VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Some say it’s progress, but other say a piece of local history is being turned into a pile of rubble. 10 On Your Side was there Monday as demolition crews started bringing down the Cavalier Oceanfront Hotel.
The hotel, built in 1973, will come down over the course of a few weeks, but soon a brand new Marriott hotel will stand in its place. It’s part of the overall restoration project for the Cavalier property, which includes the much older hotel Cavalier on the Hill, built in 1927.
For Mary Tyrrell, who’s lived in Virginia Beach since 1981, witnessing the demolition was a way to remember good times had at the hotel she calls a landmark.
“I’m coming out to just have something to remember the Cavalier,” Tyrrell said. “We’ve gone to some good parties, dances there. We had a big birthday bash for me a few years ago, when I had a monumental birthday, and we had a few people stay there.”
While she also appreciates the nostalgia, Virginia Beach resident Joyce Elkin said she likes the growth in tearing down the old to make room for the new. She thinks the Cavalier restoration project will be good for the area.
“I used to stay here all the time when my husband and I first got married. We would stay there. I made my baby there,” said Joyce Elkin, a Virginia Beach resident. “The Cavalier has a lot of fond growing up memories, when you’re my age.”
Others just enjoyed watching the demolition process at the corner of 42nd Street and Atlantic Avenue.
“We saw it swinging from the beach, so we thought we’d come closer,” said Robin Kowalski, a visitor to the Resort City. “I’m thinking I’m glad I’m not getting that big hunk of concrete slammed at me.”
“This is kind of older technology, and it’s kind of cool watching them systematically dismantle the building,” said visitor John Kowalski.
Gold Key | PHR is working with construction firm WM Jordan and residential developers to tear down the Oceanfront hotel and build it’s replacement. The new Oceanfront Marriot Hotel is scheduled to open within the next two years.
After a multi-million-dollar restoration, the historic Cavalier will reopen in 2016 as a 5-star hotel in Marriott’s Autograph Collection.