Innovation Overlay District

Innovation Overlay District

On December 8, 2020, City Council adopted the rezoning of the 541 parcels in the Uptown area of the City to traditional zoning districts, eliminating the former form-based code regulating plan, based on recommendations from community engagement, public review, and the D2 Uptown Land Use Study. Effective February 1, 2021, the Innovation Overlay District is superimposed over the new underlying zoning districts for the Uptown area, which clarifies requirements for development with the intent to facilitate new growth and development.

What is an Innovation District?

An innovation district is a place-based urban development strategy that aims to regenerate an under-performing area into a desirable location for innovative and creative companies and workers. An innovation district is a platform for all kinds of activity that stimulate innovation while offering value to entities that drive the economy. Innovation districts have proven to be practical solutions for cities to modernize their economies and pivot from traditional industrial-based production to technology-driven services. 

Innovation Overlay District Map (click on image to enlarge)

Innovation District Zoning Map

Why is the Uptown area a good candidate for an innovation district?

The Uptown area contains a number of assets for identifying this area as an innovation district including: 

  • Considerable available land for development and redevelopment
  • Significant publicly-owned land primed for private investment
  • Connection to City’s future fiber optic ring providing opportunities to deploy Smart City concepts
  • Linkage to future wind energy investment projects at the former Portsmouth Marine Terminal (PMT)
  • Considerable public/civic activity with Behavioral Health Services, Social Services, Health Department buildings and the future Hampton Roads Community Health Center headquarters
  • Locational advantages including:
    1. Central to Portsmouth
    2. Adjacent to Downtown Portsmouth and Norfolk
    3. Direct access to Martin Luther King Jr Expressway to I-264 East/West and Rt. 164 Western Freeway
    4. Close proximity to Virginia International Gateway (VIG) port
    5. Nearby institutions including Naval Hospital, Maryview Hospital, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and Coast Guard
    6. Neighboring academic institutions including IC Norcom High School, Norfolk State University, Tidewater Community College, Old Dominion University, and ODU Tri-Cities Center

What are the potential benefits of the Innovation Overlay District?

  • The Innovation Overlay District will provide the regulatory framework for the desired redevelopment and land use options.
  • The Innovation Overlay District will give the Uptown area a sense of place, an identity, and a vision for inclusive growth.
  • The Innovation Overlay District will facilitate the ability of the city to generate accessible jobs.
  • The Innovation Overlay District will contribute to economic growth by helping generate revenue.
  • The Innovation Overlay District will help to provide educational and skill-training opportunities for Portsmouth residents.

More Information about Innovation Districts

Innovation District Information

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Indianapolis, Indiana

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

San Diego,California

Detroit, Michigan

Barcelona, Spain

St. Petersburg, Florida 

Chattanooga, Tennessee 

Gainesville, Florida 

Boston, Massachusetts