Vote expected on fate of old Virginia Beach Dome site

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — On Tuesday, Virginia Beach City Council is expected to vote on the Dome site development agreement.

The $325 million project would replace the vacant lot between 18th and 20th Streets near the Oceanfront. The vision is to transform that space into a year-round tourist destination in the form of a surf park and entertainment venue.

City officials estimate the park will generate about $8 million a year. That money will go back into schools, the general fund, and the tourism fund.

Developer Venture Realty Group and the city presented their agreement terms a few weeks ago.

Then last Tuesday, the public weighed in. Virginia Beach native and music superstar Pharrell Williams spoke first. The surf park idea was his brainchild.

“If we want people to take us seriously, they have to see that we are doing what we have been doing, which is looking after our community, looking after our minorities, showing people that we are open for business,” Williams said. “The Dome site is the perfect, first and foremost example.”

The empty lot has come to symbolize untapped potential for the last quarter-century. the 10-acre site was at one time home to the Virginia Beach Civic Center, aka The Dome.  The iconic building had been a popular concert venue but was demolished in 1994.

In the 25 years since, nothing has replaced it.

Now Venture Realty’s vision is to build a 3,500-person entertainment venue, which includes restaurants, apartments, and that surf park.

The entire project is estimated to cost about $325 million, with $230 million coming from private investment and $95 million from the city’s tourism investment fund.

If approved, this project will take place over two years during three phases. You can learn more about the project on the City of Virginia Beach’s website.

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