Reprinted from The Outer Banks Voice
An advisory committee unanimously voted July 8 to recommend to the Dare County Tourism Board a conceptual plan for a $17.6 million event center at the Soundside Event Site in Nags Head.
The Event Site Advisory Committee’s recommendation comes more than two years after the committee was formed to consider how to best develop the property.
The 48,275-square-foot event center would include a 26,000-square-foot event hall, 1,500-square-foot meeting room and a 2,800-square-foot catering kitchen.
Now, the plan will go before the tourism board July 15 during its special meeting. If the tourism board backs the plan, it will go before the Dare County Board of Commissioners during its Aug. 2 meeting. The project will also require various approvals and changes to the zoning ordinance by the town of Nags Head as well as state permits related to wastewater.
The plan does not include a hotel, a possibility that has been floated a number of times in recent years and had generated some resistance in the community.
“We can make the building help (existing) events, but it will be incredible to see what else can happen,” Outer Banks Visitors Bureau Executive Director Lee Nettles told advisory board members.
According to an updated economic impact and site feasibility study by the Johnson Consulting presented to at the meeting, the indoor center could be used for sporting tournaments, consumer shows, music events, trade shows, conferences and occasional conventions. One of the building’s features will allow an entire wall to be opened to the adjacent event lawn. The site will include 312 paved parking spaces and 266 undeveloped grass spaces.
The feasibility study states that 72% of the view of the Roanoke Sound from U.S. 158 will be preserved and the indoor event center and lawn are annually projected to generate $25 million in new spending, $1.1 million in tax revenue, 191 jobs, and $8 million in increased earnings.
The eight-member Event Site Advisory Committee includes Nags Head Mayor Ben Cahoon, Nags Head Commissioner and Tourism Board member Webb Fuller, Dare County Commissioner Rob Ross and others.
The event center could accommodate between 300 and 2,500 people and a maximum of 130 vendors, opening it up for events such as trade shows. And at the July 8 meeting, some advisory group members lauded the potential such a facility would offer.
“There are industry groups down here that would bring people, but we don’t have a site (in Dare County) that would accommodate local groups that would bring people in from the outside,” Fuller said.
For his part, Advisory Committee Member Ralph Buxton touted the concept, noting, “This is a big step in trying to figure out a use for this site…I really like the fact that there’s broader community use. The more we can encourage the use of this site, the more the public will support the expansion or development of the site.”
This story is provided courtesy of the Outer Banks Voice, a digital newspaper covering the Outer Banks. Coastal Review is partnering with the Voice to provide readers with more environmental and lifestyle stories of interest about our coast.