VB Atlantic Park unveils an updated look as development moves forward despite delays

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Developers behind efforts to bring a wave pool-anchored entertainment district to the oceanfront on Friday revealed updated renders of what the final product will look like.

Virginia Beach-based Venture Realty Group released two images. One shows a view of the complex as it would appear if you were looking west from where Pacific Avenue meets 19th Street. The other gives a closer look at the venue, aptly named “The Dome”.

The entire complex will stretch between 18th and 20th Streets and between Pacific and Baltic Avenues, a portion of land where the Virginia Beach “Dome” occupied 36 years prior to 1994.

It’s the largest public-private partnership ever attempted by the city, and it keeps moving forward, although a binding agreement can now be legally terminated.

A rendering on July 29, 2022 showed what Atlantic Park will look like in Virginia Beach at 19th St. and Pacific Ave. (Courtesy: Venture Realty Group)

The binding agreement between the city and the development team — which includes the Virginia Beach native alongside Venture Pharrell Williams — was approved at the end of 2019.

The massive Wave Garden surf park is set to be the main draw, but plans also include an indoor-outdoor entertainment venue for nearly 6,000 people, retail, restaurants, office space, and residential units.

However, not a single piece of dirt was moved on the main campus as the project fell victim to supply chain and inflation.

A rendering revealed on July 29, 2022 what the Atlantic Park entertainment venue will look like in Virginia Beach. It will be near where Artic Ave currently meets 20th St. (Courtesy: Venture Realty Group)

Total cost estimates have increased by approximately $20 million over three years, with total development now estimated at $350 million. Taxpayers would fund about $110 million of the deal and pay for entertainment venues, parking garages and streetscape improvements operated by Oak View Group.

Last November, the city extended the commitment date for developers outside of funding by five months: from December 31, 2021 to June 1 of this year. Closing of the home loan has been extended to December 31st.

The June 1 deadline was missed, giving the Virginia Beach Development Authority — the owner of the property — the right under the development agreement to exit the deal if it so chooses.

However, this was never suggested.

“The June 1 date was simply a waypoint established in our negotiations,” said Tiffany Russell, a spokeswoman for the City of Virginia Beach. “Our ongoing partnership allows for great progress – we are on track to complete the pre-development phase in the near future and our development partner is close to finalizing the construction documentation.”

On Friday, Donna MacMillan-Whitaker, Venture Realty’s founder and managing partner, said they still “anticipate closing this fall.” A possible groundbreaking could take place before the end of the year.

Mayor Bobby Dyer said he doesn’t think the public-private partnership is in danger of failing The proposed oceanfront arena did this a few years earlier.

In this case, The project fell apart when the city claimed the developer hadn’t completed its loan at the 11th hour, after several similar extensions of the funding period.

But unlike the arena, which was a one-dimensional complex, Atlantic Park is a mixed-use entity. A stage 2 promises experience trading.

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