VIRGINIA BEACH (AP) -- Virginia Beach has asked the state to commit to spending $150 million to help lure a pro sports team.
The city's economic development director wrote a letter Wednesday requesting the commitment from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
Warren Harris wrote that the state would need to contribute $70 million toward the construction of a $300 million arena. Another $30 million would be needed to pay the unnamed franchise's league relocation fee.
Another $42 million would be spent to offset the team's financial losses while it plays in a smaller, temporary arena while a new one is built at the Oceanfront. The other $8 million would be spent on moving expenses.
"I'm on the Appropriations Committee, and I can't imagine anybody voting to give us $150 million especially of where we're situated," said Delegate Bob Tata of Virginia Beach. "I mean, can you imagine somebody in Southwest Virginia voting for this?"
Tata believes the location of the proposed arena could be one of the biggest issues besides the amount, itself.
"You know, the General Assembly members are very parochial. They're sort of territorial, you know, and I just can't see them voting for, like, $150 million for us to start paying half or a third of a stadium or arena, and they'd say, 'Well, why not me?' or 'Why not us?'"
In the letter sent to VEDP, Harris wrote the project is "facing a significant and critical time crunch. In order to meet the prospective team’s operational and playing schedules, construction on the proposed new arena must begin in 2013. This means that state funding needs to be confirmed during the upcoming 2013 session of the General Assembly. Virginia Beach City Council was briefed on the state request at their meeting on November 27, 2012. Without financial participation from the Commonwealth, this project cannot move forward."
Peter Luukko, President of Comcast-Spectacor which is the driving force behind the project, is expected to make a presentation about the arena to City Council December 4.