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urbanvb

Growth of Norfolk

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Since I really couldn't find a thread about general growth of the city I thought this may be the time to create a new thread. Perhaps we could build on this one posting as Norfolk emerges as an urban powercenter.

I found an awesome article in this weeks edition of Portfolio Weekly. The article confirms what we have been saying and now studies show "Norfolk is one of 13 fast-growing emerging downtowns and suggests it could become a 'fully developed downtown' along with Manhattan, Chicago and Phildelphia if residential there continues."

Take a look at the article which I scanned here.

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I almost posted the above article in the retail section but after thinking about it the article is less about retail and more about the growth of the city, more about population and numbers and actually less about retail. Having said that, I had been thinking more about the retail component lately especially as construction of housing continues DT. I hope Norfolk heeds the advice of the article and that retail does follow soon before most of the ground floor space is gone. I would imagine the city has thought about this as they have had an urban planner for a few years now helping them grow the city in a healthy way. The city of Alexandria comes to mind as the darling, if you will, of urban retail and housing. I am optimistic that Norfolk is heading in the right direction and I think the best days lie ahead of us. I will post just a few pics here of Alexandria and forgive me if you have seem them as I have probably done so before.

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Old Towne is quite a jewel... it has a certain vibrancy that many cities should try to achieve at street level. With more residents living in downtown Norfolk, it will able to become all the more vibrant. More residents equals a need for more services equals a living, breathing downtown!

Hopefully you don't get yelled at for posting pics that aren't of norfolk in the norfolk section, though I personally appreciate the pictures! It can be kind of touchy around here in regards to that stuff.

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Hopefully you don't get yelled at for posting pics that aren't of norfolk in the norfolk section, though I personally appreciate the pictures! It can be kind of touchy around here in regards to that stuff.

Hopefully not. I was using by way of example of what urban retail could look like for Norfolk. :)

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Great article, guynvb. Thanks for posting it. The article clearly states Norfolk is going in the right direction. However, the article was concerned for Norfolk's lack of retail space outside the mall. With the new farm fresh downtown, retail space on the first floor of Granby Tower, the lack of retail space outside the mall won't be an issue. As soon as 388 Boush Street, HH, Rotunda and other residential developments are completed, we are going to see retail pop-up in every nook and cranny of downtown. Norfolk will be running on 8-cylinders very soon.

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Hopefully this will be the case. What is exciting to me is that Norfolk is on track to becoming a sustaining city. Imagine living in a city where everything is at your fingertips and really no need to drive to retail store, cleaners, and grocery stores. Of course Norfok has a ways to become fully self sustaining but I can see it happening.

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If you like statistics and numbers the Brookings Institute has an interesting article titled Who Lives Downtown which can be found here (PDF file). Page 5 has some interesting charts depicting numerous downtown's populations between 1970-2000. Using control F and plugging in Norfolk will highlight more info on Norfolk.

Norfolk had a 97% increase in its downtown between 1970-2000.

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I don't want to be the one that pours cold water on all of the good news being printed about Downtown Norfolk's growth, but I am somewhat concerned about the trend where wealthy people are pushing out poorer people who toughed it out downtown during the dark days. In the rush to build hyper expensive housing downtown, there should also be a push to set aside some of these condo's for people with moderate incomes. A truly vibrant city has a mixture of races and incomes. Unfortunately the recent Downtown housing boom has benefited the super wealthy.

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I almost posted the above article in the retail section but after thinking about it the article is less about retail and more about the growth of the city, more about population and numbers and actually less about retail. Having said that, I had been thinking more about the retail component lately especially as construction of housing continues DT. I hope Norfolk heeds the advice of the article and that retail does follow soon before most of the ground floor space is gone. I would imagine the city has thought about this as they have had an urban planner for a few years now helping them grow the city in a healthy way. The city of Alexandria comes to mind as the darling, if you will, of urban retail and housing. I am optimistic that Norfolk is heading in the right direction and I think the best days lie ahead of us. I will post just a few pics here of Alexandria and forgive me if you have seem them as I have probably done so before.

I agree totally. I have always said that DT needs to expand away from Granby st. Its great to have residential buildings going up, but every building that goes up should have retail on all ground level floors.

Its pointless to have tons of people living DT with no where to go but the same place every day. It gets old quick.

A perfect example is back on college place, there are tons of little complexes it would be great to see a corner store/resturant/pub on a few of those corners. Thats what all major cities have the DT lacks.

But I do see a Very Bright Light at the end of the tunnel, Norfolk has done a complete 360 and we are heading in the right direction. I see by 2010 Dt will be a totally diffrent DT then we are all use to. I just wish they would hurry it up a bit! :thumbsup:

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I don't want to be the one that pours cold water on all of the good news being printed about Downtown Norfolk's growth, but I am somewhat concerned about the trend where wealthy people are pushing out poorer people who toughed it out downtown during the dark days. In the rush to build hyper expensive housing downtown, there should also be a push to set aside some of these condo's for people with moderate incomes. A truly vibrant city has a mixture of races and incomes. Unfortunately the recent Downtown housing boom has benefited the super wealthy.

I fully agree with this: the condo craze is all about profit, not about wealth redistribution. There's a need for housing for the people who serve you in all of the shops and restaurants, and take care of the buildings and the public facilities. Hopefully we'll see some nice apartment buildings, like the Kotarides development. Hopefully we can get some Section 8 units included in exchange for a density bonus or tax break. With interest rates rising and the condominuim speculation peaking, I think we'll see some opportunities for this kind of development. Perhaps we can tap into some home ownership subsidy programs as well for the condo developments, or mix in some apartments. The best way to plan housing for needy families is to mix them with those who are well off, not segregate them and create low-income people.

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I fully agree with this: the condo craze is all about profit, not about wealth redistribution. There's a need for housing for the people who serve you in all of the shops and restaurants, and take care of the buildings and the public facilities. Hopefully we'll see some nice apartment buildings, like the Kotarides development. Hopefully we can get some Section 8 units included in exchange for a density bonus or tax break. With interest rates rising and the condominuim speculation peaking, I think we'll see some opportunities for this kind of development. Perhaps we can tap into some home ownership subsidy programs as well for the condo developments, or mix in some apartments. The best way to plan housing for needy families is to mix them with those who are well off, not segregate them and create low-income people.

I agree wholeheartedly Padman, but do our city leaders have the political will to implement these strategies. Remember, the wealthy people who are buying these units tend to pay a healthy amount of taxes and require the least amount of services. These are the people most coveted by city leaders today.

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I agree wholeheartedly Padman, but do our city leaders have the political will to implement these strategies. Remember, the wealthy people who are buying these units tend to pay a healthy amount of taxes and require the least amount of services. These are the people most coveted by city leaders today.

I would interested to hear the city's intentions about relocating these low income families. Hopefully they have a plan in place seeing that the whole city is seemingly up for grabs from developers.

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I would interested to hear the city's intentions about relocating these low income families. Hopefully they have a plan in place seeing that the whole city is seemingly up for grabs from developers.

I hope the plan is more than just lip service and words but a REAL plan with funding to accomplish the goal of helping displaced families in the nearby city projects. It is somewhat heartening that the city has bent over backwards to help poor citizens purchase homes in Broadcreek. Here in DC all we hear from the mayor on down is how important it is to preserve affordable housing in the district, but all we get is block after block of condo's starting at 500K. 80% of DC residents are priced out of the housing market. we are not just talking about poor people being able to afford homes in the inner city you are also talking about the middle class being priced out. I hope Norfolk has a much more serious committment to retaining affordable housing.

If you go to the DC forum, I posted a new discussion about renters/tenants purchasing their building and converting them to cooperatives. I am beginning to believe that the only way the working poor and middle class can afford housing in boomtowns is to band together and purchase buildings before the developers move in.

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If you go to the DC forum, I posted a new discussion about renters/tenants purchasing their building and converting them to cooperatives. I am beginning to believe that the only way the working poor and middle class can afford housing in boomtowns is to band together and purchase buildings before the developers move in.

Co-ops are an interesting concept although I am not terribly familiar with them. Sounds like a great idea but everyone has to be on the same page. It is almost like a home owners assocation. If things are running smoothly then great but if not I would imagine it could be a huge headache.

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Co-ops are an interesting concept although I am not terribly familiar with them. Sounds like a great idea but everyone has to be on the same page. It is almost like a home owners assocation. If things are running smoothly then great but if not I would imagine it could be a huge headache.

Cooperatives have been around for a long time in high priced cities like New York. You are right everyone has to be on the same page otherwise they will not be successful. As the article pointed out the tenants first hired a lawyer to help them navigate the endless laws regarding setting up a coorperative.

In general, cooperatives are tenant owned and are usually governed by a elected board whose responsiblities involve developing and approving budgets for the complex, development of general complex rules and policies, and approving any renovations of the complex. Every owner in a cooperative owns shares commiserate (sp?) with the square footage of their individual units. There a benefits and negatives to cooperatives. The benefits are the units tend to be cheaper than market rate condominiums, the negative is that owners have many more hurdles to jump to get renovations done to thier units. Also cooperative fees tend to be higher than condominiums, but they tend to cover more services. Well in a nutshell this is what a cooperative is. I would have to do more research to fully understand the statutes and laws governing the establishment of cooperatives.

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I don't think there should be section 8 DT. What happened to having to earn what you get. Why should someone that doesn't put in 16 hours a day live in and have the same type of condo. I don't think this is fair to someone that had to put the time in to get what they earn. I don't mind helping but I don't think thats fair. This is a capitalist society not a socialist. Spend the money to educate the people to earn what they have instead of handing it over to on a silver platter when you don't earn it. People don't take care of something they don't earn. Its a fact. Most of DT living is cause they work DT. I do believe we need to help but they must find a way that they can earn it with community service or working for the city that they do live in. This isn't a socialist govt. and I don't want to turn into the next Soviet Union.

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I don't mind going out of our way with our tax dollars to educate people. I guess the reason I'm so angry about this is growing up all I heard was learning how to play the system. My family sometimes didn't have water cause we couldn't afford to keep it on. But we couldn't get any assistance because we were white. I think we are teaching people to not want to grow and educate themselves but to ride a broken system. I think if we do assist someone, unless they are incapable of working ie disabled or mentally handicapped, they should be required to give time back to the tax payers that helped support them. I think this will instill the desire to move up and not play this broken system. I bet more people will want to get a education if we did this.

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I don't think there should be section 8 DT. What happened to having to earn what you get. Why should someone that doesn't put in 16 hours a day live in and have the same type of condo. I don't think this is fair to someone that had to put the time in to get what they earn. I don't mind helping but I don't think thats fair. This is a capitalist society not a socialist. Spend the money to educate the people to earn what they have instead of handing it over to on a silver platter when you don't earn it. People don't take care of something they don't earn. Its a fact. Most of DT living is cause they work DT. I do believe we need to help but they must find a way that they can earn it with community service or working for the city that they do live in. This isn't a socialist govt. and I don't want to turn into the next Soviet Union.

I also believe the same applies to corporations and many weathy people who game the system for their advantage. With all ot these lavish tax cuts that are benefiting the wealthiest amongst us, why not have these same corporate executives earn their corporate welfare by doing community service or working for the city?

I agree that section 8 is not the way to go. I do believe that cities have the obligation to do whatever is in their power to make sure that all of their citizens have a roof over their head. One way is to get developers to set aside a certain number of their units for working class and middle class folks. This housing crunch is not just affecting the poor it is also affecting the middle class and working poor whom often work 16 hour days just to keep a roof over their heads.

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Co-ops are an interesting concept although I am not terribly familiar with them. Sounds like a great idea but everyone has to be on the same page. It is almost like a home owners assocation. If things are running smoothly then great but if not I would imagine it could be a huge headache.

I think that is correct. The problem that I've seen with most cooperatives is in the area of management. You get conflicting egos or just plain old ineptness. That's why I have a bit more faith in direct rental subsidies. That way you might yield management rights to capitalist practice, but at least it works. Maybe someone could invent a kind of quasi-cooperative ownership pool with"leaseholds" that could be transferable when desired.

As far as government aid goes, Section 8 was a very deep subsidy that could only be helpful to a few people. I think that we may need a more modest program along the same lines that reaches more people.

You Section 8 detractors have some valid points about the basic unfairness of socialist (or dare I say Christian) principles, but if you look around you a bit you'll see what an unfair world it really is. Take a class in Urban Sociology or review a basic Judea-Christian principles and you might see that it's a pretty complex issue. Justice and even-handedness are fine, but I'll take mercy and understanding over them unless I have no choice.

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I do believe that cities have the obligation to do whatever is in their power to make sure that all of their citizens have a roof over their head. One way is to get developers to set aside a certain number of their units for working class and middle class folks. This housing crunch is not just affecting the poor it is also affecting the middle class and working poor whom often work 16 hour days just to keep a roof over their heads.

Agreed. It's not just people milking welfare or sitting at home everyday that have trouble affording adequate housing. There are some jobs that are just as worthy as a corp. exec (teachers, firefighters, nurses, police officers, just to name a few). However, these same noble people get priced out of many markets (and it may become true for downtown Norfolk as well). The only real solution is to ask developers to set aside affordable housing in some areas, so that these hardworking people don't end up in a shanty town somewhere. That's not giving a handout or using your tax dollars unfairly (because really, there are little or no taxes being used in the first place). It's giving people choices on where to live in an age where the cost of living is exponentially outpacing wage increases.

and I'm pretty sure that by giving firefighters and nurses and teachers an opportunity to live downtown, Norfolk still won't become a micro Soviet Union. So rest assured comrad! :D

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I truely believe that for public servants they should help them. They help the community everyday. I wasn't directing it to them but DT is typically for the wealthy and also those companies that get those tax breaks also hire alot of people. I think we should all pay our fair share. I support the fair tax act but that will never happen. You get taxed on what you spend, especially on luxury things. I'm for less govt.

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I don't think there should be section 8 DT. What happened to having to earn what you get. Why should someone that doesn't put in 16 hours a day live in and have the same type of condo. I don't think this is fair to someone that had to put the time in to get what they earn. I don't mind helping but I don't think thats fair. This is a capitalist society not a socialist. Spend the money to educate the people to earn what they have instead of handing it over to on a silver platter when you don't earn it. People don't take care of something they don't earn. Its a fact. Most of DT living is cause they work DT. I do believe we need to help but they must find a way that they can earn it with community service or working for the city that they do live in. This isn't a socialist govt. and I don't want to turn into the next Soviet Union.

I live DT and do not work 16 hours a day. I think that the majority of people who do work this many hours are probably doing so bc they have jobs that force them to do so (by paying them too little). A lot of poor people have disbilities or they are children/elderly.

I don't think Section 8 is socialism. It's kind of like my membership at the YMCA. I pay full price bc I am able to afford it. Other people do not pay full price but I am not going to begrudge them something that should be a right. Housing is not a luxury. Living in an area where you are not afraid should not be a luxury. Section 8 is not public housing, it is an assistance program to suppliment rent fees. Free public housing is a huge mistake. Giving someone a helping hand seems to me to be a fair thing to do.

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I never said that helping someone is wrong. I guess you guys miss understood me. I'm tired of people playing the system and crying for more free stuff. Education is the help that we need to give them. I understand that there is going to be people who just can't help themselves and its our duty as human beings to help them but some people see it prospurous to be lazy.

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I never said that helping someone is wrong. I guess you guys miss understood me. I'm tired of people playing the system and crying for more free stuff. Education is the help that we need to give them. I understand that there is going to be people who just can't help themselves and its our duty as human beings to help them but some people see it prospurous to be lazy.

Yes Russ, there are people who will always use the system inappropriately. Poor people do not have a monopoly on this. Many corporations, senators, and congressmen (Duke Cunningham (R-California) game the system to get free stuff.

What I am talking about is what type of Downtown should we have in the future. Downtown Norfolk is still in the early stages of massive redevelopment and has the potential to get it right. Right to me is a thriving downtown with a mixture of races, incomes and religions. I truly believe that the city is doing all it can to ensure that some of the housing units going up in and around downtown are set aside for the working poor residents who have called that area home for decades. Many of these people whom I was aquainted with when I lived down there were hard working people who brought stability to their community. In the rush to up-scale everything it just does not strike me as either fair or prudent to push these people out who have called the Downtown area home during the dark days of boarded up stores on Granby St.

DC, Boston and San Francisco have now found out too late how important it is to preserve affordable housing . DC for example for the last 5 years has seen property values sky rocket as high at 50% in some neighborhoods. Now after all of this dizzying price hikes the city is just now talking about setting aside new residential units for moderate income families. The few developments that have been turned into mixed income neighborhoods have worked out spectacularly. Thank goodness Norfolk understands the value of mixed income neighborhoods at least for the areas surrounding Downtown. As for downtown itself, there seems to be no mention of setting aside some units for people with moderate incomes. I feel that this is big mistake. You end up with racial, and economic polarization. This makes a city look bad in the long run.

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