Late developments threaten Virginia Beach arena plan


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – After three years of planning, the Virginia Beach City Council is set to take a final vote next week on the building of a new arena.

After spending over a year putting together one of the most complicated contracts in Virginia Beach history, two final changes may sink plans by United States Management to build the $240 million dollar arena next to the Convention Center.

But less equity and an unrated bond are two last minute developments that have caused a couple of council members to reconsider their support of the arena.

Council has been adamant that the city will take no financial risk at all in building the arena.

Two weeks ago, only one council member Barbara Henley, was against the project. Now at least two more council members are getting cold feet. A super majority vote is needed because of the land transfer, three no votes and the deal is dead.

Does this change the city’s risk to the extent that it could kill the project? The developer says no.

So how can this work without city money? The plan is the arena brings people to the beach, they stay in the hotels and eat in the restaurants. The city will give the arena owners 1 percent of the hotel tax every year the owners get the parking revenue and tax dollars from what they sell in the arena.

Tense negotiations should continue up until the vote on Tuesday. U.S. Management has already put $7 million dollars into the project.

If Virginia Beach takes a pass on the project, would Military Circle in Norfolk be a viable option?

Stay on for developments in this story.