VIRGINIA BEACH -- No deal is done, but Virginia Beach City Council selected the proposal it wants to pursue at this time if an arena is to come to the Oceanfront.
Mayor Will Sessoms told 13News Now City Council members decided a privately financed plan by United States Management would be the better choice of the two proposals submitted to Virginia Beach.
USM wants to build the sports and entertainment complex for about $200 million dollars. Not only would it be financed privately, it also would be owned privately. In return, USM would receive millions of dollars in tax revenue annually to pay down its debt.
W. M. Jordan Company, which led another group interested in building an arena, put a proposal together that relied primarily on public funding. Under that plan, the City of Virginia Beach would retain ownership of the building.
The USM bid was considered to be less risky for taxpayers.
Sessoms said the Jordan proposal has been suspended for the time, while Council moves forward with negotiations with USM. He explained council members made their selection after discussion during closed session with Bill Rhoda, President of Conventions, Sports, and Leisure.
The firm had the task of evaluating each proposal and comparing them. Rhoda presented its findings earlier in the day Tuesday during an open session.
Although those negotiations with USM will proceed, they do not mean the arena -- which eventually could be home to a professional sports team -- will become a reality.
A major step in the process is expected to come in July when the City Council will hear how much Virginia Beach would have to pay to provide infrastructure for an arena, something the City would have to do under either plan.