NORFOLK, Virginia (WAVY) – Farrell Williams said he was in direct talks with two national sports leagues about the possibility of transferring the franchise to Norfolk, hoping the city would select its development team to repurpose the Military Circle mall.
Williams made comments Saturday afternoon after helping introduce the Wellness Circle to Norfolk City Council.
Williams is part of one of three teams battling rebuild 70-surplus acres of regional stores a mall in a “mixed-use community” and a “walk-through area”.
His offer includes the construction of more than 1,000 residential units, a hotel with 200 rooms, Yellow school (Williams ’nonprofit), medical offices and lots of greenery surrounded by a 1-mile footpath, all backed by a 15,000-seat arena.
“It’s going to be like the heartbeat of Virginia,” Williams said.
Williams is joined by more than two dozen other partners, including Venture Realty of Virginia Beach, which is a leading developer on Atlantic Park Project. Williams is also a partner in – Armada Hoffler Properties, Oak View Group and Live Nation.
Williams said he is confident the arena will work, even despite a previous attempt to build in Virginia Beach failed.
Before the deal near Oceanfront went up, there were rumors that the Sacramento Kings would consider moving to 757.
“Who wouldn’t want to have a franchise here in Norfolk,” Williams said. “We talked to two national leagues about franchises. Conversations that I can’t join now, but it looks very good. “
He said that regardless of whether the arena itself will be fully operational, as Live Nation is the world’s largest entertainment company, responsible for 85% of tours in the United States.
The arena will be designed by Sir David Ajay, who designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.
“Mass wood technology is the technology of the 21ststreet century, “Ajay said on Saturday.” We are moving away from steel and reducing our concrete footprint because we want an architecture that gives away, that absorbs CO2, that returns a much healthier environment and stimulates all citizens of the community really more. ”
Williams described the whole project as a hive where people from different economic backgrounds can live, study, work and play together.
His proposal stipulates that about $ 332 million of the $ 1.1 billion projects will be funded from public funds through project revenues and the creation of the Office of Community Development.
Developer teams led by NFL Hall of Fame member Emmit Smith and renowned local hotelier Bruce Thompson also looking for redevelopment of the property. Earlier in the week, they handed over their cases to the city council.
After the presentation, the City Council held a closed meeting to discuss the three proposals. The next step in this process is for city officials to make a formal recommendation to the city council and the development board.
Director of Economic Development Jared Chalk says he hopes it will happen by the end of spring.
“On the other side of this decision there is untapped potential,” Williams told board members, adding that he wants it to be a model community. “We’re achieving this, we’re going to scale this. I think Norfolk should be first. ”