VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – City leaders met Tuesday to discuss the funding gap for the $80 million dollar Hyatt Oceanfront project.
The new “Hyatt Oceanfront” on 27th Street is close to completion. Project developers say it will boost tourism when the 19-story building is finished. The project also calls for additional parking garages and retail space in the area.
The shell of the Hyatt is underway but the question is, “Will the city and state approve funding for 30 percent of it?”
City Manager Dave Hansen says he sees some green check-marks and has some questions when it comes to the project. He says there is no denying it will bring year-round employment, but he’s still calling for an independent review.
The city says the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) has more information on the project. Council members agreed Tuesday to refer the project to the development authority. The developer, state, and city all have to agree to contribute the funds. The city would give funds through a rebate on sales tax for the hotel
The controversy surrounding the Hyatt project dates back to January of 2016. 10 On Your Side reported that the VTC said it would not fund 30 percent of the project, because it did not meet certain requirements.
At that time Mayor Will Sessoms said if the state was out, the city was out as well.
Fast forward one month later, hotel developers sent a 125-page presentation to the State of Virginia with reasons for funding qualifications; including a boost to tourism sales. The report also mentions the project would benefit the resort area by adding parking and retail stores, not currently in business in the beach area.
The 125-page report spurred a different response from the state just two weeks later. The state said it would consider partial funding of the hotel, which prompted the city to reconvene and discuss a course of action.