NORTH WILDWOOD — Plans to turn Seaport Village Pier into a major attraction fell victim to bad timing and a struggling economy.
Now, the city is considering what it can do with the long-vacant beachfront pier at 22nd Avenue.
The pier was last home to a collection of small stores but closed after the 2004 summer season. Since then, it has remained quiet, coming to life only briefly in 2008 when the city had the stores, deemed a safety hazard, demolished.
By 2006, city officials designated the pier an area in need of redevelopment. In 2007, the city entered into an agreement with WB Resorts Development, which proposed turning the pier into a year-round waterpark attraction designed to deliver an estimated 500 jobs and millions of dollars in ratables.
Developer Andrew Weiner had worked with the state Department of Environmental Protection to get approvals.
In 2011, WB Resorts and the DEP reached an agreement over dunes built on either side of the pier. The agreement allowed for the developer to have similar dunes located elsewhere along the shore if the 22nd Avenue pier needed to be expanded in some way to accommodate the water park.
But in the end, efforts to revive the pier and the nation’s economic struggles collided.
“The economy is not what (it was) when we started,” Weiner said this past week.
Back then, he had plans to build a 90,000-square-foot, pirate-themed indoor water park on the pier along with a 400-plus-room hotel on the west side of the Boardwalk.
But, Weiner said, it was difficult to find the financing to support the $100 million project.
“We’re hopeful something will materialize in the future,” Weiner said.
The redevelopment agreement between WB Resorts and the city expired at the end of 2013, Mayor Patrick Rosenello said.
“We do not have an immediate plan for that pier,” he said.
One possibility is to turn the pier into some sort of public space, possibly for concerts.
Rosenello said that while the front of the pier has some value, there is no demand for the vacant pier and any development would require a significant investment.
So, for now the pier will sit quietly as it has since late 2004.
“We don’t want to rush into anything,” Rosenello said.
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