Downtown Norfolk Offers Grants For New, Existing Businesses

There’s a unique way to fill up empty storefronts in downtown Norfolk.

It’s called Vibrant Spaces. New businesses who move downtown could get a $20,000 grant plus half off their rent for two years. Existing businesses are eligible to receive $10,000 in matching grants. The city has $180,000 in capital to support the program.

For new businesses, there are six available spaces that property owners have agreed to lease at half off market rent for two years. The city is looking create compatible and vibrant businesses in downtown.

The city is encouraging existing business owners with grants to make improvements such as sidewalk activation, storefront upgrades, signage improvement, outdoor seating, rooftop option or even business collaboration.

“The Vibrant Spaces initiative may be new, but the momentum in Downtown Norfolk is not,” said Drew Ungvarsky, CEO of Grow and one of the project leaders. “The past couple of years have produced new businesses, new ideas and a whole new attitude in our city. Our vision for more vibrant street-level businesses will be the catalyst to take Downtown to the next level.”

Businesses interested in submitting a proposal can go to to review available properties and applications for new and existing businesses. For questions, email or call 757-623-1757.