Major Cruise Terminal to Be Built in Virginia

NORFOLK -- S.B. Ballard Construction Co. of Virginia Beach has been awarded a $21.1 million contract to build the new 80,000-square-foot cruise terminal in the harbor between Town Point Park and Nauticus.

S.B. Ballard was among three companies that put in bids on the $36 million project. The construction company is expected to start work in the fall, when the first phase of the construction, which began in January, is completed.

The Virginia Port Authority has chipped in $5 million for the facility, and the city of Norfolk is financing the rest. Stephen Kirkland, Norfolk's manager of cruise operations and marketing, said the project is on schedule to meet its goal of an early 2007 opening.

Security regulations will force the center to shut down construction on days when certain ships are in, but that's been factored into the schedule, he said.

Kirkland said Nauticus has received a lot of calls from cruise lines, thanks to the publicity that came along with last week's exposure on "Live with Regis and Kelly," when the nationally syndicated talk show was broadcast from the cruise ship Pride of America in the Norfolk harbor.

"The activity that we have going on in our terminal has caught a lot of attention and generated a lot of excitement," Kirkland said. "When the terminal is finished, it's going to be a real feather in our cap."