VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Developers partnering with the city to redevelop the former Dome property at the Oceanfront are technically now in default of their agreement, yet construction trailers have arrived on site and the mayor said the project is moving forward.

December 31 was supposed to be the day the development team closed on the construction loan for the sprawling $350 million project, which includes plans to bring a Wave Garden surf park to the 18th and 20th streets and between Pacific and Baltic avenues. The binding development agreement was originally approved in late 2019.

However, even after a year extension, the team — which includes Venture Realty, W.M. Jordan, and Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams — said there is still some work to do before that final closing.

While the City Council could now legally vote to end the agreement, Mayor Bobby Dyer said that won’t happen.

“The landscaping for financing has changed and then the complications with utility companies and everything, there are a lot of hurdles we had to overcome,” Dyer said. “I’m going to bank on the fact that this is going to be worth the effort.”

It all may sound Deja vu to Virginia Beach taxpayers. Similar talking points were said surrounding a public-private partnership to build an arena at the Oceanfront before City Council pulled the plug in 2017 when the same deadline was missed after several extensions.

However the big difference is Venture has all its equity, and Dyer said that is the difference for him.

W.M. Jordan construction trailers have arrived at a city-owned lot off 18th street at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront (WAVY Photo/Corby Slaughter)

“We have closed on our equity, we got all admin approvals and are actively working towards closing,” Michael Culpepper, a principal with Venture and one of the original brainchildren of the project, said.

Culpepper expects final loan documents to be executed in the next several weeks and construction could begin before that.

“It’s time to get to work,” Culpepper said.

Several W.M. Jordan construction trailers are now on-site at a city-owned lot off 18th Street.

W.M. Jordan construction trailers have arrived at a city-owned lot off 18th street at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront (WAVY Photo/Corby Slaughter)

The surf park is slated to be the main draw but plans also include a nearly 6,000-person indoor-outdoor entertainment venue, retail, restaurants, office space, and residential units.

Deputy City Manager Taylor Adams said they want to be ready for the 2024 summer concert season.

It’s the largest public-private partnership ever attempted by the city. The overall cost estimates have increased by roughly $20 million in three years, with the overall development now being eyed at $350 million. Taxpayers would fund roughly $110 million of the deal, picking up the cost of the Oak View Group operated entertainment venue, parking garages, and streetscape improvements.

Dyer said it is important the project gets completed as it will show the city can “get big deals done.” He said he, like many others, is frustrated with the timeline of events. Plans have been in the works since 2017.

“But I am confident that once this project is complete the public is going to embrace this big time,” Dyer said. “This will be a shining beacon that will bring people from all over.”