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Real Estate - Commercial

Carolina Beach Fishing Pier, Tiki Bar Under Contract 

By Johanna F. Still, posted Jan 24, 2022
The Carolina Beach Fishing Pier is under contract with a planned closing date in April. (Courtesy Nest Realty/TJ Drechsel)

The family-run Carolina Beach Fishing Pier went under contract for an undisclosed sum last week. Listed for $2.7 million in August, the deal could close by April. 

The 1.7-acre parcel includes a fishing pier, a two-story building that holds the second-floor High Tide Lounge, first-floor Pier Grill, the Low Tide Tiki Bar affixed to the pier and a parking lot sized to fit up to 100 vehicles. 

A unique business and property (North Carolina has just 18 oceanfront piers), the Carolina Beach Fishing Pier features some of the best views on the Southeastern shoreline, offering a nearly 270-degree vantage point of marsh and oceanfront. 

The business has been in the Phelps family for decades, owned by Betty Jo Phelps and operated by her adult children. Eric Knight, broker in charge at Nest Realty, is representing Phelps in the transaction.

“We're fortunate that a lot of the truly interested and capable potential buyers that we've had are looking at it as elevating and continuing the business,” he said. 

Once 1,000 feet long, the '40s-era pier has seen damage throughout the years. Rebuilt after Hurricane Hazel in 1954, about one-third of the pier was destroyed by Hurricane Florence. The current two-story building connected to the pier, which today includes fishing gear, a small kitchen, and bar, was constructed in 1998. 

The property was initially listed confidentially for several months in 2020, with limited details about the business available, according to Knight. Given its complexity, Knight said it was difficult to get traction with appropriate buyers as a confidential listing, which led him to list it publically last fall. "The quality of the buyer really improved," he said.

"If you're going to buy something like that, this is the time you would put it under contract so you can close early spring and get operational and profitable," Knight explained.

The prospective owners, whose names were not disclosed, intend to infuse new capital and management to give the business a boost beginning this spring. 

“I'm thrilled,” Knight said. “I think that these people, what they talked about wanting to do with it, if they close and they can bring that to the table, I think it's gonna be a benefit all around." 

Amber Harris, a broker with Intracoastal Realty, said the potential buyers are a local family that purchased a home in Carolina Beach last year. 

“Their plans are to make it a family-friendly spot that people can enjoy,” she said, “keeping the history alive but enhancing what is there.” ​

Harris said she's visited the pier her entire life. "It's really exciting to know that somebody is going to take it on and hopefully make it better," she said. "They're a young couple but have family that was going to help them run it and they want to see their family members grow up with that same exact kind of Carolina Beach experience."

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