NORTH WILDWOOD — City officials have signed off on a plan to redevelop Seaport Pier, an area of the Boardwalk that has been vacant for nearly a decade.
The redevelopment project, which will be managed by Philadelphia-based real estate firm BG Capital, will include a large restaurant and semi-public pool.
“The concept is our vision, but we worked hand-in-hand with the city in developing it,” said Joe Byrne, founder of BG Capital. “There is already a heavy retail presence on the Boardwalk and other piers have rides, so the city didn’t want to compete with that.”
BG Capital already has acquired a liquor license, and the company is planning to lease out the space when construction is finished.
Byrne said they hope to start construction Dec. 1 and have the restaurant ready by June. The pool will not be ready until the following year, he said. The total cost will be between $4 million and $6 million.
After completion, the pool will have yearly memberships and one-day passes that can be purchased.
North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello said the city advertised the pier as available for the past few years and designated it as an area for redevelopment. Plans for this specific project began to take shape earlier this year.
The pier, located on 22nd Street, was last home to a collection of small stores but closed after the 2004 summer season. It remained empty until 2008, when some of the stores were opened, but the city deemed them a safety hazard and had them demolished.
Rosenello said the stores themselves were hazardous, but the pier itself is very strong.
In 2007, the city entered into an agreement with WB Resorts Development, which proposed turning the pier into a $100 million, 90,000 square-foot year-round waterpark and hotel attraction that was supposed to create 500 jobs.
But the project was canceled after WB Resorts could not get financing because of the financial crisis the nation was going through beginning in 2008.
The redevelopment agreement between WB Resorts and the city expired at the end of 2013.