Public Private Partnerships Help Build New Tourism Product

Virginia Beach invests in public private partnerships to add value, economic vitality and quality of life to our community. These projects also help Virginia Beach remain a competitive option for tourism, as consumers often look to discover what’s new in a destination before making a decision to visit (or return). In tourism-speak, we call these projects “demand drivers-” projects that generate new visitation or spend to an area because that product exists there.

Here are just a few example of successful initiatives and the return on investment on those projects.

As a resident, you’ve probably utilized it yourself for a symphony concert, a non-profit 5K fundraiser or even a church service. In Virginia Beach, the 31st Street project was a $31.7 million dollar public investment in a park, restrooms and a parking garage that leveraged a $41.5 million dollar private investment.  From that, the City receives more than $4 million dollars each year.  Additional development surrounding that area has resulted in a complete revitalization of that popular corridor to compliment King Neptune himself.

Overnight visitor profile studies show that many tourists staying at the oceanfront visit Town Center for entertainment, dining and shopping — which makes this development a win-win for residents AND tourism.  According to overnight visitor profile studies conducted by Continental Research, Town Center is one of the top four activities visitors do on their Virginia Beach vacation. The total private investment in Town Center was $487 million dollars.  The public investment was $108 million (a 4.5 to 1 ratio). The latest phase alone has a private to public investment ratio of 10 to 1 — $48 million dollars of private investment and $3.9 million in public funds.  We are excited to welcome Zeiders American Dream Theatre, apartments and more in 2018 to this popular shopping, dining and retail corridor.

No one forgets an amazing concert – and maybe you can instantly recollect one you attended. In 1996, the City invested $10.5 million dollars in the Virginia Beach Amphitheater, and a private partner spent $7 million dollars. During the first 20 years, six million patrons have attended about 600 events there.  Since it opened, the City has earned its investment back more than twice over. Get your sunblock and dancing moves ready: check out the latest concert lineup here.

Most recently, Virginia Beach welcomed the revitalization of the historic Cavalier, which thanks to a public-private partnership is expected to recover the City’s investment and receive an estimated $65 million dollars in revenue over the next 20 years. Visiting a historic landmark is considered the number one activity visitors think they can do in Virginia Beach, according to Wakefield Research reports (March 2018). With the hotel’s fame hosting 10 presidents and Jeffersonian-inspired architecture, the Cavalier will continue to be a sought-after historical destination for several decades to come.

Finally, partnerships with foundations have also helped support our community:

  • $12.5 million dollars was raised from private donations to help build the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts
  • Virginia Aquarium Foundation contributed $9 million dollars to create the popular Restless Planet exhibit and $5 million dollars to expand the Aquarium in 1996.

So next time you party at the ampitheater, meet a mermaid, take a selfie on the Cavalier steps or buy a birthday gift at Town Center, please remember that it was made possible thanks to these public developments that may not have occurred otherwise without private support.