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Virginia Beach city leaders, Pharrell Williams meet to talk next steps for the 'Atlantic Park' project

Councilman Linwood Branch said city leaders hope to break ground on the surf park and entertainment venue this fall, with Williams by their side.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A tweet is creating a lot of buzz online around the city of Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach native and musician Pharrell Williams shared a picture of himself meeting with leaders from the city this week.

The meeting happened in New York with Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney, Deputy City Manager Taylor Adams, Councilman Aaron Rouse and Councilman Linwood Branch.

City leaders said they talked about the Atlantic Park Project, also known as the Dome site, which is Williams’ brainchild.

“He is a great partner in our dome site, which is the largest public/private partnership in our city’s history as well,” Rouse said. “And I think it says something that we can sit down and have a conversation about continuing to move our city forward.”

The plan is to turn this space at the Oceanfront into a surf park and entertainment venue.

Branch said city leaders hope to break ground this fall with Williams by their side.

“He is a big part of this project because of his national and international contacts with all kinds of folks and retailers and everything,” Branch said. “He can bring a lot to this project, and he told us he was going to do it yesterday.”

Last October, Williams sent a letter to Virginia Beach city leaders. He wrote that the city has "toxic energy." He expressed disappointment with their response to the death of his cousin, Donovon Lynch.

Lynch was shot and killed by a police officer at the Oceanfront last year.

Following that letter, Williams decided to hold his Something in the Water Music Festival in D.C.

We asked Rouse if he thinks the music festival could come back to the beach.

“Well, I think what is important is Pharrell is here, he is still a major part of our city, and we had a great conversation,” Rouse said.

He said overall, the meeting led to a positive conversation and he is excited for the future of Virginia Beach.

“I think this just shows that obviously that Pharrell Williams is still committed to our city and we are committed to him,” Rouse said.

Next in the Atlantic Park project planning, Branch said city leaders are pricing things out and working on zoning the space.

Virginia Beach city council members approved the Dome Site development agreement in 2019. The project is expected to cost more than $300 million.

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