After months of pursuing the dream of an $300 million arena at The Oceanfront, Virginia Beach, Va. won't be building one for a while.
According to The Virginian-Pilot, Virginia Beach mayor Will Sessoms announced that the city will suspend its arena project. He set a deadline that passed yesterday for the anchor tenant, believed to be the Sacramento Kings, to agree to a lease with arena operator Comcast-Spectacor or the city would drop the project.
The mayor doesn't see a "clear opportunity" to pursue an arena:
“The city is kind of withdrawing,” Sessoms said. “We’re not doing any more consultants, lawyer or lobbying.”
Even though the project is dead, Comcast will continue to negotiate with the prospective anchor tenant. The Kings have held their silence regarding Virginia Beach's arena project:
A spokesman for the family that owns the Kings, the Maloofs, said in a statement, “The announcement today from Virginia Beach does not change our long-held position that we will not comment on rumors or speculation about the franchise.”
The Maloofs almost brought the team to Anaheim before Sacramento convinced them to stay. The city was close to getting a new arena in an attempt to keep the Kings and revitalize the downtown area, but the Maloofs turned it down.
With no new arena in sight for the Kings, the franchise will be always be a target for cities looking to bring in a professional team. For now, at least Virginia Beach can be put to rest.