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Public cost of proposed Virginia Beach arena: At least $52 million

The public cost of a proposed Virginia Beach arena could be at least $52 million, as city officials look at the hard costs of infrastructure improvements for the privately financed project.

A proposal from United States Management calls for the development firm to privately finance construction of an 15,500-seat arena, with the city paying for infrastructure improvements and turning over new tax revenue generated by the project. The report from engineering consultant Kimley-Horn details those costs of the proposed Virginia Beach arena for the City Council:

Costs range from $52 million for a basic parking, stormwater and street improvement concept to $78 million for a more elaborate plan that would widen roadways and improve key intersections. City Manager Jim Spore stressed that the estimates are bound to change over the next several months but said they provide a good benchmark of what to expect….

No decision is expected for several months, as the city will present it to taxpayers in public meetings. It also will continue working with Kimley-Horn to come up with a more exact final cost, and negotiations are ongoing with USM.

The presentation and handouts made it clear that the arena will be “18,000 seats” in name only, at least at first. It will open with 15,500 permanent seats, and at least 90 percent of events will draw 7,500 people or fewer, according to projections.

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