Norfolk Seeks Innovative Financial Solutions for St. Paul’s Area Redevelopment
Finance charrette explores investment opportunities
NORFOLK, VA - The City of Norfolk held the first ever finance charrette Tuesday, February 19th to explore innovative financing approaches and investments opportunities in the St. Paul’s Area. The charrette brought together 70 representatives from public, private, state, philanthropic and private-wealth investment firms in addition to representatives from state and federal partners to think creatively about new financing models to make the St. Paul’s Area vision a reality.
“Our residents deserve a bold, innovative approach to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty in St. Paul’s. Creating opportunities for social investment will bring about real change and put our residents on a path of economic mobility and reinforce Norfolk as a welcoming, inclusive and diverse community,” said Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander.
The day-long workshop was facilitated by urban policy expert Bruce Katz, the Founding Director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University, a new academic center with the mission to help cities design, finance and deliver transformative initiatives that promote inclusive and sustainable growth. Katz works in close partnership with Accelerator for America, a national intermediary chaired by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to help cities adapt and scale proven financial solutions. Aaron Thomas from Accelerator for America also participated in the charrette.
“The scope, scale, and vision for the St. Paul’s Area effort is truly impressive, and Norfolk’s approach can serve as an example nationwide of public housing transformation into a mixed-income, mixed-use community of the future. I look forward to a continued partnership with City,” said Katz.
The charrette included a tour of the St. Paul’s Area, review of Opportunity Zones, and discussion on how to sharpen the vision for St. Paul’s and specify resources needs for the initial planned phase of redevelopment.
In March, the City of Norfolk will participate in the Opportunity Zone Investor Summit hosted by Accelerator for America in Palo Alto, California. The event will bring together urban policy experts, first mover cities with the Opportunity Zone program and potential investors interesting in bring private capital to public efforts such as the St. Paul’s Transformation.
Photos from the charrette are available on the City’s online photo gallery: http://norfolk.photodeck.com/-/galleries/st-pauls-financing-charrette