Arts/Entertainment/Sports: PHARRELL WILLIAMS
ENTERTAINER, PRODUCER AND ENTREPRENEUR, MIAMI/VIRGINIA BEACH
Virginia Beach’s city manager and mayor were unable to persuade Grammy-winning star Williams to keep his Something in the Water Festival in the city where it debuted in 2019, with $24 million in economic impact. In June, Williams moved the three-day music festival to Washington, D.C., citing his dissatisfaction with how Virginia Beach officials dealt with the fatal police shooting of his cousin last year.
While in D.C., Williams also made news for paying the college debt of five NAACP youth leaders.
In Hampton Roads, Williams is a partner with Venture Realty Group in the $350 million Oceanfront Atlantic Park surf park project, which missed two deadlines for securing financing, although developers say groundbreaking will occur in October or November, with completion set for summer 2024.
Meanwhile, Norfolk officials this summer were in early negotiations with a group of developers, including Williams, for the $1.1 billion redevelopment of Military Circle mall into Wellness Circle, a mixed-use project with 1,100 residential units, a 200-room hotel and a 16,000-seat arena. This fall, Williams is expected to bring his Elephant in the Room economic development conference back to Norfolk State University.