VIRGINIA BEACH,Va. (WAVY) - A new owner is interested in buying a well known Oceanfront landmark and might tear it down.
Virginia Beach developer Bruce Thompson has put in a bid to buy the Old Cavalier Hotel and its sister hotel across the street on Atlantic Avenue. Thompson told WAVY.com he wants to preserve the Cavalier's history, but it might be too costly for him.
For some it's a place of great memories.
"You can't replace places that housed dignitaries and movie stars and all that," Virginia Beach resident Dorothy Figg said.
For others it's a picturesque piece of the Oceanfront.
"It's a beautiful structure, and it has amazing masonry," visitor Jonathan Haywood said. "Its been around for a long time."
Now, the future of the Old Cavalier Hotel and it's newer addition across the street are uncertain. Thompson recently proposed to buy the properties for $35 million and is looking at three options for its future.
Option one would be to restore the hotel as is. Option two: restore it and add residential units. And option three would involve tearing down the hotel and building a time share and hotel to attract tourists.
A lot of people who live nearby and frequent the area want the Cavalier to be saved in some way. There is even a citizens' group on Facebook fighting for its preservation.
"Selfishly I'd like to see it stay and renovated," Figg said. "I've always wanted it to be a destination spot, because I think it would attract people even in the winter time."
Thompson told WAVY.com he would rather see the property preserved and put on the Virginia Register of Historic Landmarks, but he admitted it could cost "tens of millions" and might not be feasible.
If the Cavalier must be torn down, people who talked to 10 On Your Side would rather see it turned into a residential area rather than a tourist attraction.
"I think it would be unfortunate for the people that live down here," Virginia Beach resident Cara Dozier said. "Residents are more secluded here, and they have this part of the beach to themselves. The boardwalk is where the tourists are."
The City of Virginia Beach has created a task force to help preserve the hotel. They are offering incentives like tax credits, and economic development grants to encourage the buyer to save the hotel.
The sale of the Cavalier is not final just yet. A judge will rule on whether to approve the sale in court June 10.
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