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The Virginian - Pilot (Norfolk, VA.)
After years of waiting, a project of this magnitude could not wait another day.
Virginia Beach-based United States Management, the developer of a proposed $300 million Oceanfront sports and entertainment arena, delivered a loan commitment document March 7, 24 hours before City Council's deadline.
USM did not disclose the identity of the two large banks but added details will be released after the loan letter is reviewed by the city.
Council members will meet with city staff in closed session Tuesday to discuss the document.
"We are confident that after the appropriate review by city officials, the approval of the loan commitment will be forthcoming, and USM will be able to proceed promptly towards loan closing," Andrea Kilmer, USM president and CEO, stated in a news release. "We are enthusiastic to elevate this project to the next level."
The price tag went to the next level when USM's news release touted the arena - which reportedly was to cost $210 million - as a $300 million project. The bigger figure includes the value of land provided by the city and the cost of infrastructure, a USM spokesman said.
Kilmer said the developer looks forward "to commencing construction this year, working in partnership with SB Ballard Construction, Clark Nexsen Architects and other Virginia Beach companies.
"We are very pleased that our more than three-year quest to build a world-class entertainment and sports arena, and bring new economic development and jobs and dreams of a lifetime to Virginia's largest city and finest region, is about to become a reality."
The loan commitment will be evaluated by the city's legal team to determine if it meets the criteria detailed in the December 2015 agreement approved by council.
That original agreement for a $210 million arena called for the developer to provide $40 million of equity and secure a $170 million loan from, at the time, a Chinese bank.
USM received two 60-day extensions from the city leading up to the March 8 deadline.
The arena will be privately financed, with the developer assuming all financial and operational risk, according to the release.
The venue will be constructed on a six-acre site across from the Virginia Beach Convention Center and will contain 15,000 permanent seats, with expansion capacity to 18,000, which would make it the largest arena in the state.
Once open, the arena is expected to host major concerts, sports events, family shows and business, civic, political and religious gatherings.
USM said construction likely will take two years.
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