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The Virginian - Pilot (Norfolk, VA.)



Virginia Beach arena development executives reiterated Feb. 28 they are "confident" they soon will have a loan commitment for the proposed $210 million sports and entertainment venue.

Time, again, is running out.

Beach-based United States Management, which has received two 60-day extensions from the city, has until March 8 to present a loan commitment for the long-gestating project, which would be built across from the convention center at the Oceanfront.

USM Chief Executive Officer Andrea Kilmer and USM Chief Financial Officer Valerie Wilkinson responded to questions in a joint statement via email.

"We have not yet submitted our commitment to the city, but we are confident we will do so before the deadline," Kilmer and Wilkinson stated.

USM has been working out loan details with an as-of-yet-unrevealed domestic lender outside of Virginia.

"Key liaisons with the city are aware of the lender's identity," Kilmer and Wilkinson stated. "The timing of that disclosure, however, will be dictated by the lender and has not yet been determined."

After years of town hall meetings and city council votes, meeting this deadline is more like racing to turn in a master's thesis on time - albeit one too thick to slide under the professor's door.

"There is no requirement for a formal vote so long as the city determines our commitment is generally consistent with the December 2015 agreement," Kilmer and Wilkinson stated.

In that agreement, USM was to get $170 million in financing and provide $40 million in equity for the project.

"Generally consistent" allows for leeway with the final numbers.

After submitting the loan commitment, USM would have until Sept. 7 to close the loan.

If all goes according to the developer's plans, the arena - which would be the largest in Virginia with 18,000 seats - would open in early 2019.

By Butch Maier

[email protected]

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March 6, 2017


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