Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms spoke to 1,000 business and community leaders and elected officials from Hampton Roads at the Chamber’s Virginia Beach State of the City luncheon on March 14 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
Mayor Sessoms applauded the city’s accomplishments and achievements from the past year. He was honored to tell the audience that, “The San Diego-based Green Flash Brewing Company will invest $20 million to develop its East Coast brewing operations. The 58,000 square foot facility will be located on nine acres in Corporate Landing and will employ 40 people.” The company’s co-founders Mike and Lisa Hinkley, as well as Brewmaster Chuck Silva and the Board of Directors, were at the luncheon. Read more in The Virginian-Pilot .
This year, the City of Virginia Beach is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The mayor explained that for the third year in a row, Virginia Beach is the only Hampton Roads city rated AAA by all three major bond-rating agencies.
The mayor also acknowledged LifeNet Health, which recently opened its new Institute of Regenerative Medicine in Princess Anne Commons next door to its global headquarters.
The city continues to grow. Sessoms said, “Just this week, the Governor and I officially broke ground to expand Town Center even more with a $105 million, 15-story, mixed-use tower.” He added “We’re close to signing a development agreement to bring in a new 380,000-square-foot, family friendly, year-round entertainment destination to the former Dome Site, a project destined to transform the resort area.”
Agriculture continues to play a vital role in Virginia Beach’s economy, with a yearly impact exceeding $120 million. New hotels, apartments and office space are coming to the oceanfront. Sessoms said, “Tourism remains a huge economic engine in Virginia Beach and in the Commonwealth as a whole.”
Speaking about transportation, the mayor mentioned the passing of the light rail referendum and his desire to having light rail in Virginia Beach. Sessoms noted that the city is building and re-building roads with its own money. And speaking about the Virginia General Assembly, said, “Thanks to the extraordinary leadership of Governor McDonnell, Senator Frank Wagner, Delegate Chris Jones and virtually every member of the Hampton Roads delegation, we finally have a state-wide transportation funding plan.”
The mayor addressed the city’s attempt in the last year to attract a professional sports team and arena. Sessoms said, “We continue to do so and will stay focused on this most significant initiative.”
The mayor thanked the military community, as well as first responders. He asked everyone in the room who responded to the F-18 crash that occurred on April 18, 2012. “Your planning, your heroism and your compassion make us all proud,” he said.
The mayor closed by saying, “I am happy to report that the state of the city is excellent.”
The Chamber thanks series sponsors: TowneBank (Presenting), Bon Secours Virginia Health System (Platinum), Cox Communications (Media) Farm Fresh, Inc., and Optima Health (Silver). The event’s Bronze sponsor was GEICO.