NAVAL AIR STATION OCEANA (WAVY) — It almost looks like an abandoned movie set: 113 acres of horse stables inside the fenceline that evoke the past will actually link NAS Oceana to its future.
“We’re building something special here that I think will become a hallmark for not only the Department of the Navy, but the Department of Defense,” said Rear Adm. Chip Rock, commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.
Penned in by so many nearby waterways and other barriers, the city is looking for room to roam when it comes to revenue.
“Virginia Beach in a lot of ways is running out of land,” said Mayor Bobby Dyer, one of the featured speakers at an Industry Day gathering of about 150 Wednesday morning at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
The Navy is offering up the land to attract defense-related businesses that will lease it by providing in-kind services to the base.
The horse stables are along Oceana Boulevard and the facility closed in 2019 after revenue declined and maintenance costs increased.
“We want to ensure that the businesses that come in that are attracted to our parcel are compatible with what we do on the installation, and are compatible with national defense,” said base commander Capt. Robert Holmes.
Dyer says the city can harness the power of new high-speed data cables to attract firms that could help Oceana.
“We were told with the new technology that they could take every motion picture ever made in history and transport it from Europe to here in 42 seconds,” Dyer said, and mentioned the “plethora of opportunities that we’re gonna have in the areas of cyber security, naval intelligence that we could potentially put on this property.”
The stables are just step one in the overall plan. As many as 1,300 more acres could be up for lease, and Oceana is working with Dominion Energy to leverage its offshore wind power project.