Va. Beach Officials Vote To Continue Negotiations For New Arena; Target NBA Kings
The Virginia Beach City Council yesterday voted 9-2 "in favor of continuing negotiations for a proposed arena that could attract a major league sports franchise to the area," according to Anne McNamara of Portsmouth, Va.-based WAVY-NBC. It was the council's "first formal vote on the project." Sources said that the "anchor tenant is the NBA's Sacramento Kings." Virginia Beach Vice Mayor Louis Jones at yesterday's work session "definitively said the anchor tenant is an NBA team." However, the "entire proposal depends on how much money the city can get from the state." Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms maintains the $426M arena "cannot be built without help from the state." The "most recent term sheet" showed the city contributing $195M, arena investor Comcast-Spectacor contributing $35M, borrowing costs of $46M and $150M in state funds. In order for Virginia Beach to get a budget amendment, the city "will have to get a commitment, on paper, from all the players, including Comcast-Spectacor and the anchor tenant." Sessoms said that he "plans to get this 'term sheet' done before the legislative session convenes Jan. 9" (WAVY.com, 12/11). In Norfolk, Aaron Applegate notes the "nonbinding vote signals support for the framework of the current proposal." Comcast-Spectacor, which would "lease and operate the arena for 25 years, is negotiating with the team to move to Virginia Beach." City officials said that for the "project to move forward, a deal will need to be in place by the start of the General Assembly session in early January." So far, legislators "have had mixed reactions to the plan." Applegate notes the $426M arena cost includes $80M to "help the team relocate" (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 12/12).