Proposal Made For $200M Virginia Beach Arena, Backed Entirely By Private Funding
A team of businesses behind some of the "most successful sports complexes in the country" yesterday proposed to "build an 18,000-seat arena in Virginia Beach and pay for it themselves," according to John Holland of the Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT. Their plan "emphasizes what developers call the need for a major concert venue in Virginia to lure top musical acts, national political conventions and events such as the Ice Capades and NCAA tournament basketball." Project officials said the $200M arena would be "paid for entirely with private money, mostly from a Chinese construction giant, and would require no taxpayer funding." The ESG Cos. of Virginia Beach is "at the center of the plan, presented as a counterproposal to one initiated in November by construction firm W.M. Jordan Co.," which involves locally based Gold Key/PHR Hotels & Resorts CEO Bruce Thompson as a consultant. Both proposals would "build on city-owned land near the Convention Center, and both would need major infrastructure improvements by the city." ESG and a subsidiary, United States Management, are the "local faces of the group, but much of the experience building and managing arenas comes from around the country." K.C.-based AECOM and Minneapolis-based Mortenson Construction would "lead the project," and would be backed by Virginia Beach-based S.B. Ballard. SMG "would manage the facility." W.M. Jordan's proposal was "given to the city in November, and the council agreed to accept competing proposals for 90 days." Only the ESG proposal "came in" by yesterday's 5:00pm ET deadline (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 2/18).