U.S. bank to finance Virginia Beach Arena

A rendering of the proposed 18,500-seat multi-purpose entertainment and sports arena in Virginia Beach, courtesy of United States Management.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Interest rates are down, the Chinese are out, and today the developers who are building the $200 million Virginia Beach Arena say they have an even better deal from a Chicago financial institution that will move the project along faster, and save a lot of money.

Andrea Kilmer, the president of Virginia Beach-based U.S. Management, briefed the Virginia Beach City Council Tuesday afternoon and informed them that B.C. Ziegler and Company is willing to finance $200 million in bonds to build the arena, while her company will be on the hook for $10 million for the project.

According to Ms. Kilmer, “If the new terms, which are nearly identical to ones approved by the city in December, are agreed upon by council next month, USM is confident it can close on the financing and break ground by year’s end and be open for major concerts, family shows and athletic events in 2018, a year earlier than required under its contract with the City.”

When locally based United States Management got the Virginia Beach Council to approve the arena, it appeared a bank in China would provide a $170 million loan.

It’s been six months now, and that loan has not been secured. With favorable changes in the American financial market, Ms. Kilmer started shopping the loan around.

“It is no secret that we have been working tirelessly with EXIM Bank in China to secure a commitment,” said Kilmer. “It has been difficult because of distance, language and other constraints. That is why we have always been open to proposals from other qualified lenders, and in just the last few months, we found an excellent one.”

A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for July 5 in Virginia Beach City Council chambers on the new arrangement, and barring complications a vote would take place July 12.  Because the venture involves a transfer of city-owned land to the Virginia Beach Development Authority, the VBDA will be asked to approve the new arrangement at its July meeting.

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