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Hilton Norfolk at The Main


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My wife just took this photo today.   It's lookin' just like the rendering!

I was here on Saturday for preparations of a wedding and got some shots of the art work, atrium and great views from the 18th floor.  Pics don't do it justice.

This was a partial, aka "soft opening". Many parts of the main don't open officially till this weekend I believe. Saltine was only open at the bar, but the seated dining area is currently closed. All

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I think what is really galling about this project is the heavy city subsidy, the destruction of historically significant buildings and the less than impressive design of the building. It just seems that the city is loosing more of its substance and gaining more plastic uninspiring (sp?) architecture to replace it. I guess I will never really warm up to this project because of the ridiculous subsidy the city is pitching in and the resulting product as displayed by the rendering. Maybe as they refine the project more I along with others may change our minds.

As for incorporating the historical facades into the design, there are many examples of this here in Downtown DC. From the street it is hard to tell that the innards of the buildings have been totally destroyed and rebuilt. This has really helped to keep Downtown DC's historical past (Civil War and late 19th Century buildings) a thriving part of the revitalized Downtown area. The same could have happened with these structures if Norfolk leaders had not been in such a rush to get something built.

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I think what is really galling about this project is the heavy city subsidy, the destruction of historically significant buildings and the less than impressive design of the building. It just seems that the city is loosing more of its substance and gaining more plastic uninspiring (sp?) architecture to replace it.

That's pretty much the issue...

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Okay, I'm aware of that. But that's besides the point. I use the word "article" liberally as it refers to a newspaper. I don't see the harm in that.

Personally, the editorial section of the paper is the only part I respect. The rest is high school journalism IMO.

As for my comments to leva, I'm only talking about people's threats to always "leave town" as if this is the only place this type of thing occurs. I'd rather stay and fight. And I might just do that. I'm tired of historic building being torn down too.

That's pretty much the issue...

Is the subsidy still in effect? If so, is it only for the Convention Center portion? Does that matter? Am I asking too many questions? Did you see the game last night?

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Is the subsidy still in effect? If so, is it only for the Convention Center portion?

Yes, the entire deal is still intact. The only thing that changed is that Johnsons name is no longer on it. Part of that includes 7.5 million just to get the deal signed, completely unrelated to the conference center. The rest is for the conference center.

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I think what is really galling about this project is the heavy city subsidy, the destruction of historically significant buildings and the less than impressive design of the building. It just seems that the city is loosing more of its substance and gaining more plastic uninspiring (sp?) architecture to replace it. I guess I will never really warm up to this project because of the ridiculous subsidy the city is pitching in and the resulting product as displayed by the rendering. Maybe as they refine the project more I along with others may change our minds.

As for incorporating the historical facades into the design, there are many examples of this here in Downtown DC. From the street it is hard to tell that the innards of the buildings have been totally destroyed and rebuilt. This has really helped to keep Downtown DC's historical past (Civil War and late 19th Century buildings) a thriving part of the revitalized Downtown area. The same could have happened with these structures if Norfolk leaders had not been in such a rush to get something built.

The primary difference between this project and DC is the definition of 'historical significance' Here in Norfolk, few buildings exist unfortunately that are historically significant. Simply because a building is old does not make it significant. The Ikon building was not significant. Nor was the Decker or B&B. Yes, they were old. But were they cutting edge architecture designs at their time? (Scope) Were they Federally used in the 1700s? (Old Library, Congressional office now) A former city hall? (MacArthur Memorial) While i certainly do not agree with a wrecking ball mentality, these three buildings have done nothing to deserve the coverage they've received from the Pilot, because they certainly didn't receive it the first 100 years they were around. If someone wants to tear down the leaning tower of Norfolk, i'll protest. The Royster, i'll protest. Scope i'll protest. Union Mission i'll protest. But simple store that opened in 1920? Depends on the reason. Oh, a city convention center and hotel. Reasonable. Again, this project has been announced for three years and it took three years for the NPA to do get discussion started. Far, far, far too late.

And the 'heavy' city subsidy is $7 million, far less than Granby Tower and Fort Norfolk Plaza. In the scheme of things, not as much an issue. I'd argue that a subsidy is unnecessary when the city is donating the land and paying for the convention center, but hotel rooms are certainly in demand, so i understand to a degree the logic. And while the building may not be cutting edge or gorgeous in design, it does fit well with Norfolk and its existing skyline, it will accent rather than detract or stand out. Its what the developer wanted and is paying for. Could it be better? Certainly. But it's not a Bristol or Fort Norfolk.

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The primary difference between this project and DC is the definition of 'historical significance' Here in Norfolk, few buildings exist unfortunately that are historically significant. Simply because a building is old does not make it significant. The Ikon building was not significant. Nor was the Decker or B&B. Yes, they were old. But were they cutting edge architecture designs at their time? (Scope) Were they Federally used in the 1700s? (Old Library, Congressional office now) A former city hall? (MacArthur Memorial) While i certainly do not agree with a wrecking ball mentality, these three buildings have done nothing to deserve the coverage they've received from the Pilot, because they certainly didn't receive it the first 100 years they were around. If someone wants to tear down the leaning tower of Norfolk, i'll protest. The Royster, i'll protest. Scope i'll protest. Union Mission i'll protest. But simple store that opened in 1920? Depends on the reason. Oh, a city convention center and hotel. Reasonable. Again, this project has been announced for three years and it took three years for the NPA to do get discussion started. Far, far, far too late.

And the 'heavy' city subsidy is $7 million, far less than Granby Tower and Fort Norfolk Plaza. In the scheme of things, not as much an issue. I'd argue that a subsidy is unnecessary when the city is donating the land and paying for the convention center, but hotel rooms are certainly in demand, so i understand to a degree the logic. And while the building may not be cutting edge or gorgeous in design, it does fit well with Norfolk and its existing skyline, it will accent rather than detract or stand out. Its what the developer wanted and is paying for. Could it be better? Certainly. But it's not a Bristol or Fort Norfolk.

What made these buildings significant was their former uses as one of Norfolk's first furniture stores (Decker Building) and venerable men's clothing store (Beecroft and Bull). This is history history history that gives Norfolk's Downtown substance and a sense of being a very old city versus a "new" 20th Century city such as Miami or God forbid Va. Beach. A lot of the buildings in Downtown DC whose facades were saved mostly had no historical significance (Save the Ford's theatre), but so much of Civil War and post civil war Washington has been destroyed by poor planning in the 60's and 70's. The city smartly decided in the '80's that certain structures' facades should be saved so future generations can get an idea of what DCs traditional Downtown looked like during the Civil and post-Civil war periods. How many people today get a sense of the Norfolk of yesteryear warts and all. Not the the gleaming skyscrapers but the sailor bars, the merchant marines, the wharfs that use to exist on Main St. the things that made Norfolk such an important seaport and trading center to the nation. This is worth preseving. I hope the Hilton is the last of the projects in the city where they have to obliterate history in order to build uninspiring bland buildings.

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I wish they would save the Decker building, that one always impressed me. Hell I wish Decker never moved out of it, they could of easily fought and not had to move. They don't need that building to make the convention center work.

Decker and Fraim are chums. He claimed to sell at a slight discount to make the Hilton project work for Norfolk. He probably got incentives or hand-shake rezonings on his other properties. Anyway, he wasn't going to fight because he wants to see downtown Norfolk grow and send more customers to his son's D'Egg Diner. In the deal, however, he made sure that the facade of his old office would be saved. It is to be relocated next to the other to-be-preserved historical buildings on Granby. IKON was not deemed to be architecturally significant. I believe the Beecroft & Bull facade was too delicate to move. Decker purchased the Towne Bank building next to the WTC on Main. Now he has more space for his law firm as well as other revenue-generating tenants such as Towne Bank, Taste Unlimited, and Prince Books.

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Decker and Fraim are chums. He claimed to sell at a slight discount to make the Hilton project work for Norfolk. He probably got incentives or hand-shake rezonings on his other properties. Anyway, he wasn't going to fight because he wants to see downtown Norfolk grow and send more customers to his son's D'Egg Diner. In the deal, however, he made sure that the facade of his old office would be saved. It is to be relocated next to the other to-be-preserved historical buildings on Granby. IKON was not deemed to be architecturally significant. I believe the Beecroft & Bull facade was too delicate to move. Decker purchased the Towne Bank building next to the WTC on Main. Now he has more space for his law firm as well as other revenue-generating tenants such as Towne Bank, Taste Unlimited, and Prince Books.

I didn't know he owned the building but knew he moved there (friend is in the firm). Also, are you sure Decker's son owns D'Egg? That would be news to me. Been there a number of times.

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I didn't know he owned the building but knew he moved there (friend is in the firm). Also, are you sure Decker's son owns D'Egg? That would be news to me. Been there a number of times.

Pretty sure. My source signs your friend's pay checks.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Decker Building is the only one of the three left, and there's zero chance of it being stopped. A continual waste of time from the activists.

The Decker building facade is to be saved and moved to Granby Street. The facades of the buildings at Granby near Plume are also supposed to be saved and incorporated into the design. Pete Decker's stipulation in selling his building to Norfolk was that the facade be saved and relocated. This comes from his mouth. IKON and Beecroft & Bull buildings were always slated to be completely demolished including the facades. All this has been reported by the Pilot and reiterated by the City since the Hilton project was begun over two years ago. There has been so much misunderstanding which is why I think the activists only got started in the past few months. The project dragged on for so long thatpeople forgot the underlying facts.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It makes sense to increase the size of the hotel. 250 rooms is not usually sufficient to draw much convention business- at least in a city the size of Norfolk. I'd expect them to retain the Hilton name, as they are not currently represented in downtown Norfolk.

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Great news indeed! I think that things are turing out better than thought. :thumbsup:

Even better for Norfolk taxpayers Regina VK Williams stated in the article that there will be no more subsidies to the developers. This project is "private" which I think strikes the right tone and makes me like this project more than before.

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Even better for Norfolk taxpayers Regina VK Williams stated in the article that there will be no more subsidies to the developers. This project is "private" which I think strikes the right tone and makes me like this project more than before.

She said there will be no more money, and the city is staying out of the negotiation to part ways. They still get the $7.5 million performance grant and the $750,000 for a nice restaurant. It's still public/private.

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