Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Oak Island is looking for parking revenue, someone to run its pier complex

In late 2018, Oak Island was fishing for a management firm to introduce new parking fees for daytrippers. This month, the town is hoping to find tenants to run its new pier complex.

The Oak Island Pier, damaged from Hurricane Matthew, is still undergoing a $1.8 million construction, pictured last week. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
The Oak Island Pier, damaged from Hurricane Matthew, is still undergoing a $1.8 million construction, pictured last week. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

OAK ISLAND — Oak Island is looking to secure new streams of revenue. The town is shopping for a leasee to run its pier house restaurant and its newly-obtained event space, and a management firm to oversee paid parking services.

A request for proposal to manage the Oak Island pier complex was released early this month.

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New pier complex

The town-owned complex is comprised of a brand new pier, refurbished 1,400 sq. ft. restaurant (formerly The Flying Fish Cafe), arcade room and events center across the street. Last year, Oak Island traded three oceanfront lots on East Beach Drive it owned to obtain 801 Ocean Drive, a 5,800 sq. ft. former wedding venue.

The town plans to run the tackle shop on its own. Requiring two full-time employees and eight part-time employees, the tackle shop is already included in Oak Island’s 2018-2019 budget. Oak Island will also run the event space, dedicating one employee to develop a marketing plan for the entire complex.

Damaged during Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Yaupon Pier was demolished and is still being reconstructed. Funded by at least two $300,000 grants, the first contracted amount to remove and construct a new nearly 900-foot pier was nearly $1.7 million. That contract was first awarded in November 2017. This past November, the town added another $50,000 to the project, which is still underway.

Looking for tenants

A lease for the renovated restaurant, connected to the pier, could begin as early as March 2019. Oak Island is looking for either one qualified entrepreneur to manage all aspects of the pier complex, or multiple parties to operate each facility. According to a June update on the complex, the town could charge $3,000 to lease the restaurant space. But this fee is subject to change depending on what applicants the town receives. Applicants are required to attend a mandatory site visit on Jan. 18 at 8 a.m. in order to be eligible to apply.

“The goal of the Pier complex project is to create an attractive venue which will create a sustainable, long-term revenue for the Town’s citizens,”  the town’s September 2018 resolution to initiate the request for proposal states. “This resolution is designed to facilitate a coherent, unified approach to monetizing the Pier complex, which will achieve the maximum financial return.”


In addition to added revenue from the pier complex this summer, Oak Island could add a new stream it’s never had before: parking. While most beach towns that surround it collect significant revenue from parking services, Oak Island does not charge day-trippers.

Soon, that could change. In November, Oak Island put out a request for proposal looking for a management firm to handle future paid parking services for approximately 1,000 spaces in town. Those proposals were due late December. Starting fees, according to the proposal, would begin at $2 an hour and $18 a day, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., March 1 to Oct. 31.

In November, Oak Island councilman Charlie Blalock said the fees will be targeted at beachgoers who visit the beach for the day, “leave their trash, don’t buy anything, and leave.”

Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee at johanna@localvoicemedia.com

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