February 26, 2014

Koru Village purchases Avon Pier property


Koru Village in Avon has purchased the Avon Pier property from EWN Development Co. Inc., which is owned by Ed Nunnally.

The property is directly across Highway 12 from Spa Koru and almost adjacent to the Beach Klub, which the Koru Village opened in 2012.

In a news release on the purchase, Koru Village said it was “driven by the mission of offering residents and visitors of Cape Hatteras unique experiences” at its adventure resort.

The five oceanfront acres that include access to the Avon Pier, plenty of beachfront parking, and a restaurant will be transformed this spring to blend into Koru’s campus.

“I have been envisioning the Avon Pier and its property as part of Koru Village since the day we purchased the Beach Klub. As luck would have it, the owners contacted me after the first of the year regarding the sale of the property. This is a very exciting time for Koru Village and Avon,” said founder of Koru Village Joe Thompson.

In an interview today, Thompson said that his company has purchased everything but the pier and the pier house, which are owned by the National Park Service, and operated under a concession contract with EWN Development Co.

However, as Thompson noted, without the property, the park has no easements or rights of way to the pier itself – no power, no parking, no septic.

There is a provision in the concessions contract to transfer the concession to a new owner, Thompson said.

NPS public affairs specialist Cyndy Holda said she has been told that the sale and transfer paperwork is in the Southeast Regional Office for review.

“Until that review is complete and approval signed by the Regional Director the Avon Fishing Pier is still under contract with EWN Development Company, Inc.  Both the buyer and seller are aware of the sale and transfer requirements," Holda said in an e-mail.

Thompson said the sale has gotten a positive reaction from the Park Service and he sees no problems with the transfer of the concessions contract.

The current concessions contract was negotiated in the late ‘90s and has been on a year-by-year basis since.  The Park Service was planning to revisit the contract this year even before the sale.

“We hope we can improve the concession,” said Thompson.

The pier will undergo repairs and will reopen in April for fishing and sightseeing.

The focus this year, Thompson said, will be on the restaurant that will receive a huge facelift by Cahoon and Kasten Architects and will open in May as Cape Hatteras’ only tavern featuring North Carolina beers along with variety from all around the world.

The restaurant has been named Pangea Tavern, which Thompson said means “earth before continental divide.” He said that it will offer “global cuisine” with “different pieces of the world on the same plate.” However, it will also feature eastern North Carolina cooking and freshly caught local seafood.

“The opportunity and potential to create the most unique dining experience on the East Coast presents itself at Pangea Tavern,” says chef Tracy Morris. “I am anxious to build a team of professionals that recognize and understand the meaning of that. We will work hand in hand to make that opportunity a reality for every person who walks through the door.  Global cuisine fused with local ingredients and exceptional service is the key element.”

The restaurant will have a covered pavilion outdoor eating area that will be screened.  It will have no air-conditioning, but Thompson said the air will be “conditioned” by misting fans or in some other manner to keep it comfortable for diners.

Decisions on how to eventually develop the rest of the property won’t be made immediately, Thompson said, including whether to keep the mini-golf course.

His goal with Koru Village, he says, has been to create a resort.  He has felt that Avon has been short on accommodations and food and beverage establishments.

The restaurant will address one part of that shortfall, he said, but he’s less decided on accommodations.

At one point, a 95-room hotel was proposed for the property, but Thompson said he does think Hatteras can support a hotel that large.

On the other hand, he said, “I don’t think we need anymore big oceanfront houses.”

The restaurant’s grand opening in May will feature live music by Asheville’s Circus Mutt, which is a trio consisting of guitar, mandolin, congas, and lots of vocal harmonies.

“We’re really excited to break in Memorial Day weekend in Avon at the grand opening of Pangea Tavern. Come out and get the weekend started with our unique style of foot-stompin’ muttgrass,” said Circus Mutt’s guitarist and vocalist Dan Falkenstein.

In conjunction with the excitement of the Avon Pier property re-opening under new management, Koru Village’s Beach Klub will also open in May for its third season.

The Beach Klub’s first event of the year will be the Dare County Art Council’s second annual Rock the Cape festival on Friday, May 30.

For more information or updates, visit KoruVillage.com.

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