City taking major step toward Princess Anne Corridor hotel

An artist rendering of the proposed "Home2 Suites by Hilton" hotel that could be developed on city-owned land near Tidewater Community College (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the City of Virginia Beach)
An artist rendering of the proposed “Home2 Suites by Hilton” hotel that could be developed on city-owned land near Tidewater Community College (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the City of Virginia Beach)

VIRGINIA BEACH — City Council will vote Tuesday on the sale of land near Tidewater Community College for the construction of a hotel.

The land sale will represent the capstone of a 5-year process for the city, which began with a study of the area in July 2013.

The city wants to sell nearly 4 acres of land to Harmony Hospitality for $2.25 million —  or $578,000 per acre. Harmony expects construction of a proposed 110-room Home2 Suites by Hilton for the site to cost the company $11.6 million, according to a memo from City Manager Dave Hansen.

“Phase 2” of the development would allow Harmony the option for the development of 2.51 acres, which would be available at the same price per acre, Director of Economic Development Taylor Adams said during a February council briefing.

Related story: Princess Anne Commons hotel at TCC entrance to solicit proposals in May

As part of the deal, the city would make infrastructure improvements at a public cost of up to $800,000 — down from a $1.35 million estimate from February.

The site plan also includes a “popular” and nationally-known “family-friendly chain restaurant” with a drive-thru, said Brooks Johnson, director of development for Harmony. Johnson declined to disclose which chain restaurant they were negotiating with, only that the chain restaurant proposed the drive-thru component.

For years, the city has pushed for a hotel development in the “Princess Anne Corridor,” an area which currently has no accommodations.

Adams and other city officials have cited visitors to Princess Anne Hospital, the Sportsplex, the Amphitheater, emerging bio-tech companies, and the municipal center as those who would be served by a nearby hotel.

The deal between the city and Harmony fell apart in August after the city walked away from negotiations. At that time, Hansen said the city originally wanted a 120-room hotel on the city, but Harmony offered to build a hotel with only 101 rooms.

Related story: TCC hotel development back on track after stalled negotiations

During the Aug. 21, 2018 City Council meeting, Mayor Bobby Dyer, who was a councilman at that time, questioned Hansen about why the city walked away from the negotiations with Harmony.

In a Feb. 6 phone call, Dyer said he brokered a meeting with Hansen and Harmony executives after that City Council session. That meeting took place at City Hall to “iron out any discrepancies” regarding the hotel development, Dyer said. As a result, negotiations got back on track.

If council votes to approve the land sale Tuesday, Johnson said a “more accurate timeline” for the purchase and development of the land will come into focus in the coming weeks.

City Council will vote on the land sale during its formal session, which starts at 6 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall.

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