Pharrell speaks in front of VB City Council to support proposed Dome site redevelopment

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Pharrell Williams had some people surprised when he walked into City Council chambers Tuesday night.

“Welcome, Pharrell,” said Mayor Bobby Dyer as the 46-year-old musician, artist and entrepreneur approached the speaker podium.

The Virginia Beach native was there to give insight on why he believes the city should approve the proposed plan to redevelop the former Dome site.

Atlantic Park — as Williams named it — is a $325-million mixed-use, multi-venue development that is proposed for the former Virginia Beach Dome site, which is located between 18th and 20th streets at the Oceanfront. The proposal includes plans to build a 3,500-seat music venue, surf park, restaurants, office space and residential units.

“I’m nervous because this is new,” Williams said, looking around at the 11-person council. “I have a whole bunch of people behind me and this a whole other thing.”

Williams is working with the Venture Realty Group who, up until this point, did all the public presentations on the project. They anticipate the project could have close to an $8.2 million fiscal impact each year. Annual revenue distributions would include $1.9 million to Virginia Beach City Public Schools, $2.8 million to the city’s general fund and $3.5 million to the City’s Tourism Investment Program fund.

“This dome site is going to ignite more excitement for more people to do more things,” Williams told council. “Perfect opportunity to show people that we are open for business. We want people to see we are that star destination for that entire East Coast.”

Tuesday’s public hearing precedes a formal vote on the 114-page development agreement next week.

“In the interest of that word ‘we’ I would like for ‘we’ to vote next week to push this thing through. ‘We’ — Can we do that right?” Williams said to council as some in the chamber clapped.

Correction: An earlier version of this article indicated a supermajority vote was needed. That is incorrect and WAVY-TV regrets the error.

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