VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- A Virginia Beach community landmark is closing officially. Representatives of Westminster-Canterbury confirmed Friday their board approved the purchase of the Lynnhaven Fishing Pier Corporation.
An advisory that announced the Westminster-Canterbury property is expanding explained the deal should close at the end of November.
“We now have more room to serve the growing demographic of older adults in our city through our faith-based, non-profit community,” Sandra Parker wrote. “The additional parking will be a great and immediate help to us.”
Rumors about the possible sale have circulated for years, but this is the first time anyone from Westminster-Canterbury confirmed the information.
In an exclusive interview with 13News Now, co-owner of the pier Bobbie C. Duff said the decision to sell was bittersweet. If anyone knows how special the Lynnhaven Fishing Pier is, it’s Duff. Her entire life has been spent there.
“It’s not just a fishing pier,” she explained. “It’s where I stood and spit watermelon seeds on the beach and watched watermelon grow. It’s where I fell when I was five years old and stubbed my toe.”
Duff isn't five anymore, and times have changed. She wants people to know that the decision to sell the pier was not an easy one. Her family has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars repairing damage from storms, including Hurricane Matthew. In the end, they couldn't keep it up.
“My daddy told me before he died that I would know when it was time, and when we signed the papers, the original contract, I left the lawyer's office, got in the car and just sobbed,” Duff said.
Not only will ownership of the pier change, but ownership of the restaurant and adjacent parking lot will change, too.
Friday, officials said Lynnhaven Fish House Restaurant will remain open at least through the holidays. They’d like it to remain open even longer than that. The timeline depends on how many people show up to patronize the business.
Some locals expressed concern about being able to get to the beach near the pier if the pier closes. The sale will not affect public beach access.
Eventually, the pier will be demolished.
Now, Duff and her family, along with members of the community, will have to say goodbye to a place so many have come to call home.
“It’s where my family grew closer, and where our customers became part of our family, and that’s what I’m going to miss,” shared Duff.
The Duff family will host an event Saturday called “Customer Appreciation Party and Cookout: Celebrating 61 Years.” It runs from 1 p.m. until “things wind down.” It is free of charge.