Deadline looms to fund Va. Beach arena

(Photo courtesy of Bruce Rader/WAVY)

A deadline is looming for the developers of the Virginia Beach arena. The $200 million dollar project has had trouble getting off the ground. Now Mid-Atlantic Arena, formerly United States Management, has until Tuesday at midnight to secure financing or the deal could be dead.

“The communication has been ‘we’re moving forward, we’re moving forward and yet we haven’t closed,” explained Mayor Will Sessoms. “And now we’re at the point where the deadline is here. Based on taking USM at their word I certainly have every reason to believe they will close,” Sessoms told 10 On Your Side Friday.

To close on a $150 million dollar loan with JP Morgan Chase, Mid-Atlantic Arena needs to move $70 million in equity into an escrow account. The money has to be wired and the loan must close by midnight Tuesday. That’s a 60 day extension from a previous August deadline. There are no more extensions allowed per the developer’s agreement with the city.

“I’m not going to have the attitude that they’re not going to make it,” Sessoms said.

The arena has been a project Sessoms has pushed for years. But it has had difficulties getting off the ground. It has been met by a series of setback, financing issues, and at one time a dead deal that was later revived. Sessoms says this time, if the deadline is not met city council will have to walk away.

“My comment about that we’re not going to change the deadline is not just me speaking. I believe it’s truly the will of the mayor and council and it’s something that’s been communicated to USM several times and they understand it completely.”