Norfolk new full report Downtown Norfolk

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Norfolk new full report Downtown Norfolk Powered By Docstoc

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I. Executive Summary
In June, 2009, Downtown Works, LLC completed a retail market evaluation of Downtown
Norfolk, culminating in a merchandise mix plan for streetfront retail space. Our firm:
      •   assessed market support, the distribution of downtown retail streetfront space, and
          supportable square footage;
      •   interviewed key stakeholders;
      •   considered merchandising implications and “big box” development;
      •   developed a Merchandise Mix Plan and target retail recruitment guidelines; and
      •   recommended a retail recruiter be retained and trained.

Market Support
The necessary elements for Downtown Norfolk’s retail transformation appear to be in place
- the area possesses both enough space and market support to proceed with e orts to
develop a well-merchandised downtown environment:
  •   Target Market: Norfolk has a large population of key downtown shopping
      “psychographic” groups that constitute a willing target market.
  • Building Stock:   Downtown boasts an inventory of attractive buildings suitable for the
      kinds of unique retail operators that make urban areas thrive.
  • Shopper Tra     c: Downtown’s MacArthur Center is a strong regional mall o ering
      numerous “unique-to-market” retailers (including the region’s only Nordstrom) that
      attracts shoppers from throughout the region. Downtown Norfolk may have to educate
      people about certain parts of downtown, but there is no need to teach area residents
      how to get there - they are already coming, even if only to shop at the mall.
  • Downtown Residents:        A small but growing population of residents lives in downtown
      itself or in neighborhoods located near enough to make them loyal customers. These
      residents, though small in number, comprise an important market; their attitudes,
      lifestyles and taste levels inform the appropriate mix for Downtown Norfolk’s retail
      district. They are sophisticated, well-educated, urbane and a uent, and they will
      influence the development of a merchandising mix that will appeal to many
  • Workers:     There are 30,000 downtown workers. Virtually a captive market, workers
      have the potential to spend nearly $173 million downtown on week- days and nights.
      This is not a particularly large market compared with other major cities, but the
      expenditure potential nevertheless is considerable. The downtown workforce is highly
      educated, well-salaried and has discerning taste - a retail/restaurant mix that can
      satisfy this market will also attract suburban residents.
  • Cultural and Visitor Market:
           Downtown contains an array of visitor and cultural venues: museums, concert halls,
           a sports arena, a nearby baseball stadium, theaters and nightclubs along with a
           convention facility. These bring patrons - both locals and out-of-towners -
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       The visitor market, while important to downtown retail and restaurant sales,
       contributes less to sales than either trade area residents or downtown workers.
       Visitors overall tend to produce greater demand for food and beverage than for
       traditional retail, but tourists (as opposed to convention delegates and business
       travelers) like to shop at retail stores.
The challenge to Norfolk’s retail transformation does not lie in the size of the market - the
trade area population is large enough to provide ample sales support. Downtown’s retail
and restaurant operators must capitalize on this by maximizing their attraction to suburban
residents living within the trade area.
The area is divided into Primary and Secondary Trade Areas:
  • Primary Trade Area (PTA): This encompasses the south side of Hampton Roads -
    Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Su olk. Downtown is well located
    at the heart of this, accessible by a comprehensive network of freeways, bridges and
    tunnels. Given the proper motivation, shoppers living throughout this area can be relied
    upon to support downtown retailing and restaurants.
       1.1 million people living in 418,000 households are in the PTA. The population
       continues to grow, with the strongest gains occurring in the suburbs. Total growth
       since 2000 is 7.5%.
       By 2013 the population will increase to 1.2 million, a projected gain of 48,000
       Average household incomes of $67,000 enable the trade area to generate $7.1
       billion in expenditure potential; this is projected to increase by $234 million per year.
  • Secondary Trade Area (STA): This consists of The Peninsula. Sales support from the
    STA, while markedly below that of the PTA, is nonetheless substantial. As noted earlier,
    MacArthur Center’s presence is a significant attractor to Peninsula residents.
       526,000 people living in 202,000 household are in the STA. Population growth is
       rapid as these suburbs continue attracting new residential development; growth
       since 2000 is 7.4%.
       By 2013 the population is projected to increase by another 33,000 people to
       Incomes are comparable to those in the PTA; the average household income is
       $68,000, yielding expenditure potential of $3.5 billion. This figure is projected to
       increase by $153 million annually over the next five years.
  • Total Trade Area: Combining the PTA and STA leads to a total trade area population of
    nearly 1.7 million people living in 620,000 households. The population is growing and
    is projected to exceed 1.7 million people by 2013. This population, comprising
    Downtown’s residential market, generates $10.6 billion in expenditure potential.
    Household and income growth will allow this expenditure level to increase by $387
    million annually.

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Greater Norfolk enjoys a population with a large percentage of people who not only have the
incomes to shop downtown, but who also are inclined to do so by virtue of their attitudes,
temperaments, and lifestyles.
The psychographic profile of the market shows that over 66% of the households in the
combined PTA and STA consist of these kinds of people - they are downtown’s target
market, totaling 1.1 million people, or 410,000 households. Within just the PTA, nearly 70%
of the households fall within the target market - downtown can certainly capitalize on this.

Downtown Retail - Current
There are successful retail shops downtown, but nearly all of them are in MacArthur Center.
The remainder of Downtown Norfolk – the streetfront retail district - has ceased to be a
major retail destination. On the other hand, downtown’s restaurants include several that are
known throughout the region. MacArthur Center excluded, downtown’s restaurants are
much stronger than its retail shops - they have done much in recent years to shape
downtown’s image and influence its regional draw; as a group they provide more for
Downtown Norfolk to build upon than do the retail shops.
  • MacArthur Center: This is the major retail attractor in Downtown Norfolk. Anchored by
    Nordstrom and Dillard’s, its tenant mix includes many operators found nowhere else in
    Hampton Roads. This uniqueness is critical to the mall’s appeal and central to its long-
    term success; as long as it continues to di erentiate itself from the suburban malls it
    will draw the all-important suburban resident downtown.
       The Center provides downtown with some challenges; to date, little streetfront
       leasing has occurred solely due to its presence. When prominent retailers have
       sought space downtown they have favored MacArthur over the streetfront when
       evaluating locations.
       Like other malls, MacArthur is inward facing. Shoppers enter the mall and show little
       inclination to see what the rest of Downtown Norfolk has to o er (although currently
       there are few streetfront retailers to induce mall shoppers to venture outside). As
       downtown’s merchandise and restaurant mix improves this issue will diminish.
  • Granby Street: Granby is the retail spine of Downtown Norfolk. This is especially true of
    the stretch lying between Main Street and Brambleton Avenue.
       There is the potential to extend the Granby Street retail district north to Virginia
       Beach Boulevard.
       Between Charlotte Street and Brambleton Avenue the dormant Granby Tower appears
       a likely candidate for revival in the hands of another developer.
       In the four blocks north of Brambleton, the opportunity exists to build on the area’s
       emerging reputation for funkiness and as a location for home furnishings stores,
       provided necessary changes are made to the zoning ordinance.

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Downtown Streetfront Retail Space Distribution
We estimated the amount of streetfront space in Downtown Norfolk based upon tax map
data, GIS information provided by the City of Norfolk, and field observation. Figures do not
include interior spaces, primarily MacArthur Center, Waterside, and the Arcades. Vacancies
and non-retail uses only reflect the areas that are currently retail blocks. Thus, for example,
we do not include non-retail cross streets like Olney Road or St. Paul’s Boulevard. Our
inventory also does not include large o ce structures like the Federal Building and the
Courthouse. All figures are rounded to the nearest thousand.

  • Current amount of all (whether occupied or vacant; both retail/restaurant and non-
    retail) leasable streetfront square footage: 639,000 square feet.
       Total amount of occupied retail and restaurant space: 289,000 square feet.
         - Total occupied non-restaurant retail space: 168,000 square feet (including the
           Market at Harbor Heights and several large furniture stores north of Brambleton).
         - Total occupied restaurant space: 121,000 square feet.

       Total occupied non-retail space: 193,000 square feet.
       Total vacant space (regardless of apparent previous use): 157,000 square feet.
  • Distribution of streetfront square footage:
       Occupied retail (non-restaurant) space: 27%.
       Occupied restaurant space: 19%.
       Occupied non-retail space: 30%.
       Vacant space: 25%.
       (Total does not equal 100% due to rounding.)

  • Combined percentage of non-retail and vacant space: 55% (this is very high).

Supportable Square Footage
Supportable square footage is based upon an average performance level of $400 per square
foot, a reasonable expectation of successful retail and restaurant operators. In coming
years, this performance level will be even more achievable than it is today.
  • Trade Area Residents:
    The 1.1 million residents of Downtown Norfolk’s Primary Trade Area (PTA) generate
    $7.1 billion in expenditure potential today. Target achievable capture rate: 3.5% of the
    expenditure potential, or $249 million today in downtown volume.
    The 536,000 Secondary Trade Area (STA) households generate $3.5 billion in potential.
    Target achievable capture rate: 1.0%, or $35 million in volume.
       Combined PTA and STA volume: $284 million. At $400 per square foot, this volume
       results in 710,000 sq. ft. of leasable space supportable by trade area residents.

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  • Downtown Workers: The 30,000 white-collar workers presently employed downtown
    each spends $480 per month on retail and restaurant purchases. Annual total: $173
       At $400 per square foot, this volume would support 446,000 square feet of leasable
  • Visitors: Visitor-based sales are di cult to project due to the e ects of future
    economic trends, weather, changing tastes and the nature of activities/events scheduled
    by Norfolk’s (and competitive cities’) major attractions. As such, except for the areas
    immediately surrounding the visitor attractions, downtown retail revitalization should
    not be based upon visitor trade, as it will be “icing on the cake” downtown. Visitors like
    to go where the locals go - appeal to trade area residents and visitors will follow their
     A commonly-used approach to visitor-based sales is to define such sales as inflow. A
     conservative inflow figure is 15% of total inflow factor typically experienced by most
     successful retail centers and districts. Since the total volume currently projected as
     achievable downtown is $457 million for downtown workers and trade area residents,
     the implied volume achievable from the visitor market is $81 million.
       With performance levels at $400 per square foot, this translates into 201,000 square
       feet of supportable space attributable to visitors.
  • Total Sales Volume and Supportable Square Footage:
       Total current achievable sales volume (for trade area resident, downtown worker and
       visitors market segments): $538 million.
       This is a healthy sales volume, but not unreasonable given the presence of a top-tier
       regional mall downtown and a robust streetfront retail district.
       At $400 per square foot, the achievable sales volume allows for 1.36 million square
       feet of supportable leasable space.
       Netting out MacArthur Center, this leaves su cient demand to support 426,000
       square feet of streetfront square footage today. Market growth will bring this figure
       up to 640,000 square feet of streetfront space in five years.
Today there is approximately 289,000 square feet of occupied retail and restaurant space in
Downtown Norfolk, meaning there is unmet demand su cient to support 137,000 square
feet of additional street retail/restaurant space. With 157,000 square feet of vacant space,
there is ample room to accommodate the demanded space. Excess supply is a mere 20,000
square feet when considering occupied retail/restaurant space plus vacant space.
There also is a large amount of non-retail space: 193,000 square feet overall. It is important
to bear in mind that some of this space will be found unsuitable for retail or restaurant use,
or it may simply be unavailable. Some of Tidewater Community College’s (TCC) buildings,
for instance, will not be available for conversion to retail or restaurant space. Implied excess
supply: 213,000 square feet.

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  • Critical Element of Supportable Square Footage: Market growth will be su cient to
    support 36,000 square feet of additional retail space annually over the next five years,
    or 178,000 square feet of additional space in total. At that time the implied excess
    supply would be only 36,000 square feet, and this assumes all the non-retail space can
    be converted to retail/restaurant space and that all vacant space is leased.
  • Key Finding: there is a need for more retail and restaurant operators downtown right
    now, and there is enough space to satisfy this demand using vacant space, non-retail
    space that can be converted, and the Wells Fargo Center. No other major projects need
    to be introduced to satisfy the need for more space.
    The amount of space that either already is occupied by retail/restaurant uses or is
    vacant is in a state of equilibrium today. Non-retail space that can be converted, along
    with the Wells Fargo space, can absorb the demand that will accrue from simple market
    It is altogether possible that as downtown retail becomes stronger the projected capture
    rates may prove to be too small, and that greater capture rates will be possible.

Stakeholder Interviews
We spoke with numerous stakeholders in the course of this study: retailers, brokers,
downtown residents, downtown workers, representatives of cultural venues, o cials
promoting Norfolk tourism. All had great interest in Downtown’s retail transformation and
expressed enthusiasm about downtown as a retail and restaurant area, its progress to date,
and its outlook.
We encountered some common threads in our stakeholder interviews:
  • Retail connectivity is important; cluster similar and complementary uses.
  • Parking is more of a perceived than an actual problem.
  • The same is true of safety.
  • MacArthur Center is a strong plus for downtown.
  • The number of restaurants is another plus.
  • Evening business can be di cult.
  • The number of night spots is an issue.
All voiced confidence that Downtown Norfolk can be a successful retail location.

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Merchandising Implications
 • Space: Fill the space you already have. There is enough space currently available,
   including Wells Fargo, to absorb excess supply for the next five years. There is much
   vacant space downtown and space currently occupied by non-retail uses that could be
   converted to retail; there’s also considerable space not leased to the highest and best
   uses. There are some infill opportunities, but these need not be pursued immediately.
   However, if there is an opportunity to develop infill projects where parking lots or vacant
   lots exist, it is fine to pursue this. Such projects will reduce gaps in the streetwall -
   these are not good for retail as they discourage the kind of walkable streets we are
   trying to achieve.
 • Uses: Place the metropolitan area’s highest and best uses in downtown spaces. For
   downtown to succeed as a retail district it must attract suburban residents. To do this
   the selection and quality of shops and restaurants must be capable of luring them
   downtown. Businesses must be unique (not found anywhere else in Norfolk), intriguing,
   well run, and eye-catching; o er excellent customer service; and be capable of
   generating repeat business. Downtown shoppers seek an experience with stores they
   cannot find in the suburbs.
      Focus on independent operators: Great retail streets are characterized by unique,
      one-of-a-kind independent retailers that are entrepreneurial, inventive, creative, and
      nearly always not found anywhere else.
      Chains should be unique to market: There are some chains that will do well in a
      downtown setting. Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters are examples of such chains,
      as they will place one, or at most two, stores in a market. This serves our goal of
      making downtown unique.
 • Design Standards: Store design is important. The City and the Downtown Norfolk
   Council can and should develop e ective design and sign guidelines and make them
   enforceable. Storefronts, window displays, maintenance, signage - all work together to
   create a favorable impression. The goal is to attract people and keep them as loyal
   shoppers and diners, and the target market has discriminating tastes. Also, ground
   level retail should be placed in parking garages where feasible.
 • Light Rail: This can be an asset although we have not known it to be of “make-or-
   break” importance to retailers when seeking new locations. It will focus attention on
   several important corridors and nodes.
 • Landscaping: Landscaping downtown streets is a great idea, but clean, safe and busy
   streets are more important to retailers than plantings. Delay spending on extensive
   plantings until retailers have moved in - they won’t be much of a factor in influencing
   locational decisions, and the money can be used more e ectively on incentives.
 • Marketing: Norfolk is a great city, and it should sell itself more e ectively. We believe
   some retailers have not yet located here because they do not understand how good of a
   market it is. Marketing also will be needed to attract shoppers downtown. It is
   important to create the necessary “buzz” about the city in general and downtown
   specifically through local marketing and advertising that positions it as innovative,
   inventive, entrepreneurial, unique, diverse, and fun.

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Big Box Development
Firstly, in Downtown Norfolk’s case we are not recommending the very large “big box” stores
like Target, Costco, Best Buy or Walmart. More appropriate are the large-format stores like
Crate & Barrel or DSW. These provide more of a “lifestyle” emphasis as opposed to a mass-
market emphasis, and lifestyle retailing will help set Downtown Norfolk apart.
With this understanding, there has been some interest expressed in Downtown Norfolk as a
big-box location. In order for the area to benefit from them, the stores must be cannily
located and must represent the very best “cherry picked” uses available. Operations like the
aforementioned Crate & Barrel or DSW are suitable. Only these types of stores will
significantly help leasing e orts in downtown - ubiquitous chains operating multiple stores
in Hampton Roads will not.
If this strategy is pursued, existing retail space should not be razed to accommodate them.
This would fragment the retail street and undermine the opportunity to create a walkable
environment. The area around Wells Fargo and MacArthur Center’s “third pad” site is the
best location for these uses.
It is unlikely the area can accommodate more than a handful of big boxes. As already
emphasized, Downtown Norfolk will succeed to the extent it can be unique, exciting,
innovative, and authentic. Filling the area with big boxes, which are already so widespread
in the suburbs, will fail to achieve this goal.

Merchandise Mix Plan
Critical to the success of any downtown is having complementary, symbiotic uses. Relying
upon careful evaluation of market data, competitive circumstances, information gleaned
from stakeholder interviews, and a qualitative assessment of existing operators, we
developed a Merchandise Mix Plan for Downtown Norfolk that represents the highest and
best use for the area.
The Merchandise Mix Plan considers and/or recommends the following:
  • Downtown is where a city innovates.
  • The location of existing retail, including MacArthur Center; tie-in with this is important.
  • Cultural institutions.
  • Diversity.
  • Street-oriented retail is the focus – it is the inherent design and nature of downtowns.
  • Focus on corner locations where possible; these have great visibility and help elevate the
    entire block’s image.
  • Fill existing vacancies.

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• We rely upon “Focus Areas”:
    Granby Street (south of Brambleton) is the most logical place to begin. Given the
    amount of vacant space and non-retail space, it also has significant inventory
    available for the types of retail and restaurant uses that will make downtown unique
    and vital.
    Granby is a very important area for retail revitalization, but if leasing candidates wish
    to locate elsewhere downtown they should be encouraged to do so. The goal is to fill
    the area will unique retail, and we do not want to impede this progress.
• Examination of four identified focus areas:
  1. Granby Street south of Brambleton Avenue, and cross streets: Here, in Norfolk’s
     historic retail hub, the architecturally appropriate buildings of Norfolk are
     concentrated. It makes no sense to begin the city’s retail transformation anywhere
     other than Granby Street. The bulk of the restaurant space already is located here
     and generates attention and tra c. Several large single-loaded stretches (e.g., the
     Federal Building) exist, but these cannot be helped and in any case their presence is
     not fatal to the plan. We simply have to work around them and make the stretches
     that much more interesting and compelling.
    Market Street provides a splendid connector between Granby and MacArthur Center,
    located just one block away. Not only can the street be well merchandised –
    especially if TCC’s street-level can be converted to retail - but it provides excellent
    site lines between the center’s main entrance and Granby, enticing shoppers to use
    Market to reach Granby. We must make this area great; converting it to a two-way
    street will help.
    Merchandise mix:                                              Restaurants:
      • Men’s and Women’s’ casual and career wear                  • Italian
      • Outdoor/sports apparel                                     • American/California cuisine
      • Fashion jewelry (not guild)                                • Wood-fired pizza
      • Shoes                                                      • Bakery/café
      • Handbags and other fashion accessories                     • French bistro
      • Home furnishings                                           • Mediterranean/Greek
      • Gifts                                                      • BBQ
      • Paper, stationery, cards
      • Cosmetics and beauty
     This is an area that is attractive and thus can begin making suitable leasing deals
     immediately. It should be easier to lease areas located closest to Market Street, but
     there will be interest in other blocks as well.

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2. Monticello Avenue: This street will first begin to gel in the area between Wells Fargo
   Center and MacArthur Center on the east side of the street. It includes MacArthur
   Center’s “third pad” site. This will be an excellent location for streetfront-oriented
   retail and will connect the mall with Wells Fargo.
   This is a suitable area for operators needing to be close to the mall but which are not
   appropriate for an interior mall location. Some specialty chains will work here better
   than they would on Granby. Smaller big boxes can work here providing they are
   unique-to-market. Crate & Barrel will work here; Target or Best Buy will not.
   Large users like a new format pharmacy (Walgreens, CVS) are suitable uses, including
   in the Wells Fargo Center itself. Such a use is needed downtown and it is best to
   locate it in an established (in this case newly-established) retail district that people
   can get to.
   Blank-walls located on the west side of the street should be addressed over time.
   Increased vigor on the east side of the street will spur interest for space on the west
   side for retail or restaurant uses. This should go south to Tazewell where space can
   be made available. It is likely some dead spaces will remain in place indefinitely.
   This work will extend over a longer period of time. Focus on more readily-available
   spaces first.
   The light rail will carry passengers along Monticello, adding activity to the street. As
   designed, the light rail will enable pedestrians to cross Monticello easily, pre-
   empting a potential conflict that could hurt leasing e orts.
3. North of Brambleton: This is an interesting area. Marked by many buildings that are
   underutilized or vacant, there is enough distance between this area and the “main”
   section of Granby Street to the south to give it its own identity. It presents the logical
   place to focus on funky and hip retailing. The emphasis should be on home
   furnishings and other uses related to the home. The building sizes lend themselves
   well to this type of retail, providing footprints that would be prohibitively expensive if
   located south of Brambleton. Home furnishings stores already are located here,
   although not all of them are aimed at the target market.
   The focus should be on developing contiguous spaces first. Dead zones are an issue,
   but there is enough inventory of existing space to focus initial attention here. Vacant
   lots can be used for parking; infill development likely will wait.
   Zoning regulations are a hindrance to development and business ventures. The City
   is aware of the issue and conversations are underway to remedy it.
   Brambleton Avenue presents a significant barrier to pedestrian flow; this must be
   addressed to unify the two sections of Granby.
   Merchandise mix:
    •   Furniture
    •   Home accessories
    •   Gifts
    •   Design showrooms (flooring, fixtures, lighting)
    •   Art galleries
    •   Appliances (such as Viking or Bosch)
    •    Urban hardware/paint
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3. North of Brambleton: This is an interesting area. Marked by many buildings that are
   underutilized or vacant, there is enough distance between this area and the “main”
   section of Granby Street to the south to give it its own identity. It presents a logical
   place to focus on funky and hip retailing. The emphasis should be on home
   furnishings and other uses related to the home. The building sizes lend themselves
   well to this type of retail, providing footprints that would be prohibitively expensive if
   located south of Brambleton. Home furnishings stores already are located here,
   although not all of them are aimed at the target market.
  The focus should be on developing contiguous spaces first. Dead zones are an issue,
  but there is enough inventory of existing space to focus initial attention here. Vacant
  lots can be used for parking; infill development likely will wait.
  Zoning regulations are a hindrance to development and business ventures. The City
  is aware of the issue and conversations are underway to remedy it.
  Brambleton Avenue presents a significant barrier to pedestrian flow; this must be
  addressed to unify the two sections of Granby.
  Merchandise mix:
    •   Furniture
    •   Home accessories
    •   Gifts
    •   Design showrooms (flooring, fixtures, lighting)
    •   Art galleries
    •   Appliances (such as Viking or Bosch)
    •   Urban hardware/paint
4. Main Street and Plume Street: This area extends from Boush Street to St. Paul’s
   Boulevard and also includes City Hall Avenue. The architecture here is institutional,
   and for the most part storefronts are neither retail-friendly nor shopper-friendly.
   The Arcades have their place in the mix, while artisans and art galleries have found a
   home here - there may be opportunities to place some of these uses near the
   entrances on the streetfronts.
  This area will not be a major retail play. There is little in the way of conventional
  retail here, and most restaurants are of the fast-food or casual variety. Uses that
  serve the nearby o ce population should be the focus, including food, personal
  services and business services; these will also appeal to corporate/business
  convention travelers. Much of the uses will be 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  The area is marked by a significant presence of large space users, single-loaded
  blocks, and dead zones. Much of this space will never be good retail space and
  should be left alone as far as remerchandising is concerned.
  Finally, good retailers that want to locate here should not be discouraged from doing

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     Merchandise mix:
       •   Quick-service food and places to eat lunch
       •   Convenience uses
       •   Florist
       •   O ce supplies
       •   Art supplies – build o of the existing Arcades
       •   Consumer and business services – hair, nails, dry cleaners, printing, computer
           repair, pack and ship, tailor and alterations, shoe repair
     Design recommendation for this area:         Redesign storefronts, eliminating setbacks,
     columns, overhangs, etc.
• Other Merchandise Mix Plan considerations/recommendations:
       • Downtown does not have many nail salons, convenience stores or electronics
         stores, and it does not need many of them.
       • The restaurant scene is active but some categories are missing and not all
         restaurant operators share the same level of expertise.
       • Fast food can work near o ces, but not in prime retail locations.
       • Secondary streets are better locations for services and quick service food.
       • Downtown needs greater retail diversity, as described previously.
       • One can recruit almost anything downtown, but we must stay true to the goal of
         making the area’s mix unique and thus attractive to suburban residents.
       • Place stores side-by-side wherever possible. Contiguous retail is needed to make
         a street work. Concentrating stores in one section makes a location work as an
         anchor. This includes reducing the amount of non-retail uses that interrupt the
         connections of retail and restaurants with one another, especially on the primary
         retail streets.
       • Corners are very important locations. They are highly visible and set the tone for
         the adjacent areas.
       • Design guidelines are important. Storefronts should be di erentiated one from
         another, giving them a unique identity and providing the streetfronts with a sense
         of diversity, excitement and interest.
       • Well-executed, creative window displays also build excitement and interest.
       • Future o ce and residential towers developed in one of the identified focus areas
         should lease ground level space to retail.
       • Avoid developing additional interior spaces, arcades and the like - retail and
         restaurants should face the street.

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  • Distinctiveness: Downtown shops and restaurants should be as varied and individual as
    the people operating them. Diversity and innovation are key, and so chains found in the
    suburbs are out of place here. The focus should be on assembling a unique collection
    of local, regional and national (carefully chosen) stores, with independent operators as
    the priority.
  • Execution: Merchandise can be varied - chic, classic, natural - but it must be well-
  • Price: Quality will always be important, but that does not mean the merchandise must
    be expensive. Price is not the deciding factor when recruiting retailers or restaurateurs
    for downtown locations. Taste, creativity, design, display and great sales sta are the
    key elements.
  • Signage: Signage must be succinct, colorful and appropriate for the storefront.
  • Displays: Window displays should be changed frequently to generate shopper interest.

A qualified, well-trained recruiter is essential to transforming downtown retail. As salaried
sta , recruiters are not deal driven - they are focused on adhering to the merchandise mix
plan by serving as a “match-maker” between appropriate prospective tenants and landlords.
Rather than “selling” downtown to prospects, recruiters build relationships; they seek out
unique operators, take time to understand them and their business, and help them
determine how their store or restaurant might dovetail with the vision for downtown retail.
Recruiters work particularly hard to ensure that each deal leverages the next - in the early
stages the process is not swift, but by facilitating the right deals momentum begins to build.
Key aspects of the retail recruiter’s role:
  • The recruiter represents all properties in the BID. The goal is to bring viable prospects to
    landlords or real estate representatives - they are the ones who make the deals. This
    process ensures that great prospects are not lost or overlooked.
  • Recruiters work with the involved municipal agencies to facilitate getting businesses up
    and running, a valuable service for operators. They also investigate incentives and
    grants for prospective retailers and restaurateurs.
  • The recruiter assists with marketing downtown.
  • Evaluation of the recruiter’s success is based on the quality of deals over time.
Downtown Norfolk’s recruiter will be trained over the next six months and will be introduced
to landlords, retailers, city o cials and other stakeholders. Recruiting is a long term
process; even if we got started today, deals would be unlikely to be in place within twelve
months as identifying operators, selecting sites, and negotiating leases takes time. Current
economic conditions may slow progress, but not permanently.

                                      analyze, strategize, realize

                                                                                              r k s
Incentives are a valuable tool used to foster and promote downtown retail revitalization; it is
harder to begin the process of revitalization without them.
The first retail and restaurant deals are the hardest ones to make. Operators want to locate
in areas already populated with strong retail; called “co-tenancy,” this is very important to
retailers. When a project is just starting out someone has to be first; o ering some type of
incentive to make an early deal palatable can entice key operators to commit. If the location
is good, they know that other retailers will follow eventually, but in the meantime the lack of
co-tenancies means that retailers will want the incentives to guard against possible losses
while the new project finds its footing.
Incentives can and should be used to get Downtown retail revitalization underway:
         • Landlords can o er to make tenant improvements to a space or o er reduced rent
           for the first few years.
         • At the beginning of the retail recruiting process, the City and the BID almost
           certainly will have to provide some incentives to get the ball rolling. These could
           include forgivable loans. Another useful way to use incentives is to favor
           residential towers containing ground level retail.
         • Properly applied, incentives help to get important early deals executed, and can
           soothe any fears landlords may have about filling their spaces.

          All conclusions presented herein is based on our current knowledge and market
          experience, but as in all such studies the findings are based upon assumptions
          and estimates which are subject to uncertainly and variation. Market data are
          used in good faith using material supplied by authoritative data sources, which
          themselves are assumed to be made in good faith. Forward-looking data and
          projections concerning future economic conditions are subject to unforeseen
          changes and market forces and so are not always completely reliable. Using these
          information sources, we make assumptions and projections concerning future
          consumer behavior that are uncertain. Therefore, while our estimates will be
          conscientiously prepared on the basis of our experience and the data available to
          us, we make no warranty of any kind that specific occupancies, rental rates,
          revenues, or expenses projected will, in fact, be achieved.

                                      analyze, strategize, realize

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