Proposal would bring new hotel, SkyWheel to Virginia Beach Oceanfront

Posted at 10:17 PM, Jan 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-11 23:17:13-05

Virginia Beach, Va. --- An 880-foot concrete pier along with a SkyWheel are parts of a proposal from six Virginia Beach families to redevelop the area around the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier, according to the city manager's latest report.

Five of the families own property surrounding the pier. The sixth is prominent developer Bruce Thompson, who has been involved with several projects along the Oceanfront.

The estimated value for the project is $245 million and would include restaurants, a parking garage, shops, and a hotel, according to a project fact sheet. Right now, a lot still needs to be figured out, including how much or if the city would be involved in the plan. The developers wrote in a questionnaire they would not continue the project without some sort of city participation.

In a letter to city council members, Doug Smith, the acting city manger, discussed how plans have been discussed over the years at the site. "The pier could use a facelift,"said Ray Murphy, who's lived in the city for eight years.

Back in 2014, a similar SkyWheel was proposed at 17th Street, but the developers suspended their application after it was rejected by the city's planning commission.

"This proposal is evidence of [the families] willingness to work together and their desire to see the largest redevelopment in the southern portion of the Oceanfront in the city's history," wrote R.J. Nutter in a letter to Smith. Nutter is a lawyer working with the families.

A more in-depth presentation will be made at an upcoming city council meeting.