VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The five families who own the iconic Virginia Beach Fishing Pier say they will no longer negotiate with the city to redevelop their land at 15th Street.
R.J. Nutter, the attorney representing the families, sent a letter to the city Thursday explaining the decision.
Nutter says the group, including developer Bruce Thompson with Gold Key PHR, followed the city’s rules during the first round. The letter also expresses concern that the proposal has been widely publicized.
Last week, the city announced they were restarting the bidding process after Oceanfront business owners voiced concern over the transparency of the deal and potential lost profits.
In the letter withdrawing the bid, Nutter wrote, “We have not lost faith in the merits of the project or the viability of the development. We have, however, been comprised in the process.”
Preliminary plans included a city-owned pier, estimated at $21 million, and $250 million in private development. A museum, residential and retail were all proposed ideas.
Dave Hansen, city manager, says there’s a lot of excitement about the pier.
“We think there’s other organizations that are putting together a proposal, but we sure hope PHR, who builds quality products, comes back with another proposal under the opportunity this rebidding provides them.”
Councilman John Uhrin says he hasn’t heard of any other interested bidders.
Uhrin says the city is studying the impact of potential new development on current businesses as part of the Dome site revitalization process. He says he will only support new development that brings additional people, including tourists, to the Oceanfront.
“Where the city is involved … the concept is always to make the pie bigger so everyone else gets a bigger piece.
The letter shows the pier owners are willing to engage with the city should they not receive “any acceptable to responsive” bids.
The deadline for new bids is May 14.