Oceanfront’s Ghost Ride now gone, new retail coming in its place

For years, visitors to the Oceanfront rode Captain Cline’s Pirate Ghost Ride, an attraction that anchored the corner of Atlantic Avenue and 16th Street.

That ride is now gone, following its demolition in mid-November. The site, which also contained The Sunshine Paradise shop, will be rebuilt with a 9,500-square-foot, one-story commercial building in its place, according to plans presented in August to the Planning Commission by the project’s applicants, Mark and Kenny Samtani.

This is picture of the original site, shown in the planning commission documents, before it was demolished. (Courtesy of vbgov.com)
The original site, shown in city planning documents, before it was demolished. (Courtesy of vbgov.com)

The management of the Pirate Ghost Ride, which also runs The Nightmare Mansion and The 3D Fun House and Mirror Maze, did not respond to calls for comment on this story.

The Pirate Ghost Ride’s website includes a message that says the operators did not want to close but that they had no choice. It tells people they can still share still share stories and pictures on the ride’s Facebook page, then thanks them for many great years.

A post on that Facebook page from Sept. 11 said that weekend was the ride’s last.

“It is with deep sadness we unfortunately have to close our doors forever Monday as our lease has ended. The building (The Bayne Theater) we are housed in will be torn down in the fall to make way for a new building that will house several retail shops. This is the end of an era and historical landmark on the beach.”

The Bayne Theater opened in the 1930s before it was converted around 1980 into Captain Cline’s Pirate Ride, according to Cinema Treasures.

The building is now demolished and gates are up around the site, reading "Danger. Construction Area. Keep Out." (Kelly Kultys/Southside Daily)
The building is now demolished and gates are up around the site, reading “Danger. Construction Area. Keep Out.” (Kelly Kultys/Southside Daily)

The plans for the site say Sunshine Paradise will return to the new building, in addition to Beach Boards, Sun Shades and Ice Cream Shoppe.

The plans say the design of the new building “will contribute to creating a great district with a distinct identity.” The designs were done by engineering firm MSA P.C., a company that lists Town Center, the Spring Hill Suites at 9th Street and the Sandler Center in its portfolio. MSA did not return calls for comment.

Virginia Beach city planner Kristine Gay, the staff planner on the project, said by email the city did not have a construction timeline on the new building. The City Council approved the project Aug. 18.

Here is what the new building will look like:

This is the rendering from the planning commission documents of the front of the new building that will be constructed at Atlantic Ave and 16th Street. (Courtesy of vbgov.com)
This is the rendering from the planning commission documents of the front of the new building that will be constructed at Atlantic Ave and 16th Street. (Courtesy of vbgov.com)
This is the rendering from the planning commission documents of the back of the new building that will be constructed at Atlantic Ave and 16th Street. (Courtesy of vbgov.com)
This is the rendering from the planning commission documents of the back of the new building that will be constructed at Atlantic Ave and 16th Street. (Courtesy of vbgov.com)

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