The Oceanfront Cavalier Hotel project is $25 million over budget and won’t be ready by April, Bruce Thompson said Thursday.
Thompson presented the resort’s parking and infrastructure proposals to the Virginia Beach Resort Advisory Commission Thursday.
“This project is turning out to be a true act of philanthropy rather than a good business deal,” he said. “But I’m proud to be a part of the future and history of Virginia Beach.”
Thompson has been working with city officials to improve access to the resort property and accommodate the re-creation of the hotel’s historic grand lawn that once extended all the way to the ocean.
Sacrifices would have to be made for this to happen, including loss of several public parking spaces and a complete redevelopment of Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Avenue, but Thompson said he is working to address the community’s concerns.
One of the biggest concerns with the project is traffic congestion near the resort entrances. Thompson has proposed the integration of eight additional traffic lanes inside of the resort complex, a move that would get the hotel’s visitors off of the main road faster, but also increase the cost of the project by another $1 million.
The new lanes would be paid for privately, while traffic lights and intersection work would cost $2.5 million and be paid for by the city.
All resort parking would take place within the property, including employee parking, Thompson said. Traffic would also drop to 25 mph on Atlantic Avenue.
So far, Thompson said he has garnered support from most of the nearby community, including Ocean Hills, Oceans Condominiums, and the North End Civic League, but continues to work with Cavalier Shores to understand their issues with the project.
“It might be an impossible situation. It seems like every time I solve one of their concerns it creates a problem for someone else,” he said. “They seem to be fighting among themselves so it’s hard to get consensus from them.”
The project was expected to be completed this April, a time frame that the Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission noted would coincide with the settlers’ “first landing” in April 1607.
The commission discussed the possibility of merging the grand opening of the hotel with the 410th anniversary of 1607, but based on the the current status of the project, Thompson said the hotel’s opening will likely be pushed back to mid-summer.
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