Deal with developer for old Dome site at the Oceanfront falls through

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Bad news for the old Dome site at the Oceanfront.

What promised to be a first class development for the old entertainment site at Pacific and 19th Streets is now in danger.

The Peterson Companies failed to meet a June 30 deadline to re-up an exclusive agreement with Virginia Beach to develop the site. That shows they likely aren’t as interested, which means the city may have to go back to the drawing board.

Late this afternoon, Taylor Chess with Peterson Companies sent us an email.

“Our goal from the beginning was to deliver on the community’s desire for entertainment options, appeal to prospective entertainment and dining concepts and serve as a catalyst for additional economic development,” Chess said. “We believe we delivered on that vision with VA ViBE! and we were ready to move forward.”

10 On Your Side spoke with Warren Harris, the Director of Virginia Beach Economic Development. He said he knew something was wrong.

“We are going to be very methodical in our process. Yes, we are disappointed Peterson hasn’t yet been able to come forward with a program of work, but it is not disappointing because it gives us opportunities that we are able to outside this agreement talk to other interested parties.”

Harris got word in May at a Las Vegas conference that Peterson Companies may be getting cold feet.

“They wanted to gauge the market, and the ability for them to have additional conversations with other retail and entertainment components before they decided which direction they were going to head.”

Chess emailed WAVY News about what changed, and said it was Norfolk building an outlet mall that altered the dynamic of the retail market.

“In order for VA ViBE! to be economically viable year round, it requires a mix of uses, including destination retail and experiential restaurants. The recent announcement that traffic and access issues related to the Norfolk Outlets have been resolved, makes a project the scale of which we proposed for VA ViBE unrealistic. Moving forward with VA ViBE could potentially dilute both projects and would be a disservice to both Virginia Beach and Norfolk,” Chess said.

In January, the company did not return the required term sheet to the city, which would have confirmed the deal.

“Unfortunately they haven’t executed that term sheet, and that is partly why they haven’t responded to the exclusive dealing rule,” Warren said, noting that the term sheet expired June 30.

To that point, Chess wrote, “As a result, we are revisiting the scale of the project with our partners and the negotiated term sheet will need to be modified. We are grateful to the City and to all who have been involved in the vision and planning for VA ViBE! “

Harris told 10 On Your Side that Virginia Beach is too big and too great to let this stand in the way of the future.

“Now we can take our time to do it right the first time. This is too important to take the first thing down the road.”

What is not clear is how the Economic Development Authority has responded to the Peterson Companies move.

This is the full text from Taylor Chess, President of Development for Peterson Companies:

Our goal from the beginning was to deliver on the community’s desire for entertainment options, appeal to prospective entertainment and dining concepts and serve as a catalyst for additional economic development.  We believe we delivered on that vision with VA ViBE! and we were ready to move forward.  However, in order for VA ViBE! to be economically viable year round, it requires a mix of uses including destination retail and experiential restaurants.  The recent announcement that traffic and access issues related to the Norfolk Outlets have been resolved, makes a project the scale of which we proposed for VA ViBE unrealistic.  Moving forward with VA ViBE could potentially dilute both projects and would be a disservice to both Virginia Beach and Norfolk.

As a result, we are revisiting the scale of the project with our partners and the negotiated term sheet will need to be modified.  We are grateful to the City and to all who have been involved in the vision and planning for VA ViBE!”

Comments are closed.