Pharrell says this project will be the one that sticks for Virginia Beach.
The location of the former Virginia Beach Dome
Original story by Alissa Skelton, The Virginian-Pilot.
Posted on November 25, 2017
For more than two decades, the city has searched for a private company to develop the old Virginia Beach Dome site. Recently, Pharrell Williams teamed up with Venture Realty Group to introduce a new surf park to the Oceanfront lot on Pacific Avenue, and the city showed their support early on.
Pharrell has many memories of the old Dome site. As a kid, he used to listen to live music there before it was torn down in 1994. He would also drive past the site every day with his grandmother on the way to clean offices. Today, Pharrell thinks that the city is long overdue for a major development project. He’s picked up on the city’s struggle to complete such projects over the years, but he understands that great things take time and proper vision.
Last week, The Virginia Beach Development Authority voted to move forward with a new surf park for the Dome site. They’re not only hoping to bring a wave pool to the beach. The main goal of this project is to create an iconic entertainment district for VB. Currently, the Development Authority owns the 10-plus acres where they hope to develop.
Virginia Beach signed an exclusive six-month agreement with Venture Realty Group to determine if they can deliver on the dream. The deal will expire on May 21.
The entire project’s estimated cost is between $275 million to $300 million. The new surf park alone will likely cost $20 million.
All of this only gets the wheels spinning. “It could be another year and a half until the financing is worked out,” says MacMillan-Whitaker, one of Venture Realty Group’s Managing partners. “Spring 2019 is the earliest the company would break ground.”
All of the numbers have to be worked out, as well as site analyses. The city needs to understand how this project will affect the normal workings of VB. Whitaker adds, “For the next year and a half, the development group will hire contractors to do analyses on the traffic, parking and retail needs.”
The plan proposed by Venture Realty Group and Pharrell trumped over three other proposals submitted to The Council regarding the Virginia Beach Dome site. “I am super proud of our city because they have proven today that they have the vision” – Pharrell Williams.