VIRGINIA BEACH, VA-While development of the highly anticipated new Virginia Beach Convention Center is still on target for full completion in December 2006, the project has just gotten an additional cash infusion to help it along the way. The City Council recently voted in favor of an additional $9 million for the more than 500,000-sf project, putting the facility’s new price tag over the $200 million mark at $202.5 million. The reason for the extra funds has everything to do with size and appearance.

“The project had been voted on in 2000 and had been allotted $193.5 million,” Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau spokesperson Pamela M. Lingle tells “In order to keep the quality items in terms of landscaping and interior amenities, we’ve gone back for more funding.” Perhaps one of the most important of the “special extras” the $9 million will buy is the$3.6 million increase of exhibit space from 142,000 sf to 150,000 sf. The remaining funds will be used for aesthetic purposes including skylights, about $1million worth of state-of-the-art lighting and wood paneling for the ballroom and $250,000 in additional landscaping. Specifications that were already in place include the 31,000-sf ballroom, nearly 30,000 sf of meeting space and parking facilities to accommodate up to 2,100 vehicles.

While the council has expressed its strong desire to move forward with the granting of additional appropriations, the community still has to weigh in on the matter. The council will conduct a public meeting on the extended funding next week on August 26. An official council vote will then take place sometime after the hearing.

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