VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Virginia Beach city officials said they are not interested in participating in building a multipurpose arena at the Oceanfront.
The $350 million arena was proposed by the company, Drakkar America. They wanted to build a 22,000-seat indoor arena one block away from the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
At the Virginia Beach field house, there was plenty being served up. The play was not only fierce, but so were the opinions when it comes to building a new arena.
"I would love to see it," said Michael Williams. "It would give us a chance to draw more major sports to our area which right now we don't have."
"Any type of sporting venue around here that could bring in a professional [team] would be absolutely phenomenal for this area," added Mike Roberts.
The idea was floated and volleyed toward the Virginia Beach City Council.
"Obviously it would bring additional revenue to the area," Roberts added.
But Tuesday, the City Council spiked down the idea.
"The way it is being represented to me, it would not be a very good decision for our city," said Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms.
City officials say the developer was asking for their help to foot the bill. It was something the city just couldn't do.
"It appears that the city would be guaranteeing all the debt on anything being built or perhaps the purchase of a team," Sessoms added. "That's not the business that the city is in."
The area could have hosted major concerts and maybe a professional team. It's a nice thought, but a disappointing loss for sports fans.
"I can understand the worry in our economy, but the upside is a lot larger than the downside," Williams said. "If you put forth the money now, it will make itself back."
Drakkar wasn't going to ask the city for any land or cash, but some tax revenue to be kicked back in the form of special financing similar to projects like Town Center.
City officials said the project would be their financial obligation, and if something fell through, the city would not want to be in line to pay for the cost of the arena.
"The proposal places a lot of risk on the City of Virginia Beach. Big projects without precedent can raise serious concerns with the financial markets and the rating agencies," City Manager James Spore wrote in a letter to David Tollaksen with Drakkar America.
The idea of a new arena in the area isn't completely dead. Drakkar America may now shop the idea past the Norfolk and Chesapeake City Councils.
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