Plans to buy South Beach Grille property in Nags Head
In a move that could dramatically increase the parking capacity near the Soundside Event Site in Nags Head, the Outer Banks Tourism Board is negotiating the purchase of the South Beach Grille restaurant at milepost 16, along with an adjacent property.
Outer Banks Visitors Bureau Executive Director Lee Nettles told the Sentinel the purchase could provide up to 176 additional parking spaces adjacent to the site. Currently there are approximately 165 spaces on-site. He added that the tourism board is “pretty far along” in the negotiating process, but a closing date has not been scheduled.
The two lots, each just under an acre in size, are directly across U.S. 158 from the event site. The second property sits to the south of South Beach Grille, on the corner of U.S. 158 and Grouse Street, and includes a large utility shed.
The acquisition would reduce the need for off-site parking for larger festivals held at the venue, said Nettles. The venue hosts a dozen or so events each year, including the popular Outer Banks Seafood Festival and OBX Brewtag.
With the current on-site parking, Nettles said, “any events that draw more than a thousand people forces the event developer to either greatly restrict the size of the site, so a portion can be devoted to parking, or requires making plans for off-site parking, which is an expense and doesn’t make things easy.”
If the board acquires the land, there would likely be a single crosswalk at Grouse Street during events. The tourism board had unsuccessfully petitioned the N.C. Department of Transportation for some type of signal, similar to the one on U.S. 158 between Jockey’s Ridge State Park and Jockey’s Ridge Crossing shopping center.
Determining how to best handle on- and off-site parking has been a learning process over the years for the site owners as well as event developers.
“During the first year of the Seafood Festival, we had on-site parking, but we felt like it compromised safety with cars coming and going,” Nettles said. Shuttling attendees has also evolved since the site was first purchased. Initially, developers would utilize multiple lots, but now fewer and larger lots are utilized.
The Soundside Event Site was purchased about 10 years ago and has been developed in phases ever since, with a landscaped entrance, driveway, parking and pavilion now in place. This year marks the sixth year the Outer Banks Seafood Festival has been held at the venue.
Located on the Roanoke Sound, the site encompasses 10 acres of open space and is owned by the Town of Nags Head and the Dare County Tourism Board. The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau manages the property, which is touted as one of the largest event sites on the Outer Banks.
There was some initial debate on how to develop the property after it was purchased. A hotel and convention center were considered before owners settled on the current use.
Owners of South Beach Grille, Kerstin and Wayne Everhart, could not be reached for comment. According to the restaurant’s webpage, they have owned the Nags Head eatery for 28 years. According to Dare County tax records, their property is valued at $672,300, and the 7,230-square-foot building was originally built in 1954.
Nettles said that if purchased, the building could potentially be used for storage and a headquarters for event coordinating. “The tourism board would consider the best use,” he concluded.