VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WAVY) — A developer looking to build a multi-million dollar entertainment complex and surf park at the Oceanfront asserts the project would transform the culture of the resort area.
“We think there is a direct relationship between the conditions of the buildings and businesses at the Oceanfront and the behavior that we currently see and that we read about on Monday morning, ” Michael Culpepper told a joint meeting of Virginia Beach City Council and the Virginia Beach Development Authority on Tuesday.
Culpepper is managing partner of Venture Realty. His company, with backing from rapper and Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams, has exclusive rights to develop on the long-vacant dome site.
Culpepper’s comment was made the day after a 26-year-old was stabbed at a bus stop, just off the proposed 10.2 acre development site.
“People have a concern with the types of businesses they see at the Oceanfront,” Culpepper told 10 On Your Side. “T-Shirt shops and beach stores have their place… but perhaps those aren’t the elements that are going to bring people back to the oceanfront.”
Rather, Culpepper believes the $337.8 million “The Wave” project, could help calm Oceanfront visitor fears about crime. This development would attract a new crowd, according to Culpepper.
“Create something that is new vibrant and different,” Culpepper said, “that will attract not only visitors from outside Virginia Beach but folks who live in the City of Virginia Beach that doesn’t come to the Oceanfront anymore.”
The facilities 3,500 person entertainment venue will be named “The Dome” and will include architectural features that pay homage to the venue that sat on the land from 1958-1994, Culpepper announced Tuesday.
In addition, Culpepper also announced that indoor attractions, such as a National Geographic virtual reality experience, is currently being courted to fill 60,800 square feet of retail space.
Finally, Culpepper announced the lagoon for the surf park would now be three acres instead of two.
“We want to invite everyone back to the beach,” Culpepper said.
The City Council met in executive session following briefings on the impact the proposal could have on the area.
“If we reach terms, goal would be to recommend development agreement for council and VBDA this fall,” Hill said.
Ron Williams, deputy city manager, told WAVY.com in January the city would likely pay for parking and landscaping. Culpepper says the music venue would also be at the city’s expense.