VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Public comment still needs to be taken and considered, but as we first reported on Monday, the momentum is for keeping Building 2 at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. It would come with some type of memorial to make sure the May 31 mass shooting is never forgotten.
In a City Council work session led by Virginia Beach Facilities Engineer Tom Nicholas, he laid out all the pros and cons of the three options from a Powerpoint titled “The Path Forward.”
Option 1 — $144.5 million: A City Hall all under one roof, and Building 2 demolished. Completion: fall 2025
Option 2 — $129 million: A new $50 million City Hall is constructed, and Building 2 is kept. However it’ll be gutted on the inside before Police Headquarters is moved to Building 2.
All departments in Building 2 will be moved to the current police building 11, and the current City Hall. Everyone in the current City Hall will move to the new City Hall, which will be behind the current City Hall.
Virginia Beach is looking at four new buildings, if you include the massive refurbishing of the current buildings. Final Completion: summer 2023.
Option 3: Much like Option 2, but it costs $133 million, with completion in the fall of 2023.
Option 2 is recommended for Council to approve by City Manager Dave Hansen because it saves Building 2 from demolition. It’s too valuable an asset says Hansen. “If you wanted to demo Building 2, which is worth $20 million as an empty shell … it is not asbestos-encased like [City Hall], so you do not want to demo Building 2.”
Councilman Michael Berlucchi is thinking about those who died and worked in Building 2. “The trauma and the pain that they have experienced, we need to consider that. And any plan moving forward, that has to be a primary consideration.
Berlucchi and all of council resolved to the fact that no one in Building 2 on May 31 should ever have to go back. Hanson, cognizant of that too, is for taking Building 2 down to the studs and gutting it.
“And to put it to rest the next morning. We will come in and have a sunrise service and redesignate it as Building 531, in memory of what happened on May 31.”
Councilwoman Jessica Abbott agrees with keeping Building 2. “I think renovation is the best. It will be cost prohibitive tearing it down completely. It does need to be revamped and make it as comfortable as we possibly can for the people inside.”
“I would like to hear from my peers, but also the public as well,” said Councilman John Moss. “I agree with Councilwoman Abbot, refurbishing Number 2 is a good option.”