Tuesday, July 21, 2009

VBDA Unanimously Approves Purchase of Circuit City Property

This morning the Virginia Beach Development Authority (VBDA) unanimously approved the purchase of the former Circuit City property on Independence Boulevard, pending City Council approval and financing. What was intriguing was the discussion of the agenda item. On the one hand, the pending Pembroke Area Implementation Plan (which has it as a transit center), it's proximity to the Norfolk Southern Right-Of-Way, and Friday's Virginian-Pravda story were all mentioned. On the other hand, neither the terms "light rail" nor "transit center" were ever used. Instead, conversation focused on it's potential as an additional block to Town Center.

Very interesting. It's either a smokescreen or some kind of hybrid facility (like planned at the Dome site) is in the cards. (The entertainment center at the Dome site would have a transportation center on part of it's first floor.) With less than 3.8 acres of land, there's not much room to do much of both.

Speaking of the Done site, the VBDA granted developer Michael Jenkins a nine month extension in putting together a plan. Six months was the original motion, which was amended to nine. It would be a complex facility (with up to 47 entertainment components), plus the current financing market is tough.

On the convention center headquarters hotel, it was stated that the FAA had previously looked favorably on projects up to 180 feet in the area. Given such, the City wished to determine why the FAA was now asking for no more than 110 feet.

Finally, the group performing the Virginia Beach light rail study will come to the August VBDA meeting as part of their series of interviews with stakeholders.

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