Virginia Beach city leaders unveil details of Dome Site project deal

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A proposed major entertainment complex at the Oceanfront would cost about $328.5 million dollars with the city contributing around $95 million, Deputy City Manager Ron Williams explained Wednesday.

The city and Venture Realty Group have reached a deal to build a surf park, live concert hall, retail shops, and restaurants at the old Dome Site around 18th to 20th Streets. 

While this is a big step forward, city leaders stress that city council members will still have to vote before anything officially moves ahead.

Williams says the city has talked for years about what to do at the site. The old Dome Site concert venue was demolished in 1994. Since then, the area has mostly become just parking lots above Pacific Avenue.

The city had been negotiating with Venture Realty, who has involvement from musician Pharrell Williams.

Related: Virginia Beach City Council members discuss Pharrell-led proposal for new Oceanfront festival 

"This absolutely is a transformative project," Williams said. "The concepts that Venture Realty and their team have put together fills that void that we’ve had at the Oceanfront."

The city would invest about $95 million in the project to building parking garages, the live entertainment venue and to spruce up the area.

That money would come from the Tourism Investment Program, which is a series of taxes generated from restaurants, hotels and entertainment, according to Williams. No money would come from the General Fund.

In addition, some local taxes generated from the project itself will go back to the developer. Williams says other money from those taxes will help fund schools, go to the General Fund and back into the Tourism Investment Program.

If the project continues to move forward, Williams says groundbreaking could be in 2020. Construction could take about three years.

In the business community, reaction is mostly positive. "It seems like a great option," said Mike Mauch, the owner of I Scream Ice Scream and the Vice President of the Atlantic Avenue Association. "It's something that would really define our city and stand out from other resort areas."