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Virginia Beach pushes ahead with pursuit of arena
Virginia Beach pushes ahead with pursuit of arena

The City Council voted 9-2 Tuesday night to keep exploring a deal to build an 18,500-seat arena near the Oceanfront that could be home to a professional basketball team, which sources have identified since August as the NBA's Sacramento Kings.

The nonbinding vote signals support for the framework of the current proposal, which includes $241 million in city money, $150 million in state money and $35 million from the sports and entertainment company Comcast-Spectacor. Comcast, which would lease and operate the arena for 25 years, is negotiating with the team to move to Virginia Beach.

Council members downplayed Gov. Bob McDonnell's decision announced Friday not to include money for the arena in his next budget.

"None of us around this table expected" him to add that to the budget, Councilman Glenn Davis said at the afternoon work session. He said the governor has indicated support for the project but could not back it without seeing more details.

City officials said that for the project to move forward, a deal will need to be in place by the start of the General Assembly session in early January. Legislators could then vote on whether to issue the $150 million in bonds requested by the city. So far, legislators have had mixed reactions to the plan.

City officials have said revenue from the arena would cover the cost of borrowing the money for it.

The cost of the arena is estimated at $346 million, plus $80 million to help the team relocate.

City officials said Tuesday that additional costs are likely. City Attorney Mark Stiles has retained a Richmond law firm to help the city on the project. He said that cost will depend on how far the deal progresses. An arena consultant may also be asked to do more work. The city and its economic development authority have committed about $1 million so far.

Councilmen Bill DeSteph and John Moss were the two "no" votes. They said they lack confidence in the numbers used to project arena revenue and would like to see Comcast put in more money.

If a deal is reached and the General Assembly supports it, the City Council would likely vote on it in February or March.

Aaron Applegate, 757-222-5122, aaron.applegate@pilotonline.comBy Aaron Applegate

The Virginian-Pilot

Virginia Beach

The City Council voted 9-2 Tuesday night to keep exploring a deal to build an 18,500-seat arena near the Oceanfront that could be home to a professional basketball team, which sources have identified since August as the NBA's Sacramento Kings.

The nonbinding vote signals support for the framework of the current proposal, which includes $241 million in city money, $150 million in state money and $35 million from the sports and entertainment company Comcast-Spectacor. Comcast, which would lease and operate the arena for 25 years, is negotiating with the team to move to Virginia Beach.

Council members downplayed Gov. Bob McDonnell's decision announced Friday not to include money for the arena in his next budget.

"None of us around this table expected" him to add that to the budget, Councilman Glenn Davis said at the afternoon work session. He said the governor has indicated support for the project but could not back it without seeing more details.

City officials said that for the project to move forward, a deal will need to be in place by the start of the General Assembly session in early January. Legislators could then vote on whether to issue the $150 million in bonds requested by the city. So far, legislators have had mixed reactions to the plan.

City officials have said revenue from the arena would cover the cost of borrowing the money for it.

The cost of the arena is estimated at $346 million, plus $80 million to help the team relocate.

City officials said Tuesday that additional costs are likely. City Attorney Mark Stiles has retained a Richmond law firm to help the city on the project. He said that cost will depend on how far the deal progresses. An arena consultant may also be asked to do more work. The city and its economic development authority have committed about $1 million so far.

Councilmen Bill DeSteph and John Moss were the two "no" votes. They said they lack confidence in the numbers used to project arena revenue and would like to see Comcast put in more money.

If a deal is reached and the General Assembly supports it, the City Council would likely vote on it in February or March.

Aaron Applegate, 757-222-5122, aaron.applegate@pilotonline.com

For original article, click here.  

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