Creating vibrant neighborhoods to live, work, and play – by design – for the way you roll!
Commercial Areas are areas identified as a possible choice location for a new breed of retail, artisanal manufacturing, creative services and unique gathering spaces. Which area fits your business plan?
Regional Commercial Districts
Welcome to Downtown Norfolk, the center of the region’s arts, dining, entertainment and financial scenes! Thriving as a port city for hundreds of years, downtown’s central core is at the heart of an urban renaissance for Norfolk. Almost all of the early 20th century buildings that line Granby Street from the waterfront to the Opera House are now home to young professionals or empty nesters. Businesses that move to and stay in 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. Downtown offers a unique lifestyle, vibrant culture and a world of opportunities right out your front door. Click here to start discovering Downtown Norfolk and enjoy things to do on water or land you won’t find anywhere else. For an updated look on our 2030 Downtown Norfolk Plan, please click here.
NEON District – Get Energized
The NEON District is Norfolk’s Arts District and features artists, musicians, the breathtaking Chrysler Museum and a working glass studio, performing arts, comedy, and holistic healing. In a nutshell, you’ll find just about every art form there is coming alive. Our world-class institutional assets have welcomed entrepreneurial adventures. This area connects downtown to the historic Ghent area.
Neighborhood Commercial Districts
Chelsea – Eclectic Foodie Destination
The Chelsea neighborhood located near West Ghent is one of Norfolk’s most exciting new commercial districts, featuring new businesses that appeal to foodies and fans of craft breweries. The Bakehouse at Chelsea, which opened in 2014, features wood-fired European hearth breads and flat bread pizzas using organic flour and locally sourced produce. Next door is The Birch, a beer garden, bar and restaurant. Smartmouth, an award-winning brewery is located nearby on Raleigh Avenue. Other restaurants include the Torch Bistro. These businesses coexist comfortably with older, established industrial businesses located nearby. Ride your bike and hit the Elizabeth River Trail. Click here for a taste of the Chelsea experience.
Ghent – One of Five Great Neighborhoods in America
Named by the American Planning Association in 2018 as a neighborhood area with exceptional character, quality, and planning. Historic Ghent is a thriving, eclectic and pedestrian-friendly community, offering a diverse cultural, shopping and dining experience. Convenient to all Hampton Roads cities, Ghent is located in central Norfolk, minutes from Downtown and the Norfolk Naval Station. Visit the Business Association website at https://ghentnorfolk.org
Little Creek Road Corridor – Connects Military Facilities
This new Business Association formed to connect all businesses in the area with opportunity to help brand the area and work closer with community partners including Norfolk Public Schools and Civic Leagues. Within the district boundaries are more than 1,000 businesses.
The North Colley Business District is one of Norfolk’s newest. The area encompasses more than 155 businesses and several of the the trendiest restaurants in town – such as The Coach House, Cogans, The Starving Artist, LeGrand Kitchen and Fellini’s – with an increase in awareness of the authentic character and new businesses continuing to open. NOCO is within walking distance to Old Dominion University and the Lafayette River flows by.
Ocean View – Vacay 24/7
If Bay breezes and a vacation lifestyle are attractive to you, consider Ocean View. Ocean View is a seven-mile coastal strip running between Norfolk Naval Station and the Little Creek Amphibious Base. Major housing projects and an award-winning coastal village have transformed this area – attracting families, young professionals and retirees alike. Going to and from work by boat is an option. This growing business association is committed to bringing fun and excitement to the OV area. Plans are underway for a variety of events and community branding opportunities. The area encompasses approximately 700 businesses and has one of Norfolk’s largest concentration of home-based businesses.
The Railroad District Business Association is the foremost advocate and steward of the Railroad District, effecting change through strategy development, goal setting, and capacity building that promote business and economic growth while fostering a healthy community. This new district is now 270 businesses strong. Unique businesses and restaurants, modern lofts and artisanal manufacturing are mixed together, making this a lively community. The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) awarded Norfolk Economic Development an Excellence in Economic Development – Silver Award for Catalyzing Development in a Historic District, a project in the category of Real Estate Redevelopment & Reuse, highlighting the success of the burgeoning Railroad District. Click here to see with what’s happening in the Railroad District.
Riverview – The Archway Welcomes Businesses and Customers Alike
One of Norfolk’s oldest communities revived its business area with an archway at the Granby Street Bridge and 38thStreet in 2018. Riverview hosts “Village Days” and draws hundreds to the Lafayette Park to its expanded farmer’s market. Nestled alongside the Virginia Zoo, Riverview has eclectic restaurants and shops. Riverview Village Business Association installed its iconic archway to create an identity for this neighborhood corridor in 2018. Riverview Village Days is an open-air market with 65+ vendors and is held on the 2nd and 4th Sundays from April-December in Lafayette Park.