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Experience the LOVE of Virginia

Governor McAuliffe Announces New Tourism Development Financing Project in Newport News

Proposed City Center at Oyster Point Entertainment District to create 525 new jobs, projected tax benefit of more than $2 million

NEWPORT NEWS -- Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced the certification of City Center at Oyster Point Entertainment District Tourism Project, a project funded by the Commonwealth's Tourism Development Financing Program (TDFP). The program provides gap financing for larger-scale tourism development projects and is done in partnership with developers, localities, financial institutions, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and the Virginia Resources Authority. This is the second project approved under the Commonwealth's TDFP.

The four-component project reflects a total capital investment of more than $26 million dollars and a projected tax benefit of more than $2 million in its first full year of operation. Two of the components are already open for business. Once all four components are open, the project is estimated to create 525 new jobs.

The new businesses developed include:

* Toby Keith's I Love this Bar & Grill: 17,000 square foot live-entertainment venue and restaurant (open now);
* Tucanos Brazilian Grill: 8,000 square foot Brazilian churrasco restaurant (open now);
* Paragon Theater: 12-screen, all-digital, "affordable luxury" movie theater, which will also include two restaurants -Neo Kitchen & Bar, and My Pi Custom Pizza & Tap House (open May 2014);
* Travinia Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar: 7,000 square foot contemporary American-Italian restaurant (open July 2014).


The Virginia Tourism Development Financing Program works by allowing approved tourism projects to temporarily retain a portion of state and local tax revenue generated from the project, combined with a matching contribution from the developer to provide gap financing for up to 20% of the project's total cost.

"The multi-billion dollar tourism industry in Virginia is an imperative component of a robust and diversified economy, and provides thousands of valuable, important jobs across the state," said Governor McAuliffe. "The Tourism Development Financing Program helps increase tourism and new business in Virginia. The project announced today in Newport News will allow for more visitation in the city, and will bring greater economic growth and opportunity to the region."

"Virginia's travel and tourism industry is an instant revenue generator," said Maurice Jones, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade. "In 2012, visitors in Virginia spent $21.2 billion, supporting 210,000 jobs and contributing nearly $1.4 billion in state and local taxes. Governor McAuliffe and I will work hard to maximize the impact of tourism in Virginia and support the development of new tourism product, which is so critical to our economy.

"The City Center at Oyster Point Entertainment District will not only provide important economic development in the city of Newport News, it will also contribute to enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors alike. Today, Governor McAuliffe and I congratulate the city of Newport News on such an exciting new project that will bring good, quality jobs to the region."

"We are delighted that the City Center at Oyster Point Entertainment District project has been certified under the Commonwealth Tourism Development Financing Program," said Newport News Mayor McKinley L. Price, DDS. "This vibrant location, a proven success story with its office, residential and hospitality aspects, will be enhanced by the new restaurant and entertainment options. Tourism is an important part of our local, regional and state economy. The Entertainment District project will increase the number of visitors who come to our city, and will provide new and exciting options for our citizens and businesses. Always a leader in innovation and creation, Newport News continues to be a place where great things are happening."

For more information on the Tourism Development Financing program, please click here.

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Asif Bhavnagri

Office of Governor Terence R. McAuliffe
Press Special Assistant
804.971.8513
asif.bhavnagri@governor.virginia.gov

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