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Dome site developer misses deadline on entertainment venue in Virginia Beach

July 06,2016 13:21

The city has since hung its hat on unfulfilled promises from developers who pledged to bring year-round entertainment options to that part of the resort area, now a city parking lot. The latest to miss another deadline to develop the site: the Peterson ...



VIRGINIA BEACHYet another plan to develop 11 acres of land near the Oceanfront is fizzling.The company proposing an entertainment venue at the old Dome site missed a deadline Thursday and has been mum on whether it still plans to pursue the project.It’s been more than 20 years since the city demolished the concert venue, a geodesic dome on Pacific Avenue at 19th Street.The city has since hung its hat on unfulfilled promises from developers who pledged to bring year-round entertainment options to that part of the resort area, now a city parking lot. The latest to miss another deadline to develop the site: the Peterson Cos., a Fairfax-based firm that built a mixed-use waterfront destination at National Harbor on the Potomac River in the Washington, D.C., area.Representatives from the company did not respond to requests for comments on Tuesday. The Virginia Beach Development Authority will discuss options for the site at its meeting later this month, said Warren Harris, Economic Development director.Development Authority members had agreed to stick with the Peterson Cos. and not explore other ideas for the property.“It’s very disappointing,” Dorothy Wood, chairwoman of the Development Authority, said Tuesday. “Knowing their history and the quality of their projects in other places, it would have been a wonderful thing to have.”With a planned 18,000-seat arena a few blocks west of the site, the city has been considering building a parking deck nearby on a wooded lot between Baltic and Arctic avenues on 19th Street.

In 2014, Peterson had responded to a request for proposals to lease the land but told the city it needed time to pull funding together. The Development Authority entered into a six-month “exclusivity dealing agreement” with the developer that kept the city from entertaining other offers on the property.It extended that agreement another six months, and in June 2015, stretched it out for another year. At that time, the company unveiled plans for “VA ViBe,” a $100 million project with a luxury movie theater, an upscale bowling alley, restaurants and shops, including local and national chains.The name for the complex had been inspired by the growing ViBe Creative District it borders, the company spokeswoman had said.As of Tuesday, the company was still listing the proposed project on its website.If Peterson Cos. wanted another extension, it could have come to the Development Authority before the deadline, said Wood, who added that she and other members began to doubt the project in recent months.“We thought maybe since it’s gone awhile, it might not come,” Wood said.The city has been trying to seal a development deal for the land for years. It gave a similar exclusivity agreement to Texas businessman Michael Jenkins in 2008, but he never came through with funding for his $172 million vision, which included a Broadway-style theater, an ice rink, a teen dance club and a Ferris wheel, The Virginian-Pilot reported. At the time, Jenkins had beat out six other competitors to develop the site.Wood said she is confident the arena will bring new opportunities for the old Dome site.“Build it and they will come, right?” she asked.Mayor Will Sessoms said Tuesday: “It’s still a prime piece of real estate.”“I’m not discouraged a bit,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll find a good use for that property in the very near future.”

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