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Vibrant Spaces program receives 97 submissions

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Downtown Norfolk Council’s Vibrant Spaces program has received 97 submissions, a number that group says is more than triple the proposals it anticipated.

The Vibrant Spaces initiative, begun in May, is designed to accelerate neighborhood-defining businesses in Downtown Norfolk. Interested parties were asked to submit online proposals outlining ideas to create vibrant and exciting new businesses in Downtown. Applications were accepted through July 12.

Phase one of program offered six available spaces in Downtown Norfolk. Property owners agreed to lease the spaces at 50 percent of market rates for two years to selected businesses. The new business owners will also receive a $20,000 kick-start grant. The council says 85 new businesses are vying for this opportunity.

Existing Downtown businesses  submitted ideas for funding to make their businesses more vibrant. The program offers $60,000 in matching grants. Twelve businesses submitted ideas. Selected ideas will receive up to 50 percent of the project costs or up to $10,000 per business.

A selection committee is reviewing the submissions and will determine the business ideas that most effectively align with the goals of the program.

Applicants will be notified if they are selected or not in early September. The new businesses will have three weeks to negotiate the leases with the landlords.

Downtown Norfolk Council (DNC) is a private, not-for-profit membership organization. It manages the Downtown Norfolk Improvement District, a 48-block special services district.

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