Latest on Virginia Beach arena proposal

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – One week from today, Virginia Beach officials will present to City Council what is called a term sheet, giving a local company the go-ahead to build an 18,000 seat arena next to the city’s convention center.

The deal, almost a year in the making, would allow United States Management, led by local businesswoman, CEO and president of the ESG Companies Andrea Kilmer, to build what is being called a $200 million multipurpose entertainment and sports arena, according to sources that request to remain anonymous.

Most of the money would be financed by a company in China.

City staff has been working with USM for months putting the final contract together. Council will be briefed next Tuesday, then discuss it in an open session in two weeks.

Virginia Beach citizens can weigh in after that, and the final vote on the term sheet could come as soon as December 9th.

The arena would be managed by a company called SMG, which runs stadiums and arenas around the world.

Earlier this month council members and city staff flew to Lincoln Nebraska to visit the arena there, which is managed by SMG.

They all seemed to be impressed by what they saw. The Virginia Beach Hotel Association calls the arena the number one priority for its organization, and would agree to a one percent hotel tax increase to help with the cost.

It’s expected the term sheet would ask the city to pony up some $50 million for parking and street improvements, but Mr. Garcia’s company would use private money to build the complex.

It looks like it may take nine of the 11 council members to agree to the deal. The vote is probably a month away, and  the wheels are turning. If supporters get their way, the building of the arena could begin early next year.

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