NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — For the first time since Norfolk began working towards the development of a new, larger arena, the city manager is saying help will likely be needed from neighboring cities.

In an interview this week, City Manager Chip Filer said he “anticipates” regional cooperation as the city looks to redevelop the current site of Military Circle Mall.

It’s an idea that isn’t new. But so far, it appears the idea isn’t being discussed much outside Norfolk.

The push to bring a larger new arena to Hampton Roads has been ongoing for more than a decade. Entertainment experts agree a venue of at least 15,000 seats could attract a-list acts and sporting events that would never come to Hampton Roads otherwise.

In 2019, a year after a plan to develop an arena in Virginia Beach went belly-up, Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander announced his city would be looking to build a new one.

The following year, a bill sponsored by then Del. Jason Miyares, (R-Virginia Beach), passed the General Assembly, creating a mechanism for Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake to come together through a regional arena authority to construct a venue together.

However until now, no other discussions were had. Or at least none the public has known about.

“I should say there is a strong desire by other councils in other cities to try this regional arena approach at Military Circle,” Filer said. “If we are ever going to do this, this is probably our shot.”

Filer said he has kept neighboring cities in the loop about the process they are undertaking.

Norfolk is currently in negotiations with a group led by Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams and Virginia Beach-based Venture Realty to develop an arena anchored mixed-use community.

“I, as the city manager in Norfolk, am working on the overall development,” Filer said. “Where then the arena plays in. Then I am having conversations with others as to what role other cities may want to play in this.”

He said the arena will without a doubt be the “biggest public investment.”

However, in statements, both Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney and Chesapeake City Manager Chris Price said “no active discussions are taking place.”

“Chesapeake has explored and will continue to explore partnership opportunities with our sister cities in Hampton Roads,” Elizabeth Vaughn, a spokesperson for the City of Chesapeake, said.

Both Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer and Chesapeake Mayor Rick West said while Alexander has mentioned working together in the past, those discussions haven’t been recent.

“I’m not opposed to the discussion. But we haven’t been presented with anything yet,” Dyer said.

Regional cooperation in Hampton Roads has been a hot button issue in the past, but isn’t unheard of. The City of Williamsburg, James City County and York County are currently partnering in an effort to develop a sports center.

Filer said he hopes to have a better idea where the entire project stands in several weeks.