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  • About Ghent

About Ghent

Those who have had the pleasure of experiencing the relaxing atmosphere of Ghent return again and again to discover what’s new and unique about its restaurants,eclectic retail shops, professional services and even the many not-for-profit organizations located within the district. Ghent’s variety of businesses attracts workers near and far to seek employment with established companies in the area. If you are interested in working in historic Ghent, please visit our Business Directory to inquire with local members of the association regarding hiring opportunities.

Historic Ghent is a thriving, eclectic and pedestrian-friendly community, offering a diverse cultural, shopping and dining experience. Those who experience Ghent return again and again to discover what’s new and unique about its restaurants, boutiques, cultural arts venues and services. Convenient to all Hampton Roads cities, Ghent is located in central Norfolk, minutes from downtown and the Norfolk Naval Station. The neighborhood’s main thoroughfares are Colley Avenue, Colonial Avenue, Granby Street, Olney Road, and 21st Street. The main commercial areas are located along Colley Ave., Granby St., and 21st St.

Great Places in America

Colley Avenue won the 2015 Great Places in America “People’s Choice” designation. Each year, The American Planning Association invites people to vote on the “Great Place in America.”  According to the APA, the award “celebrates places of exemplary character, quality, and planning.  Places are selected annually and represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow.”

The American Planning Association is non-profit education and membership organization comprised of planners, students, elected and appointed officials, planning commissions and citizens.  Its goal is create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. APA’s Great Places initiative presents better options that exemplify these traits – places where people want to be — not only to visit, but to live and work every day. America’s truly great streets, neighborhoods and public spaces are defined by many criteria, including architectural features, accessibility, functionality, and community involvement.

There’s no denying that Colley Avenue fits the bill. Stretching for 18 blocks through the core of historic Ghent neighborhood, Colley Avenue connects residential blocks lined with a mix of stately historic homes, apartments, and townhouses that blend with restaurants, retail, office, and institutional uses. The streetscape showcases a blend of architecture ranging from the styles of the 1890s to the modern. The Art Deco facade of the NARO Theater coexists with the modern brick and glass of the Eastern Virginia Medical School Jones Institute. With generously landscaped stoops, balconies, and outdoor dining, Colley Avenue offers a welcoming pedestrian experience for everyone. The wide sidewalks of its commercial core host activity day and night as outdoor diners mingle with theater patrons and buskers who serenade them all.