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Virginia Beach surf park – the brainchild of superstar Pharrell Williams – moves forward

Virginia Beach surf park – the brainchild of superstar Pharrell Williams – moves forward
Atlantic Park 2022
Surf park
Virginia Beach surf park – the brainchild of superstar Pharrell Williams – moves forward
Virginia Beach surf park – the brainchild of superstar Pharrell Williams – moves forward
Virginia Beach surf park – the brainchild of superstar Pharrell Williams – moves forward
Virginia Beach surf park – the brainchild of superstar Pharrell Williams – moves forward
Posted at 6:47 PM, Mar 22, 2023

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Grammy Award-winning musician and Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams’ vision for Atlantic Park is coming into focus.

There are signs of progress for the multimillion-dollar project as construction crews lay the groundwork, rerouting the power at the site of the former convention center better known as the Dome.

“I think everybody should be excited for it,” said Mike Mauch of Virginia Beach.

The project will sit on the lots between 18th and 20th streets. The oceanfront parking lot has sat empty for nearly three decades. Now the site is one step closer to becoming a year-round destination known as Atlantic Park.

Plans call for retail, restaurants, apartments, and a live entertainment venue all centered around a state-of-the-art surf park.

Former Virginia Beach city councilman John Uhrin said he helped to bring the project to the city. He said the surf park will be transformative and highlight a big part of the city’s culture.

“Virginia Beach is where it all started,” said Uhrin. “Surfing started in Hawaii, went to California and the first surfboard that was ever ridden was here in Virginia Beach on the east coast. So, to have this, I think is unique but also, I think it speaks to the core of who we are as a community.”

Uhrin owns the Mermaid Factory and Schooner Motel at the Oceanfront. He said he’s looking forward to the parking lot getting new life.

“In order to really attract more people and to get to be more of a year-round destination, you’ve got to always be adding something new and something exciting and something that other markets aren’t offering, and I think this really fills that void.”

Mike Mauch is hoping to cash in on some of the extra foot traffic Atlantic Park is expected to bring to the Oceanfront. His restaurant, Harvest, is around the corner from the project site.

“We’ve got The Wave coming,” Mauch said. “I think the benefit it’s going to do is draw a different crowd of people that doesn’t otherwise come to this Oceanfront or maybe this city. The wave park itself is unique. It should have a draw from across the country and hopefully across the world.

Mauch also sits on the Resort Advisory Commission and said after five years of setbacks, the public-private partnership project is in the final stages of securing funding.

While no formal announcement has been made yet, the city dropped some hints Tuesday about inching closer to closing on the properties.

“We have made it with Atlantic Park,” said Virginia Beach Deputy City Manager Taylor Adams. “We’ll have more on this as closings are happening. I don’t want to get ahead of any announcements that are coming here but I just want to tell you it is an exciting day in Virginia Beach.”

The total cost of the project has been estimated at $325 million. There’s no word on if that’s changed.

News 3 reached out to the city spokesperson who said they can’t comment on the project at this time but expect to have more information in the coming weeks.