Dare Tourism Board okays ‘conceptual’ event site proposal

By on July 15, 2021

Site of the proposed 48,000-sq-foot event center (in blue).

After a discussion that largely dealt with the pros and cons of adding a hotel to the mix, the Dare County Tourism Board agreed to accept the July 8 Event Site Advisory Committee recommendation for a $17.6 million, 48,000-square-foot event center at the Soundside Event Site in Nags Head.

As noted by Outer Banks Visitors Bureau Executive Director Lee Nettles at the July 15 Tourism Board meeting, the proposal being discussed is a “concept vision” for the center, not a formal, final or detailed plan. The proposal does not include a hotel, which was essentially deemed to be “another big building” not appropriate for the scenic site.

The center, as currently conceived, would include a 26,000 square-foot event hall, a 1,500-square-foot meeting room and a 2,800-sqaure foot catering kitchen. In the discussion, Nettles noted that the 48,000-square-foot facility would be about half the size of the K-Mart site and about the same size as the Publix market. Its goal would be to attract visitors to the OBX in the non-peak visitor months.

In the discussions, Nettles reviewed what he thought would be community benefits of the event center, including using the catering kitchen as a training “incubator” for local high school students to work on the culinary arts. He also pointed to sports uses for the facility, saying it was perhaps more likely to host events such as gymnastics, wrestling and pickleball rather than large-crowd sports such as basketball.

On the subject of the hotel, Nettles said that several studies conclude that such a facility would make the event center “more economically viable.” But he also ticked off a number of complications involved in building a hotel, including the need for much more septic, some kind of subsidy and the opposition of the county’s existing hotel and motel operators.

Tourism Board Member and Duck Mayor Pro Tem Monica Thibodeau said that “Personally, I’m delighted that the Advisory Committee stayed away from the hotel,” adding that it would dramatically cut down on green space at the site. None of the Tourism Board members who spoke during the discussion endorsed the idea of including a hotel in the current conceptual proposal.

Nettles is expected to present the board’s position and the proposal to the Dare County Commissioners at their Aug. 2 meeting.

See also: Advisory group oks $18M soundside event center





  • Mary

    Tourism Board just loves the tourist…$$$!!! Just what we need…more tourists! People would come here any way without the Tourism Board🤔. Perhaps do away with the Board and use their salaries and funds to build affordable housing? Hope they consider leaving some “green space” for soundside beach access for the community and visitors to enjoy. NO hotel! Support the local accommodations that are already here.

    Thursday, Jul 15 @ 12:33 pm
  • Mike P

    ..”Its goal would be to attract visitors to the OBX in the non-peak visitor months.”
    ….So is there really a need for more visitors to the OBX??
    Money to burn? What are the projected costs of upkeep, insurance, maintenance…??
    Just really not a good idea at all!!

    Thursday, Jul 15 @ 12:46 pm
  • WindyBill

    This is a great reason to seriously figure out how to have a bus system. With expanded distance service for employee pickups and returns. The county’s authority, with the states help if necessary, to prevent a town from over controling or over-feeing it will be necessary.

    Thursday, Jul 15 @ 1:03 pm
  • resident


    Thursday, Jul 15 @ 1:06 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Resident, please refrain from ALL CAPS posts. Thank you.

    Thursday, Jul 15 @ 5:53 pm
  • Travis

    Parking is a necessary evil, but if green space is a concern, would it be possible to consider a modest parking garage? Seems like most of the plan is covered with parking spots. Given there are no parking garages anywhere in Dare County or Currituck, I’m assuming the cost is prohibitive. Anyone know for sure?

    Thursday, Jul 15 @ 1:10 pm
  • Donna L. Roark

    As a local, children’s theatre director, I am curious if this will be an affordable option for programs like mine, dance recitals, etc. FFHS has become completely unaffordable to most of us. What a great opportunity to serve local performance art, for once, on the Outer Banks. As a 30 year resident, I have found that sports tend to get the best of what the county has to offer, but we have many children and families, who love the arts and would like to see affordable opportunities.


    Donna Roark, MS Ed

    Thursday, Jul 15 @ 1:32 pm
  • RAJ

    “But he also ticked off a number of complications involved in building a hotel, including the need for much more septic, some kind of subsidy and the opposition of the county’s existing hotel and motel operators.”

    Huh? “some kind of subsidy”? Does that mean the hotel would not be financially self supporting?

    Thursday, Jul 15 @ 3:26 pm
  • Glenn

    If Dare County hopes this event site will be a success (and I wish it the best), I’d recommend enacting a serious trash clean up campaign all throughout the OBX. The accumulation of trash in our beaches, sound areas, bike paths, streets, many of our business parking lots, bridges is disgusting. Why would an out of town group want to have their convention here when they have to look at trash all over the place!? No excuse for all this trash! And, no group is exempt…tourists, locals, 2nd home owners, contractors…the trash comes from all these groups! So many people care very much and pick up trash every day…so many others could care less!!!

    Thursday, Jul 15 @ 6:27 pm
  • Chuck19344

    As a non-resident (for now) homeowner, I was truly hoping for something more than an enormous waste-of-space such as this. What happened to developing the space into a sound side boardwalk, akin to what Duck offers, or even a cluster of boardwalk-style shops, like Timbuk II in Corolla? Wouldn’t that satisfy the greed (sorry; “vision”) of the tourism board, yet also keep the impending monstrosity at least visually appealing and in keeping with the values heretofore established in Nags Head?!? Honestly; my first order of business, after moving to Nags Head full-time, is to run for local whatever-the-hell and oust these morons from office. Vote “ME” in 2028.

    Thursday, Jul 15 @ 11:25 pm
  • Dylan

    Do we really need more tourists? 12 months a year? This come hell or high water build and more build needs to stop. We have enough tourists. A few months of respite for us residents from all this congestion would be nice.

    Friday, Jul 16 @ 2:48 pm
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