A bill that would help facilitate construction of a new Norfolk arena has taken a step forward, clearing a state senate committee.
Norfolk is currently served by Scope Arena (pictured above), an aging venue in the city’s downtown that hosts minor-league hockey’s Norfolk Admirals (ECHL), among other uses. To help build a newer arena that could draw more events to the city, legislation has been introduced by state senator Lynwood Lewis to give Norfolk certain powers relating to the construction of a new venue. As part of the legislation, Norfolk would be able to issue bonds to construct the arena, then receive state sales and use tax revenue attributable to the venue to help repay those bonds.
The Virginia Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee voted to advance the bill this week, allowing discussions to continue. Should it eventually receive all necessary approvals, the bill could help Norfolk officials in their effort to build a modern indoor venue that can be a draw for sporting and entertainment events that they say the city currently cannot attract. More from WAVY.com:
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“So, we are missing shows here that we otherwise would be getting. So, we have a great portfolio of outdoor entertainment venues and we’re kind of missing an indoor venue,” said Norfolk City Manager Larry “Chip” Filer.
Legislation that cleared the senate committee is separate from a similar bill recently introduced by another Virginia lawmaker, which proposes taking a more regional approach to building a new arena in Hampton Roads. The region–which includes cities like Norfolk and Virginia Beach–is currently served by aging sports and entertainment venues, as the Scope opened in 1971 and nearby Hampton Coliseum arrived on the scene two years earlier.
Image courtesy Norfolk Admirals.