USM Unveils $200M Arena Plan for Virginia Beach

By the end of 2016, Virginia Beach could be home to a new, 18,000-seat multi-purpose entertainment and sports arena, able to host major concerts, sports tournaments, circuses, ice shows, monster truck rallies and many other events. But that’s only if the city accepts a conceptual proposal submitted on Monday, February

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Virginia Beach now has competing proposals to consider for an 18,000-seat sports and entertainment arena. On Feb. 17, a team led by United States Management submitted a plan to build a $200 million venue by 2016.

Its plan follows one for an 18,000-seat venue submitted last November by W.M Jordan Co. of Newport News.

United States Management, part of Virginia Beach-based ESG Companies, wants to develop the facility across 19th Street from the Virginia Beach Convention Center. The facility would feature suites, premium seating, LED-screen scoreboards and ribbon boards.

The design/build team includes AECOM Architects of Kansas City, Mo., Norfolk’s Clark Nexsen Architects, Minneapolis-based Mortenson Construction, SB Ballard Construction Company of Virginia Beach, and West Conshohocken, Pa.-based SMG.

The city of Virginia Beach would contribute land, parking spaces, offsite improvements, and related city services. USM is proposing to earmark 1% of the city’s hotel tax revenues to finance public infrastructure improvements. However, USM’s plan calls for construction to be financed privately. The city would not need to issue bonds or raise taxes on residents, according to USM.

In a statement, USM said that construction private financing will be provided by what it described as “banking interests in China.” The developers cited ties to those capital sources through China Machinery Engineering Corp. That Beijing-based company will provide construction management, help procure materials, and oversee the design/build team together with USM.

“At the request of the state, we spoke with CMEC about several potential projects in our area and mutually agreed that the arena would be the most viable and a good fit for our two firms,” said ESG Companies’ chief financial officer, Andrea Kilmer, in a statement. “We believe Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads region are ready for a world-class arena,” she added.

Photo credit: The ESG Companies