Real Estate 2023: DONNA MacMILLAN-WHITAKER
FOUNDER AND MANAGING PARTNER, VENTURE REALTY GROUP, VIRGINIA BEACH
As the development partner to fashion and music superstar Pharrell Williams, MacMillan-Whitaker has achieved a significant level of prominence in Hampton Roads, but she’s no flash in the pan.
MacMillan-Whitaker has worked in the commercial retail industry since 1985, representing national retailers throughout the mid-Atlantic region. She also founded Commercial Real Estate Services, which merged with Ellis-Gibson Development Group in 2016 to form Venture Realty. The company has developed more than 6 million square feet of commercial projects in Hampton Roads, worth more than $600 million.
Currently, Venture Realty is partnering with Williams, who’s a Virginia Beach native, on Atlantic Park, a $335 million surf park development that broke ground in March at the city’s Oceanfront. Atlantic Park’s first phase is expected to open in summer 2025.
MacMillan-Whitaker helped organize Williams’ initial Something in the Water festival in 2019 in Virginia Beach. Venture is also partnering with Williams and California-based Oak View Group on a proposal to redevelop the former Military Circle Mall site in Norfolk into Wellness Circle, an arena-anchored mixed-use development. The project’s future remained uncertain as of early August, waiting on action from Norfolk city government.