Lodge’s future unknown after sale to Virginia Beach firm

By on December 2, 2014


The motel was closed for the 2014 season. (Rob Morris)

The weathered but quaint Beacon Motor Lodge has been sold to a Virginia Beach company, leaving local residents and loyal customers uncertain of what will become of the seaside inn at milepost 11.

The white and blue motel was built in 1969 and has 50 rooms, many of which open onto 450 feet of oceanfront.

Its simple windswept look hearkens to Nags Head’s past, when older family-operated motels were common along the beach road.

Located just north of the Baltic Street beach access, the motor lodge did not open for the 2014 season. The stretch of beach from Baltic to Abalone streets is a popular one among local residents.

Often referred to as a dying breed on the Outer Banks, hotels and motels with familiar names like the Carolinian, Cabana East and the Vivianna have vanished from the oceanfront landscape and have been replaced with multi-family beach homes.

The Beacon Motor Lodge was placed on the market for $5.8 million, and owner Shirley James had been trying to sell the property for more than a year. Her daughter, Robin James, had been an integral part of its operation before passing away in the fall of last year.

According to Dare County tax records, the current value of the motel property was $3.85 million. An adjacent lot to the north that was included in the deal was valued at $1.21 million. The sale price for both was $5 million. No activity has been apparent at the sites since the purchase.

The property was purchased by Beacon ML Properties LLC. The company’s agent, attorney Jay Wheless in Manteo, declined to comment on details about the owners or their plans.

If posts on the lodge’s Facebook page are any indication, what is to become of the Beacon has evoked concern among visitors who have vacationed at the motel for years and consider their stay there a family tradition.

Just to the north, three older Nags Head-style houses were demolished in November. Saga Construction was issued a building permit to demolish the homes, according to the Town of Nags Head’s October building permit listing.

Pilings for new construction have already been installed.

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