​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Town Center

At the heart of Virginia Beach's Central Business District, the Virginia Beach Town Center is an eclectic urban mix of business, entertainment, cultural and retail facilities.

Town Center, an emerging downtown core in the heart of Virginia Beach’s Central Business District, features a vibrant urban mix of upscale retail, Class A office space, luxury residential units, entertainment, and cultural facilities. The 25-acre development spans 17 city blocks. Town Center includes more than 800,000 square feet of Class A office space, 700,000+ square feet of upscale retail, dining and business-class hotels.

Notable Facts (May 2016)​
  • Office: 814,736 sf
  • Restaurants: 117,807 sf (19 total)
  • Retail: 190,459 sf
  • Residential: 804 units
  • Hotel Rooms: 412 rooms​
Among the notable businesses that call the area home is The Westin Virginia Beach Town Center - Virginia’s tallest building. Other major office tenants in Town Center include Armada Hoffler, HBA Architects, Troutman Sanders, Clark Nexsen, and Williams Mullen. Town Center’s success  has also attracted a host of new national retailers, including Anthropologie, lululemon athletica, Free People and West Elm.
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Demographics​​​

Population within a 20-minute drive

Population668,903
Households260,536
Median age35.0
Median household income$51,472
Per capita income$28,055​

​​Source: ESRI Community Analyst Online, June 2016 Data



 Why Town Center

What is the idea behind this plan?

This is a new kind of development for the city that will provide high-salaried businesses and upscale retailers with the unique environment needed to provide goods and services here. Essentially a business park for 21st century jobs, it will be a different level of civic design, more activity-oriented, and broader in scope and feel than any other area of the city. It will have a pedestrian orientation, round-the-clock use, and both commercial and residential elements in close proximity.

Why is the city interested in achieving a different type of development?

Number one, there's tremendous potential here to contribute to the quality and variety of our city and to increase our tax base. When you look around for well-located land for commercial development, this piece stands out.

Number two, the Pembroke area is very dynamic; in other words, it's not going to stay the way it is now. It's either going up or it's going down, in quality and in value. It's quite possible the Pembroke area could decline because of the advanced age of some of the buildings in the area. If we do nothing, and just let it age, we're likely to see deterioration in quality and in value, and the tax base will be eroded.

Granted, the real estate assessments for the area as a whole continue to rise, but this might have less to do with the current value than with the potential value. The opportunity to do something positive in Pembroke is what continues to drive those property values higher.

Why should the city use public funds for this project?

The significant economic benefits of developing this property at our desired level of quality-and, in all probability, preventing its decline-will not occur without public participation.

The project is the most recent example of the city creating an economic development park. Past examples, like Oceana West Corporate Park, have provided needed sites for quality job growth and have contributed significant benefits to all taxpayers.

The public role here is no different than in previous parks: assembling the land and building the necessary streets, utilities and other public improvements. The city is not subsidizing the private buildings proposed for construction. In fact, the private development-through the Tax Increment District and a Special Tax District-will repay the city for the land and the construction and the operation of the public parking structures.

Will this become "downtown" Virginia Beach?

The Town Center project is not the same as the historical notion of a "downtown" area. When you study cities and what caused them to form, you'll see that downtown areas, as we know them today, were all formed by pressures and forces that don't exist now.

One of Virginia Beach's strategies is to look at the northern part of the city and to identify the areas that have the most potential for fostering economic vitality, and to be active in stimulating desirable development in those areas, while maintaining the unique characteristics of the other parts of the city. The areas with potential for higher levels of development are the oceanfront, the Lynnhaven Parkway corridor, Pembroke and the Northampton Boulevard area.

Therefore, while the Town Center won't be a traditional "downtown," it will be an exciting, high-quality, identifiable focus and gathering place for Virginia Beach citizens.

The Town Center project fits in with the Comprehensive Plan

It produces economic vitality, creating wealth in increased land values and capital investment in private infrastructure as well as new jobs at a variety of skill and income levels. It produces a unique development form, a departure from the sameness of the past. It uses private-sector initiative coupled with a revised set of development standards designed especially to produce a high-quality area. Through a creative public-private partnership, we enable the private sector to strive forward to higher quality and higher levels of investment, and the public reaps the benefits of that effort. By intensifying development in limited areas in the northern part of the city where it is appropriate to intensify, we reduce pressure on our land use patterns that call for preservation of open space and rural uses in the southern part.​

 Physical Details

​​PHASE I:
Block 4
254,000 SF Office Tower
469,000 SF Parking Garage (1284 spaces)
18,000 SF Hampton University
67,000 SF Surrounding Office
42,000 SF Surrounding Retail

Block 5
18,000 SF Towne Bank
100,000 SF Hilton Garden Inn (176 rooms)
968,000 SF Total for Phase I
  • $75 million private investment for Phase I
  • $29 million public investment

PHASE II:

Block 10
416,000 SF Apartment Building (341 units)
292,000 SF Public Parking Garage (856 spaces)
20,000 SF Plaza
48,000 SF Surrounding Retail

Block 12
88,000 SF Dick's Sporting Goods
199,000 SF Public Parking Garage (574 spaces)
18,000 SF Surrounding Retail

Block 3
97,500 SF 3-story Retail & Office above

Block 8
49,000 SF 2-story with Mezzanine Retail & Entertainment
20,800 SF Public Plaza
1,248,300 SF Total for Phase II
  • $90 million private investment for Phase II
  • $26 million public investment

PHASE III:

Block 5
77,600 SF Office (5 stories)
19,400 SF Retail

Block 6
59,382 SF Condominium Residential (56 units)
12,300 SF Retail

Block 7
344,166 SF Public Parking Garage (947 spaces)
240,000 SF Condominium Residential (119 units)
183,780 SF Westin Hotel (236 rooms)
20,000 SF Conference Center
40,351 SF Retail
996,979 SF Total for Phase III
  • $173,000,000 private investment for Phase III
  • $28,800,000 public investment

PHASE V

213,000 SF Office Tower
23,000 SF Retail
950 Parking Spaces 

ADDITIONAL PHASES

Block 2​ ​

350,000 SF Office Tower

PHASE VI

Block 9 (proposed)

33,000 SF Retail
17,000 SF  Theater
5,000 SF Restaurant
+/- 120 Apartments




 Tax Increment Financing

The City of Virginia Beach views the economic development process as more than promotional programs to attract new companies and expand existing business. The slowdown in the rate of growth of the city's tax base, the reality of static or declining average salary levels, and the change in the nature of growth mean that to maintain a vibrant economy the city needs to induce development in certain areas and actively shape growth to more closely align with the city's goals. One tool identified for use in this process is "Tax Increment Financing," which is only applied once strict benefit criteria are met.

Tax Increment Financing is a financial technique intended to stimulate positive economic activity within and possibly adjacent to a designated geographic area, usually an area that has limited growth potential "but for" the public participation. In essence, it allows cities to segregate incremental (or new) real estate taxes generated mainly by a specific development project to pay for public improvements associated with the project.

With Tax Increment Financing, no current tax dollars are involved, and the initiative does not come at the expense of funding for current city programs. This is how it typically works:

  • A private-sector entity commits its own capital for its share of a specific economic development project.
  • The city creates a TIF district which includes the project's land and possibly land of a surrounding area. The assessed values of real estate within the district as of a certain date are established as the "baseline." Taxes on the baseline continue to be paid to the city to support its operations.
  • Under the TIF, the city agrees to fund its share of the project - normally public infrastructure or other assets for public benefit, such as a public parking garage - from the taxes on the increased assessed values over the baseline that are generated primarily as a result of improvements to the real estate within the TIF district. These funds derived from the TIF can be used to fund the project on a pay-as-you-go basis or to pay debt service on bonds issued to finance the improvements.
  • While there could be some "natural" tax growth within the TIF district, which would be captured by the TIF to fund the project, increases in other taxes both inside and outside the district stimulated by the TIF project are expected to offset this to the benefit of the general tax base. Benefits include increases in assessed value of property that would not have occurred otherwise, additional jobs, increases in per capita incomes and additional tax revenues available for schools, public safety and other needs.
  • If the real estate tax rate is increased in the future, revenue from the baseline going into the General Fund and revenue above the baseline available to pay the city's obligation are increased.
  • The TIF period can be ended when the incremental revenue pays off the city's obligation. The TIF district can then be dissolved. Once the TIF is ended, all real estate tax revenues - including the increased incremental revenue that otherwise would not have been achieved - go into the General Fund and become available for city and school programs. TIF applies only to incremental real estate taxes. Increases in other tax revenues (e.g., the 1% local sales tax, business license fees, personal property tax on equipment and fixtures, utility taxes, and amusement and meal taxes) help fund regular city and school programs even before the TIF is dissolved. This revenue would not be available if the project did not occur.
  • Real estate tax rates of property owners within the TIF district are not changed in any way by the establishment of the TIF mechanism.
  • If only the TIF revenues are pledged, the city does not use its reserves, charter debt capacity or existing operating funds for the project.​​

 Town Center Phase VI

​​Plans have been approved for Phase VI Block 9

City Council approved plans for Phase VI of the Virginia Beach Town Center ​which features mixed-use development with retail space, a restaurant, a performing arts theater, apartments, and a public plaza. The project represents more than a $41 million investment and will generate surplus tax revenues to the general fund. 

The new development will be built on the tempo​r​ary surface parking lot bounded by Central Park Avenue and Commerce Street, Columbus and Market streets. In addition to ground-level retail and a second-floor restaurant, the project will add 120 highly sought-after studio and one-bedroom apartments to the neighborhood.

The Zeiders Theater will seat around 300 people. It will provide young and emerging artists with a place to showcase their work and improve their craft.​​​​​​​​

View the entire presentation and a video describing the project below:

Town Center P​hase VI Presentation

Town Center Phase VI Video Overview

Town Center Phase VI Ter​m Sheet​

 Town Center Phase V

Phase V of Town Center encompasses a-15-story office tower, 290 apartments, 23,000 square feet of retail, and approximately 950 parking spaces in a structured garage.​​

For a copy of the presentation delivered to the City Council and Virginia Beach Development Authority, along with amendments made to the development agreements, click on the links below.