means business and we’re committed to being an inspiring ignitor, impactful advocate and powerful economic partner for the region. As such, we encourage you to get out and start reaping the rewards of the work that began years ago.

But as we enjoy the fruits of that labor this spring and summer, we must be mindful of continuing to invest in our region and start planning the next few years of prosperity today.

As the old Chinese proverb goes: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.”

Bryan K. Stephens
President & CEO
Bryan K. Stephens is President & CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber.
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