Virginia Beach council throws arena deal a lifeline

13News Now Eric Kane has the story

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- City council voted to extend the deadline for a private developer to secure funding for the proposed arena at the Oceanfront.

Mayor Will Sessoms got the super majority he needed, 9-1, to allow the private developer, United States Management, 60 days to secure another funding strategy for the project.

"One of the council members that changed their mind in support of the arena sees the need for the arena and perhaps wants to go about financing it a different way," Sessoms told 13News Now before the vote. "So I'm not throwing the towel in on the arena at this time."

On October 4 council rejected a new proposal from USM to build the 18,000-seat venue.

USM submitted its arena proposal in 2014. Council members approved a development agreement with the company in December 2015.

In June, USM proposed some changes to its private financing plan. The developer dropped a Chinese lender, choosing an American one instead. USM increased the size of the company’s loan. It originally proposed borrowing $170 million. Under the revised plan, USM would have borrowed up to $240 million. That amount included about $210 million for construction.

Although City Council agreed with this change, in principle, in July, it asked the developer to meet seven conditions.

USM failed to meet one of the seven conditions which required the company to finance the project with investment-grade bonds.  USM proposed contributing an additional $7.5 million in equity to the project. That was a change that the council members did not approve in October.


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