Va. Beach moving forward with pier project, some express concerns

The proposed new fishing pier at 15th Street in Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The City of Virginia Beach is moving toward a new pier at the Oceanfront.

Two bids are in for the project which aims to be the next tourist attraction, complete with a Skywheel, shops and restaurant.

The mayor says it will bring people to the Resort City. However, some local business owners have concerns — chiefly, that the new pier project will take a bite out of their bottom line.

Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront Fishing Pier sticks out as one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, but also one that is due to be replaced.

Mayor Will Sessoms told 10 On Your Side the city will build a large concrete pier just north of the old one. Early renderings show it will have two tiers.

“Then we will lease out the top part of the pier to the private side,” Mayor Sessoms said.  “Which should be a huge revenue producer.”

The plan will add shops and restaurants to the area on the pier. So far two bids have been submitted for the project.

The mayor is excited to have an added attraction at the Oceanfront.

“My goal, and I believe it is the council’s goal is to bring more people to Virginia Beach,” he said.

Not everyone is one board with the pier project.

Mike Standing owns several businesses along Atlantic Avenue.

“We are just concerned with amount of retail and restaurants that are going in, “ Standing said.

“With city tax dollars paying for the pier– and the incoming project potentially at the Dome site — they could actually take up probably 70 percent of the entire Oceanfront’s retail sales.”

Standing wants to see a study done.

“How are we gonna co-exist and cohabitate with the Dome site, the pier and all the existing Oceanfront businesses?” he asked.

Mayor Sessoms said the city has looked at, and will continue to look at, the impact to those businesses.

“There is no way would I do anything to the detriment of any business at the Oceanfront,” the mayor said.

A new view for the Oceanfront that has raised concerns with some of the current stakeholders.