VIRGINIA BEACH — For the second time since February, Virginia Beach City Council members unsealed public bids for leasing city land to construct a pier at the Oceanfront.
Mayor Louis Jones opened the bids during council’s formal session Tuesday afternoon.
These were the bids for the pier this time around; the Virginia Beach Development Authority, which bid on the property the first time; Richard Maddox, on behalf of three Virginia Beach companies (Maddox is a former member of Virginia Beach City Council and owner of the property at 17th Street and Atlantic Avenue at the Oceanfront); and Virginia Beach Pier Place Development, LLC., of which developer Bruce Thompson is a partner.
All three bids were for one dollar a year at 15th Street, except for the Maddox bid, which was for 17th Street.
Jones did not announce the terms of any of the three bids on Tuesday.
The bids will be eventually placed online — per Councilman John Moss’s request — for the public to review.
The city wants the winning bidder to construct an 880 feet long, multi-level pier that extends from the boardwalk into the Atlantic Ocean, at a taxpayer cost of up to $21.5 million.
Related story: Two bids submitted for pier development at Oceanfront
On Feb. 6, during the first invitation for bids, City Council received two bids for the 40-year land lease required of the pier project — one from the Virginia Beach Development Authority and the other from Wool Service Supply and Logistics. The development authority offered the city rent of $1 a year, while Wool Service offered the city $12,000 a year.
Between February and March, residents voiced concerns about transparency in the bidding process and questioned the need for public funding, while some City Council members raised similar objections.
On March 5, City Auditor Lyndon Remias released an assessment of the two bids.
Although the assessment recommended the city move forward on a lease agreement with the development authority, Remias noted in the assessment that “due to some questions regarding the transparency of the bid process, City Council should also consider opening back up the solicitation process.”
Days later, the city decided to reject both bids and reissue an invitation for bids.
The original pier proposal came unsolicited from a family of property owners around the site of the pier, who withdrew their proposal after the city restarted the bid process.
The new bid solicitation clarified language about the city’s expectations, the role of the development authority, and the possible location of the pier, which can now be built anywhere on the Oceanfront between 5th to 40th streets.
There will be a public hearing on the bid proposals in June.