VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The iconic Virginia Beach Fishing Pier is under contract to be sold to owners of a well known resort retailer.
The pier is under contract to be purchased by owners of Sunsations USA. The company, which owns 11-stores in the Oceanfront resort specializing in T-shirts, swimwear and souvenirs is based in Ocean City, Md., and is owned by the Sibony family.
If the sale goes through they will be only the second owners in the pier’s 72 year history. Since the pier was built in 1950, it has been owned by three different families: the Murdens, the Lachmans and the Bonneys.
While the purchase price isn’t yet known, the longtime attorney for the pier owners, R.J. Nutter, said a vote before Virginia Beach City Council Tuesday is the final hurdle in the sale. The city must agree to transfer the franchise agreement that allows the pier owner to operate and maintain the pier on the portion of city land that runs between the boardwalk and the “mean low water line” between 14th and 15th streets. The owner must pay the city $20,000 a year for the agreement.
Nutter said the pier is tough to maintain and the families are “getting older.”
While there is no redevelopment proposal on the table right now. Nutter believes there will be one.
“The city knows that once the new owner figures out what they want to do, they will come forward with a proposal,” Nutter said.
Today the pier is home to fishing, Ocean Eddies Seafood Restaurant and retail shops.
There was a push to build a new pier four years ago in partnership with the city. However the proposal for the pier caused controversy and the families who own the pier said they would no longer negotiate with the city to redevelop their land at 15th Street.
An attorney representing Sunsations didn’t immediately return requests for comment. They already do own the property known as the “Pier Shops” across Atlantic Avenue from the pier.