VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - The City of Virginia Beach and a private developer have reached an agreement for how Virginia Beach landmark the old Cavalier Hotel will be preserved.
"It's a very, very big undertaking," said Virginia Beach developer Bruce Thompson, with Gold Key PHR Hotels and Resorts. "It's probably the biggest undertaking we as a company have embarked upon."
Thompson, Mayor Will Sessoms and the rest of city council figured out the agreement late Thursday night. The city has released how the restoration and changes coming to the Old Cavalier Hotel will be paid for.
Thompson bought the hotel for $35 million dollars and announced earlier this week that he planned to restore the historic structure. He also plans to keep other parts of the property the same, including the lawn, the entrance from Cavalier Drive with the serpentine wall and the oceanfront beach club. Thompson announced earlier in the week he will either rebuild or make big changes to the 'new' Cavalier Hotel, located directly across the street.
The private investment over ten years will reach a total of $259 million dollars, including the purchase price. The city will contribute $13 million dollars right away and another five million over time.
Sessoms said that the city's contribution will come through grants, incentives, and money that's already been set aside.
"We're going to build a road, which that's what city's do. We're going to preserve some open space, which I'm happy to say in Virginia Beach we have an open space fund that will preserve the grand entrance to the hotel and the lawn. And that's a little over two million dollars," Sessoms said.
Sessoms told WAVY.com, he realizes there are people who do not think any city money should be used.
"The naysayers will say, 'why are you putting public money into this project?'" said Sessoms. "Well, in my opinion, we're making a good business decision for the city and we're preserving history."
City council will hold a final vote on the incentives package on July 2. Thompson's purchase of the property will close by July 22.
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