Developer believes proposed surf park, entertainment center could transform Virginia Beach Oceanfront

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Through a partnership with musician Pharrell Williams, the Venture Realty Group has high hopes to transform the Oceanfront with its proposed development at the old Dome Site.

"We use the word transform with emphasis and with explicit purpose because from the very beginning of this process we have sought to make dramatic positive change, not just in the resort area, but in the city of Virginia Beach as a whole," said Mike Culpepper, a managing partner of Venture Realty Group.

On Tuesday afternoon, city leaders got an update on the project and a look at the results of several studies about how it would fit into the Oceanfront.

Last year the city chose Venture Realty Group to design and build the year-round complex, known as The Wave, at the old Dome Site between 18th and 20th Streets.

The complex would include apartments, retail and restaurants, a cinema, office space, a concert venue, parking, and a surf park.

Culpepper says the Oceanfront needs a much needed makeover from its streets of small shops. "There's a place for that at the Oceanfront," he said. "Perhaps those are not the elements that are going to bring visitors back."

The developer has updated some of its plans to add more convenient parking and refining the design. Parking would be in "mixed-use" buildings instead of parking garages, Culpepper said. These are buildings were other types of development sits on top of the parking.

The concert venue would be called "The Dome" as a tribute to the old site. Culpepper says they hope the project will change the conversation after a summer with several negative headlines. "We think there is a direct connection between the conditions of the buildings of the Oceanfront and the behavior that we currently see and that we read about on Monday morning," he said.

City council members planned to go into a closed session to continue talks. If things stay on track, the city council could vote this fall.