Town Center

Town Center: a sophisticated blend of lifestyles.

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 ongoing mixed-use development encompasses more than 800,000 square feet of Class A office space, and 700,000 square feet of upscale retail, dining, and business-class hotels.

The development spans 17 city blocks and encompasses 25 acres midway between downtown Norfolk and the Oceanfront. It's home to the tallest building in Virginia, The Wes​tin Virginia Beach Town Center, the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, the Funny Bone Comedy Club, and Restaurant, and Zeiders American Dream Theater.

What is upcoming?

The construction of a Class A office tower (also known as Block 2 Office Tower) is planned for the last remaining block in Town Center. This 16-story, glass and brick addition, will add to Town Center 235,000 square feet of office space, additional retail, and parking for tenants and guests.

To date, Armada Hoffler invested nearly $500 million in the Town Center of Virginia Beach in addition to ​$108​ million of public investment.

The developer of Pembroke Mall is embarking on a multi-phased redevelopment plan for the 54-acre mall which will include 158 residential units, 126 independent living apartments, a new-to-market hotel brand as well as multi-family, upscale housing and high-rise office towers. This $160 million redeveloped project is expected to open in 2024.

Notable Facts (​2023​)​

  • Office: 813,241 square feet
  • Restaurants: 134,310 square feet
  • Retail: 401,776 square feet
  • Residential: 815​ ​units ​
  • Hotel Rooms: 562 (including 150 proposed Hampton Inn)
  • Free Parking: 4,616​

Source: City of Virginia Beach Economic Development

​Other major tenants in Town Center include Armada Hoffler, HBA Architects, Troutman Sanders, Clark Nexsen, Divaris, Mythics, Williams Mullen, Ruth’s Chris, and Apex Entertainment. Town Center’s success has also attracted a raft of new national retailers, including Anthropologie, lululemon athletica, Free People, Wegmans, West Elm, and DryBar.

It's been 24 years since the city and developers broke ground on Town Center. Today, Town Center generates more than $8 million a year in business taxes, which include a business license, business property, trustee, and general sales taxes. This project is an excellent example of a successful public-private partnership.

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.

Demographics Five-Mile Radius

Labor Force156,400
Median Household Income$70,944
Median Age35.5
High School/GED Graduate22.1%
Some college37%
Bachelor's Degree33.4%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2019 ACS

The city had zoned the area a central business district in 1973, but it wasn't until 1985 when the Central Business District Association (CBDA) brainstormed the concept plan for 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 district 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.
Town Center 1998

In 1989, the City Council hired a consultant to explore funding options. Then, in 1995, the city approved a zoning change in the district, allowing sidewalks with first-floor retail below offices and residences.

Although the city had planned a "downtown" project for decades, clearance of land and building construction did not begin until around 2000. The first building, the Armada Hoffler Tower, opened in 2003.

It's been 24 years since the city and developers broke ground on Town Center.

Town Center 2018

Today, Town Center generates more than $8 million a year in business taxes, which include a business license, business property, trustee, and general sales taxes. This project is an excellent example of a successful public-private partnership.

The City of Virginia Beach views the economic development process as more than a promotional program to attract new companies and expand existing businesses. Impinging factors on the city's tax base growth rate, static average salaries, and the dynamic nature of the local economy require strategic development decisions. To maintain fiscal vibrancy, the City of Virginia Beach has established growth goals, planned vibrant community centers, and implemented tactical initiatives to catalyze development activity. Utilizing predetermined guidelines, principles, and criteria, tax increment financing (TIF) has been a mutually beneficial development tool for the public and private sectors.

Tax increment financing is a revenue designation tool for participation in public-private partnerships (PPP). Spatially oriented, a TIF area is defined, and a portion of the real estate tax revenues are designated to a project. The projects can be located in rural, suburban, or urban areas. The areas can be future potential growth nodes; it can be in an emerging technological area; or it can contribute to a vibrant corridor. For a TIF to be defined, the project proposals must demonstrate a developer’s inability to completely fund "but for" public sector participation; the developer must be willing to enter into a mutually established agreement with the municipal government, and some portion of the project must be publicly beneficial for all. Without these guidelines, the project would not exist and would not create additional associated revenues (business license, meal tax, lodging taxes, etc.).

With tax increment financing, there is a base year for tax revenues; the base year revenues remain intact throughout the TIF period; and current city programs continue to operate. The basic designation process is:

  • A private-sector entity commits capital for a specific economic development project
  • The City of Virginia Beach determines whether the project meets the high criteria established to enter into a partnership (the TIF designation is not an entitlement)
  • If agreed upon, the City of Virginia Beach defines the TIF district (the district typically includes the project's land and could include surrounding parcels)
  • A baseline year is established to designate the start period
  • Taxes by all parcel owners in the TIF continue to be paid at the same rate as all citywide parcel owners
  • When the TIF real estate taxes are paid, the baseline taxes are subtracted from the total TIF real estate taxes, and the residual TIF real estate taxes are set apart for use
  • The TIF residual revenues are used to pay for the public portion of the project (usually the improvement is pay-as-you-go or annual debt service payments)
  • The TIF project is designed to catalyze other development, economic vitality, and benefits including increased area property valuations (wealth), additional job choices, diverse income possibilities, and increased educational, public safety, and recreational use funds.
  • If the real estate tax rate is increased, TIF baseline real estate tax revenues remain constant and the increased TIF revenues continue to be designated to the public project commitment (pay-as-you-go or debt service)
  • Once the City’s financial obligation is complete, the TIF period ends, and the TIF district is dissolved
  • Upon dissolution, all former TIF real estate tax revenues begin flowing back into its predefined fund

For current TIF potential, please contact the City of Virginia Beach Economic Development Department.

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