8 AMERICAN CITIES MAKING BIG IMPROVEMENTS IN 2018

By Matt Meltzer

 

VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA: SURF PARK

 

Pharrell brings waves of energy to the Oceanfront Dome

 

For more than 20 years, the former site of the Oceanfront Dome music venue in Virginia Beach has sat as an oceanfront parking lot. The city views its development as the lynchpin in making VB a year-round tourist destination, and musician Pharrell Williams thinks he has the answer: a surf park. Last year, he and his partners entered into a deal with the city to develop a $20 million park as part of a $300 million retail development, where surfers can catch 6-foot artificial waves, 30 per hour.

 

Beyond the surf park, Virginia Beach has seen some other attractive new developments. The historic Historic Cavalier Hotel and Beach Club reopened this year, and after a $75 million restoration also opened the first distillery completely set in a US hotel at Tarnished Truth. Plans for a new 880-foot concrete pier jutting out from 15th Street are also in the works, complete with a Ferris wheel. Look for Virginia Beach within a few years to be considered a primo American beach destination, a jewel on one of the country’s most underrated stretches of coast.