Ward Capital Management

Hoping for a ‘win-win’ in Bayville

10/10/2019

Two big developments on Bayville Avenue are pressing forward. Investor D’Wayne Prieto, chief executive of Ward Capital Management, said he would be submitting permits to begin construction at the Tides Motor Inn, at 1 Bayville Ave., and file a new proposed plan for the Steve’s Pier project, at 33 Bayville Ave., in the coming weeks.

Prieto said that the Tides Motor Inn project would transform the old motel into a 65-room luxury hotel, and the plans for Steve’s Pier include a large restaurant on the first floor, and a spa and 13 other rooms dedicated to entertainment on the second floor.

“We hope they’ll be successful based on our study of the area,” Prieto said. “We believe in the waterfront.”

He added that because the Tides, on the Bayville-Locust Valley border, had not been updated in years, a newly renovated hotel with a restaurant would be successful in the area. Should the construction permits be submitted and approved in the next couple of weeks, work at the Tides would begin in November.

While a new hotel has been welcomed in the area, Bayville leaders and residents are much more interested in Prieto’s plan to revitalize the old Steve’s Pier property. It was once a beachside landmark that attracted tourists to the village, but all that remains of Steve’s Pier is a barren piece of weed plagued property, 10 years after it was torn down. The project’s former developer, Craig Kirsch, and architect Greg Andrea presented plans in 2015 for the construction of a seaside inn on the property, which was unpopular with residents. The plan was ultimately struck down after the election of Bayville Mayor Robert DeNatale in 2018, who promised to quash it during his campaign. DeNatale said that Steve’s Pier had been marred by one fiasco after another, but added that the village felt more confident about the newest proposal for the site.

“I’ve met with the developers twice, and I liked what I saw so far,” DeNatale said. “It’s no longer going to be three stories. I’m happy to see a plan that’s a win-win for the developers and the village.”

The return of a successful restaurant to Steve’s Pier would be a dream come true for DeNatale, who recalled how iconic the site was years ago. He remembered the ads for it on television, enhancing its fame to the point where “if you met someone and said you were from Bayville, they’d bring up Steve’s Pier.” Because it sat on elevated land on the waterfront, DeNatale said, any new restaurant at Steve’s Pier would have a panoramic view of the Long Island Sound.

Tim Charon, a Bayville resident and a former village trustee, said that a restaurant would be welcomed, but he also urged developers to carefully consider the types of businesses that might accompany the restaurant. Charon explained that because Bayville is a big summer community that thrives on tourism, developers would need a good business plan to make sure that the restaurant and the adjacent businesses can survive the downtime in the winter.

“Everyday commercial stores don’t really succeed here,” Charon said. “It doesn’t help that we’re all the way up in the north.”

He added that the worst-case scenario for residents would be if the new development flops after a short run. Charon advised the developers to recruit businesses that would complement and help those already in the village, similar to the work being done at the Tides. Because Bayville hosts many beachside weddings, Charon said, with a newly revitalized hotel near the village, visitors could stay in Bayville and shop at local stores rather than staying at the neighboring East Norwich Inn or Glen Cove Mansion.

Prieto said that if construction begins at the Tides in November, the new hotel should open by next summer. Should the village approve the new plan for Steve’s Pier, he added, the new event center would open the following summer.

“The village wants to support development there,” DeNatale said, “and we’re anxious to see what they come up with.”