The City of Norfolk and Gold Key | PHR Hotels & Resorts started work last month on a $126 million public/private initiative expected to transform the corner of Main and Granby streets in downtown Norfolk. Called The Main, the project is scheduled to open in 2017. The 380,000-square foot facility will include Hilton Norfolk at The Main, a 294-key luxury hotel; The Exchange at The Main, a 50,000-square-foot conference center; and three restaurants.
The 23-story hotel will offer 24 luxury suites and two presidential suites among its guest rooms. Amenities will include an indoor pool, business center, one grand ballroom that can accommodate 1,500 guests, a junior ballroom and car service.
The developers say that Exchange at The Main will be one of the most technically advanced and secure meeting facilities in the United States. It will be certified by the International Association of Conference Centers and will meet standards for Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities in order to accommodate the security needs of clients like government agencies and defense contractors.. No comparable facility in the Mid-Atlantic region holds both designations.
Exchange at the Main will be a destination not only for business and leisure travelers, but for local residents as well. The first floor will be home to Catch on Granby, an urban seafood bistro. The Varia, an Italian-inspired trattoria, will be located on the second floor, while the fifth floor will be home to the Saluna, a roof garden and lounge.
The project’s development team includes Cooper Carry, lead architect, W.M. Jordan, general contractor, Pompan Hospitality Global Inc., conference center consultant; and Baskervill, the interior designer.
“The Main is a transformational development with a design that gives the city a stunning architectural landmark and will be unique in the conference market,” said Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim in a statement. “Downtown’s newest destination is an investment in our future that will grow and diversify our economy generating jobs and revenue for all of Norfolk. A technologically advanced facility, The Main complements Norfolk’s growing arts, food and entertainment culture.” The project will create over 700 jobs during the construction phase and 850 permanent jobs when it opens.
According to Gold Key | PHR Hotels & Resorts, all public investment will be provided by the Public Amenities Fund and parking system. The fund authorizes a one percent tax on meals and lodging and collects enough money each year to cover the debt service on the conference center.