The Virginia Beach city council cast its vote yesterday on the revised financing plan proposed by its would-be arena developer, and the result was a resounding “most of us want it, but not enough to make for a supermajority, so it’s dead“:
The project needed the approval of at least nine of the 11 council members because it involves leasing 5.8 acres of city-owned land near the convention center to the developer for 60 years.
Eight members voted for the deal. Louis Jones, John Moss and Barbara Henley opposed it.
Henley said her no vote came down to losing control of the land for 60 years. Moss and Jones declined to comment.
While the council approved the original plan 10-1 last December, the developer’s decision to switch up its financing — putting in less cash, and relying more heavily on unrated bonds — apparently was enough to give two more councilmembers pause. We might be able to tell why from looking at what they said during the council debate, but much of that took place in secret, so everyone feel free to speculate wildly.
What we do know is that it would only take one councilmember switching sides to get this deal approved, so expect lots of horse-trading to be conducted in coming weeks to see what people’s price is. Mayor Will Sessoms has already declared that he plans to talk to Jones, Moss, and Henley to “see what it will take to get them on board”; maybe something shiny for their districts? You like shiny, don’t you?